After Thanksgiving has kicked off the holiday season, the common tune humming in most households is the kids chiming what they want for Christmas, what they want to do and eat for the holidays. Well, how about kicking off December 1st with a Christmas activity tree, decorated with bags full of surprises for each day, counting down to Christmas morning! The kids will have fun creating this activity tree with you, and they will be excited to see what each day holds for them.

What you’ll need:

Elmer’s glue
hole punch
ribbon
25 mini bags 5 x 7.5 ( a bag for each day from Dec 1st to Dec 25th)
Styrofoam cone (Michael’s floral section)
scissors
sewing head pins
black Sharpie
number stencil
circle shapes stencil
markers
10 sheets of card stock (color of your choice)
pen
December 2012 calendar

Directions:

1. Take the card stock and draw 25 circles using your stencil and then cut out each circle.  Then, number each circle 1 through 25 using the Sharpie and numbers stencil. Set aside.

2. Glue a number on each mini bag so that you have 25 bags number 1 through 25 now. The bags used in these pictures are from The ButterCream Dream Shop on Etsy.

3. Fold the top of each bag down about an inch and then hole punch 2 holes that are 2.5 inches apart from each other.

4. Cut out 4×5 rectangles from the remaining card stock. Write a different Christmas activity on each card. The following are 25 examples of activities you can do with your children to put inside each bag:

Write Christmas cards and mail them out!

Put up outside Christmas decorations

Put up the Christmas tree

Go Christmas Shopping

Bake pumpkin bread

Write letters to Santa

Go see the big Christmas tree at the mall

Read The Polar Express

Go ride the holiday train at the mall

Make smores

Put candy canes onto the tree

Wrap up all of the Christmas gifts

Deliver Christmas gifts to teachers

Go watch the Nutcracker

Make ornaments for the tree

Make gingerbread houses!

Go ice skating!

Read Twas the Night Before Christmas

Attend a Nativity play

Cut out snowflakes

Sing Christmas Carols

Bake cookies and sip hot cocoa

Watch Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Open 1 gift and leave cookies for Santa

Christmas Morning!! Did Santa eat all his cookies?

5. After placing each activity card into a bag, tie a ribbon through the holes. Write down which activity you are doing on each day on the calendar so that you can remember what you put into each bag.

6. Have the kids make their own Christmas stars to top the Styrofoam activity tree.

7. Use the head pins to pin each bag onto the Styrofoam tree. Pin the kids’ Christmas stars at the top.

8. Place your activity tree on your fireplace mantle or breakfast table and let the countdown to Christmas begin!

How do you count down the days until the holidays with your family?

— Sommy Rhee