This year, 2020, has been a hard year for almost everyone in the world. People have lost their jobs and homes and many people have suffered from lockdown, mental illness, loneliness, lack of medical care for other illnesses, like stroke, heart attack and cancer.
For those who celebrate Christmas, there are plans to make it the best one ever, to forget about a miserable 2020, with no social gatherings or meetings and to really blow out on Christmas.
Whether you are planning a blow out Christmas, a usual Christmas or even just a quiet time at home, it always takes money.
Have you started saving for Christmas? Maybe you have enough money for all you need each year? If not, then you could save $100 by Christmas by starting right NOW and putting $1 a day into a jar. Today is September 17th 2020 and there are now 100 days left to Christmas 2020, so just $1 a day would get you $100 by Christmas. Of course, if you gave up a coffee a day you could save $300 by Christmas. Would that help with the expenses? It could certainly buy you a turkey or other Christmas dinner, some festive cheer and even some presents.
Of course, you may be reading this later, if so, start saving now. Put your spare change in a jar, give up buying a coffee or a bun or buy a cheaper lunch. You can still save something and every little bit helps towards the expenses.
Time to start thinking about Christmas music again. Whether there will be any great choirs singing or carol services is anyone’s guess at present, however, we can enjoy those from past years. Here is one such video, of a large choir singing a selection of well known Christmas music, to start off the season.
If you want to do activities with your children this Christmas in place of having a bought advent calendar, here are some ideas (actually, there are 55):
Make your own Christmas calendar. Find 24 small containers, decorate them and put them together in a formation that pleases you, using glue or sticky tape. The simplest shape for an advent calendar would be a rectangle, of 6 boxes long by 4 boxes high or 8 boxes by 3. Add small knobs or buttons for handles.
If you don’t want a regular shape, create several small “presents”, number them and use them to create Santa’s sleigh.
Another kind of wooden advent calendar would be to use those little trucks you get in toy train sets and number those from 1 to 24 with labels.
If your containers are all the same size and rectangular shape, you could paint them green and build them into the shape of a Christmas tree, for instance. A Christmas tree shape can be made by placing 3 rectangular containers side by side as the base, then adding a layer of 6 boxes on top of that, then a layer of 5 boxes on top of that, then 4, then 3 then 2, making a triangular shape, then topping the tree with the final box, making 24 boxes in all.
You could be adventurous and try creating a 3D wooden advent calendar, with 24 separate boxes. Create the bottom layer as a rectangle of 3 boxes wide by one box deep. That uses 8 boxes. Add two more identical layers on top of that to make a house shape using all 24 boxes. Now create and decorate a roof from cardboard or wooden popsicle sticks to fit over it.
Alternatively, make and color Christmas shapes like stockings, stars, trees and hearts and hang them on a line with small pegs. Add a code on the back of each one and hide the coded “gifts” or activities somewhere. Or you could make bags or shapes from material and hang those on the line.
Another possibility for a Christmas advent calendar is to make one using a large sheet of card, then sticking cutouts from old Christmas cards on the front as flaps to open. Again,you can write a code inside if you don’t want little fingers opening the doors ahead of time to see what is coming up.
Whichever kind of advent calendar you make, number the boxes or shapes from 1 to 24 and put an activity in each container in random order (except for those that MUST occur on a particular day, such as a visit to the pantomime). Activities you could put in the box could be:
Add a new Christmas decoration for hanging on the tree.
A packet of pot pourri flowers or smell and some pine cones or wooden balls or shavings for making your own bowl of pot pourri.
Pantomime tickets – even if you were going to go anyway, it makes it seem even more special to have the tickets appear from the advent calendar.
Write or create Christmas cards for local friends or relations. (Don’t leave that one too late for cards that need to be posted.)
Visit a theme park.
Go to your local leisure centre and go swimming or try an activity you don’t do normally.
Pick the Christmas tree.
Make decorations for the Christmas tree.
Decorate the Christmas tree.
Visit someone who lives alone or in an old people’s home (check first that it is OK).
Consider inviting a lonely neighbor or friend to join you for Christmas Dinner and create an invitation card for them.
Make a small basket of goodies and leave them at a neighbor’s door with an anonymous message of goodwill.
Make Christmas biscuits or mince pies and decorate them.
Make a present for someone.
Draw up your list for Santa.
Declutter an old toy or book ready for new toys coming at Christmas.
Pick out a good toy or book you could donate to a local charity.
Visit the charity shop to donate.
Visit Santa or Santa’s grotto.
Go and see the Christmas lights being turned on, or take an evening walk to view the Christmas lights in the dark.
Go out and collect pine cones for a display.
Paint or decorate the pine cones with gold or silver paint. Stick them on sticks and put them in a vase as a display.
Use a Christmas oil on the pine cones to make it smell Christmassy.
Join a Christmas carol service or put on some Christmassy (or favorite) music and dance around the house.
Buy a toy with small pieces (not for toddlers under 3 years of age) such as Lego or Playmobile and put different pieces in different advent boxes, so it builds up into a set over a few days.
The twelve kindnesses of Christmas. Visit someone on each day and take one of the Christmas crafts to give to them. It could be an elderly or disabled neighbor, a relative, someone in a senior citizens home, etc
Look for a charity craft fair in your area and pay a visit. Make a donation even if you don’t buy anything.
Write a letter to Santa and find the address to send it to, to receive a reply.
Make it a “Giving” advent. Each day of advent, add a tin or packet of food to a box to hand into your local foodbank for a family that won’t have much at Christmas. Make sure you hand it in early enough for distribution in time for Christmas.
Create or buy a present for a child who won’t have much this Christmas. Find a local charity that distributes these kinds of gifts.
Visit your nearest library to choose Christmas books.
Make salt dough and create Christmas shapes for hanging on the tree.
See if a local park or facility is creating a Christmas wonderland or adventure for walking through or visiting.
Get together a family date night pack with hot chocolate, popcorn and snuggly blankets and watch a Christmas film.
Visit a Christmas market.
Go for an evening walk around your neighborhood and count how many Christmas trees are lit and on display.
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