Inexpensive Ways to Countdown to Christmas

My 8-year-old adores her Snoopy countdown to Christmas calendar… and her wooden Advent calendar… and her chocolate-filled Advent calendar… and well, you get the idea.  My kid is obsessed with counting down to December 25th.

While I enjoy seeing her excitement as she tears open the doors to her various candy-filled chronicles, Advent calendars don’t come cheap.  Neither do secular versions featuring syndicated cartoon characters.

Fortunately, there are ways you can celebrate the coming of Christmas without going broke.  For example:

Paper Chains:  Kids can craft a countdown to Christmas chain to help them visualize how many days until Santa’s visit.  Simply cut 24 strips of red and green construction paper and let your child decorate each one with crayons, markers, stickers, or glitter.  Next, fold each strip into a ring, attach each to one another to create a chain, and glue, staple or tape closed.  Then, hang the paper chain in a place where your child can easily reach it.  During the month of December, have your child pull off one link every day.  When the chain is gone, the wait for Santa is finally over.

Time Capsule:  Find an old wooden box or a sturdy cardboard one.  Next, have your children help you collect photos and other small memorabilia representing the highlights of 2012.  Place the items in the box and cover it with butcher paper.  Then, allow your kids to flex their creative muscle decorating the time capsule with sequins, markers, rubber stamps or crayons.  When they are done, place the time capsule in the area of your home that houses your Christmas decorations when they are not in use.  Next year, when it’s time to put up the decorations, take out the time capsule and place it under your holiday tree.  Finally, on Christmas morning open the time capsule and allow the entire family to reminisce about the good times shared in the previous year.

Wreath:  Rather than forking over a ton of cash to purchase a holiday wreath, get into the spirit of the season by creating your own.  Start by cutting out a large circle from a piece of heavy cardboard or simply purchase a cheap Styrofoam wreath ring from the Dollar Store.  Next, make a small hole about an inch from the top of the wreath and tie a piece of red yarn or ribbon through it.  Then, have your kids cover the entire wreath with glue before attaching popcorn, cranberries and pine cones (collected from your yard) to it.  Remind your children to place the items very close together, so you can’t see the cardboard or Styrofoam. When the glue has dried, embellish the wreath with a big red bow and hang it from the piece of yarn or ribbon.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.

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