Declutter your Christmas
A tale of two hams

Creative countdown to Christmas

Creating-our-own-advent-calendar-from-natural-materials-is-far-more-meaningful-than-popping-down-to-the-shop-to-buy-one. LIttle eco footprints

Counting down the days leading up to Christmas is a tradition in our household. Instead of purchasing a commercially available advent calendar, we make our own from natural materials.

Counting-down-the-days-to-Christmas-using-our-home-made-advent-calendar-made-from-rocks. Little eco footprints

Each day corresponds to a chosen activity rather than a chocolate or a toy. In previous years we have created our calendar from fallen leaves. This year we branched out and used stones.

Creative-countdown-to-christmas-rock-stone-advent-little eco footprints

Little Eco drew pictures of things she is grateful for on each stone using permanent paint pens. Each stone is numbered and corresponds to a chosen activity.

In previous years I’ve chosen quick nature play or craft activities that we could do as a family. This year Little Eco chose the activities herself. I asked her what she wants to do more of and felt a pang of guilt when she told me “I want to do crafty stuff with you, like we used to.” Ouch – she’s right. We used to do a lot more creative play together, but since she’s started school I’ve neglected craft.

Creative-countdown-to-Christmas-advent. Little eco footprints 2

To help her choose the activities, I set her up in front of my ‘‘creative play for littlies” Pinterest board. I’ve saved dozens of links to creative play ideas I had planned to do. But like many “pinners” - I haven’t actually gotten around to the “doing”. At least the person who named one of their boards “Awesome things I will never take the time to actually make” was being a tad more realistic than me.

Over 24 days we’ll create nature crowns, corn husk dolls, clay owls and a woven skipping rope. I’ve set aside an hour each afternoon for us to create together. I’m not too concerned about completing every activity. It’s more about the process than the outcome (thankfully - because she's been pretty ambitious with her list).

Is there something you love doing that you don’t do enough of? Perhaps you could do your own creative countdown to Christmas? Think about what you truly enjoy doing – and do more of that.

I'll be tagging our creations on Instagram and Twitter using #creativecountdown. Feel free to join in. Use our list, or create your own. 

Originally published in my Newcastle Herald column 'Less is More' 30th November 2013.

Here's our Creative countdown to Christmas list

  1. Build an insect hotel
  2. Create a sock caterpillar
  3. Make a nature crown
  4. Weave a fairy rug
  5. Make a toilet roll owl
  6. Paint and play rock dominoes
  7. Make a Japanese flying carp
  8. Learn how to use a sewing machine
  9. Make a recycled tin can windsocks
  10. Create a dancing marionette.
  11. Craft a tissue box monster
  12. Make a bow and arrow
  13. Weave a jump rope
  14. Make egg carton love bugs
  15. Paint a bug tic-tac-toe.
  16. Make a cute clay owl
  17. Make a corn husk owl
  18. Create a corn husk doll
  19. Make a changing faces toilet roll doll
  20. Make a dream catcher
  21. Sew a kangaroo
  22. Sew another kangaroo
  23. Weave a friendship bracelet
  24. Make a toilet roll snowman

If you would like some more creative play ideas - here's our lists for 2012 and 2010

Wishing you a calm and creative countdown to Christmas.