Countdown to Christmas

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

Can you believe Christmas is less than 2 months away?!

I have always loved Christmas but this year I am extra excited. Charlie is at an age now where he will understand a bit more about what Christmas is all about and will be more willing to participate in the Christmas magic & fun.

Anyway, I have been building up my Pinterest board full of things to try out this year.

Take a look at my Top 5 fav Christmas Traditions...

1. DIY Advent calendar

Sure, the Cadbury chocolate advent calendars are always a great option when Christmas sneaks up on you & you haven't had time to get creative but this year I'm planning to mix it up a bit with a DIY Advent calendar. Depending on how creative you want to get, you can check out our Christmas Fun Pinterest board for some inspiration or support local with these awesome options available from some of our fellow small businesses...

- Hanging advent calendar pockets by Envirokid

- Cookie advent calendar by Roxy’s Sugarbox

- Wooden Advent Calendar by Dandeliondreamz

- Advent town by The Sticker Studio

I have also seen a fantastic book advent calendar idea where you wrap 25 books, arrange them in a staggered pile (to look like a Christmas tree) & open a different one each night to read - If you're feeling ambitious enough to wrap 25 books then it really is a lovely idea. They don't have to all be new books, you could mix in a few new ones with books that you already have & try throw some Christmas themed stories in there too.

Download our FREE printable Advent calendar fillers & swop the chocolate for some fun festive activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Even if you do go with the Cadbury calendar, print the printable, cut them out, fold them up & pop them in a jar. The kiddos can take turns to pick one out each day leading up to Christmas.

2. The Christmas Eve Box or Bag

My sister-in-law introduced me to this tradition when she made one for Charlie last year & it's definitely a tradition that I plan to do every year!

Get a box of some sort, upcycle an old shoe box or gift box or get a nice wooden one that can be reused every year. or you can opt for a personalised Christmas bag instead.

You can really put anything in there but these are some of my top suggestions...

  1. New PJ's - They don't have to be Christmas themed but it does make it more fun, Pick 'n Pay or Cotton on often have some nice Christmas PJ's for kiddos.

  2. Christmas socks/slippers

  3. Hot chocolate, mini marshmellows & a Christmas cookie/Gingerbread man

  4. A personalised tin mug or a Christmas themed mug

  5. A Christmas storybook

Open the box/bag on Christmas eve before bedtime - Get dressed into Christmas pj's, make some hot chocolate, cuddle up & read the Christmas story together.

Don't forget to leave some milk, cookies & carrots out for Santa & his Reindeers before you go to bed.

We found these gorgeous boxes at All About Packaging

3. Christmas Giving

Of course it shouldn't be the only time of year that you perform random acts of kindness and charitable giving but it definitely is a good time of year to do a Christmas clear out of old toys, clothes or anything else that you're no longer using & donating them to a charity. I recently came across the idea of a 'reverse advent calendar' - Decorate a cardboard box & add one item to it each day leading up to Christmas eve, then donate it to a charity or family in need.

Items could include tinned food, rice, pasta, teabags, cereal, biscuits & toiletries.

This organisation is based in Australia but check them out to get an idea of how it works.

Times are tough for many of us these days so if you're not in a position to donate items to charity you can still brighten someone's day with something as simple as a smile, a compliment or by volunteering your time. It's also the perfect opportunity for some teachable moments with the kiddos.

- Reverse advent calendar

- Donate old toys, clothes, blankets or food

- Bake cookies to brighten someone's day

- Draw or paint a picture or make cards

- Volunteer your time

- Perform random acts of kindness

4. Christmas Family Fun Night

After all, this is what Christmas is really about - Spending time with the people who matter most to you, be it friends or family. Christmas eve & Christmas day tend to be busy, somewhere between coordinating the cooking, opening gifts & getting everyone ready & out the door on time, we don't always take time to slow down & appreciate one another.

Having a family fun night at some point during the festive season can allow you to spend much needed quality time together. Make it a phone free evening - Except for snapping a few pics. Here's some ideas ...

  1. Put some Christmas tunes on & decorate the tree together

  2. Make your own Burgers/ Tacos/ Pizzas/ Ice cream sundaes

  3. Movie night - With lots of snacks - If you're feeling super ambitious, arrange a screen & projector for a movie night in the garden.

  4. Games night/ 'Minute to win it' challenges/ Quiz night

  5. Create a treasure/ scavenger hunt

  6. Baking & decorating Christmas cookies/ A gingerbread house

  7. Camp out in the garden

  8. Create a family time capsule

  9. Get out your Christmas sweaters or pj's & props for a Family photoshoot

  10. Put your Christmas hats on, pack a padkos picnic & take a road trip to find some Christmas lights. The center of Cape Town is beautifully lit up with lights during the Festive season, it's definitely worth a drive to see them.

We love the adorable range of 3D printed Christmas cookie cutters from Just Bake Store

5. A Christmas Tjommie

(For our international visitors - Tjommie is a South African word for a buddy/friend)

Elf on The Shelf has never really stuck in our household, to be honest, I find them a little creepy. So in my efforts to find an alternative, I came across a few lovely concepts which have developed into the idea of a Christmas buddy - With. South African twist - Hence the name Tjommie. I have put it last on my list because it ties all of the above traditions together as you will see in the explanation below ...

A Christmas Tjommie is a special toy that arrives from Santa's Workshop on the 1st of December with a list of activities to be completed each day leading up to Christmas Eve. These activities are printed on little cards & popped into a DIY advent calendar. The activities are aimed at teaching the true values of Christmas by including random acts of kindness, encouraging gratitude & spending quality time together with family & friends. The tjommie is there to help children perform the daily advent activities and to join in on the fun & adventures. On Christmas Eve the child puts their tjommie under the tree & if you do the Christmas eve box/bag mentioned above - They can open that as a little gift for completing all of their activities. Santa then 'collects the tjommie' on Christmas eve when he delivers the gifts & takes him back to the North Pole until the following Christmas, the tradition can be repeated year after year. To add a bit of a South African touch to this tradition, we decided to use one of our own iconic & sadly, critically endangered animals - The Rhino. It's a great way to tie in some awareness around protecting endangered animals and adding a bit of local flair to a new Christmas tradition.

Get your 'Christmas Rhino Tjommie' here. R50 from every Rhino ordered will be donated to The Save the Rhino Foundation to help in their fight against Rhino poaching.

So that's it from me - May your festive season be filled with with love, joy & exciting new traditions.

Do you have any special Christmas Traditions? We would love to know what they are, drop them in the comments section.

* Affiliate Disclaimer - This page contains some affiliate links (Faithful to Nature & Loot), should you choose to purchase something when clicking on one of my links, I may receive a small amount of commission from the affiliated companies, at no additional cost to you.

These links help me to pay for my website.

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