One of my cherished childhood holiday memories is the Advent calendar my parents would get for my sister and me every year. It was nothing fancy: just thick cardstock with a beautiful Christmas-themed picture that we would display in the kitchen. Every day, Kendall and I would enthusiastically wait until after dinner when we could open the day’s “window” on the Advent calendar. Looking back, I think it’s kind of funny how much excitement surrounded those Advent calendars. But my parents made the season so special for us, and that was one of the ways they did it.
Last year, I was a bit of a Scrooge when it came to the holidays. We don’t need to get into why (*cough* my job *cough*), but I have made the decision that NOTHING will come between me and my favorite holiday this year. Over the weekend, I created a list of 25 holiday activities for Ryan and me to do together, either alone or with friends and family.
As everyone these days knows, adding a daily activity to already full schedules is not exactly easy. On top of that, the Bowers house doesn’t exactly have a schedule one would typically call “normal”. Ryan works 24-hour shifts, so several days a week we don’t get to even see each other, let alone have the time to fit in a Christmas-y activity together. Plus, a work obligation will put me in Florida the first week of December, and we’ll be spending the three nights leading up to Christmas away from home (visiting Ryan’s family in Lima, Ohio!). All of this made putting together an Advent calendar difficult, but as the ancient proverb says “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. With proper planning and accepting the fact that several things will have to be done away from each other, over the phone or just by one of us, I believe we’ll be able to complete all 25 activities. And if not…oh, well. Just being with the ones you love is what makes the holidays magical.
I’ve listed the activities on our Advent calendar below, in the order that we’ll be doing them. I’ll be working on the actual calendar this week or next, so I’ll post that when it’s done (assuming it turns out well!) . I hope you enjoy – and that you share any Advent activities your family loves!
Dec. 1 – Give yourself a fun holiday manicure and pedicure (Whitney only).
Dec. 2 – Go to see “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Akron Civic Theatre
Dec. 3 – Design and order Christmas cards
Dec. 4 – Pick out Christmas PJs for each other (this will be done on our own – so it will be a surprise!)
Dec. 5 – Send a Christmas card to a solider over-seas (more information if you’re interested)
Dec. 6 – Pick out an ornament that describes our life right now
Dec. 7 – Make latte’s and watch a “Friends” Christmas episode
Dec. 8 – Shop for and wrap presents for giving tree child(ren)
Dec. 9 – Christmas Q&A on the drive to and from Cincinnati (This should be a lot of fun – if you want to see our questions, here they are: Ryan and Whitney 2012 Christmas Q&A)
Dec. 10 – Take pictures of decorations around Akron (Whitney only – to share with Ryan when he gets home tomorrow)
Dec. 11 – Drive around West Akron to look at the Christmas lights (and bring Sarge, of course)
Dec. 12 – Address and mail Christmas cards
Dec. 13 – Meet friends in Fairlawn / downtown Akron for a “Christmas Beer” happy hour
Dec. 14 – Invite the neighbors over for hot chocolate, egg nog and cookies
Dec. 15 – Take a family picture in front of the Christmas tree
Dec. 16 – Bake cookies together. Enjoy a couple with milk (but make sure to leave some for Santa!)
Dec. 17 – Cuddle up for a holiday movie night – each gets to pick their favorite holiday movie. Make a snowman pizza for dinner
Dec. 18 – Ice skate at Lock 3 in downtown Akron
Dec. 19 – Take donations (clothes, food, etc.) to Haven of Rest
Dec. 20 – Go shopping for presents for the pets. Afterward, relax at Starbucks while enjoying Salted Caramel hot chocolates (our favorite!)
Dec. 21 – Annual “Love Actually” viewing (Whitney only – and any girlfriends who want to attend!)
Dec. 22 – Buy a new Christmas CD and listen to it on the drive to Lima
Dec. 23 – Make a batch of Cranberry Ginger Fizz cocktails and play board games or euchre
Dec. 24 – Open presents from each other in Christmas PJ’s (picked out by the other person on Dec. 4)
Dec. 25 – Sleep under the Christmas tree lights