Holiday Countdown Calendar

I’m one of those annoying people that requires space for holidays. You can’t celebrate Christmas in October because HALLOWEEN is happening. You can’t celebrate Christmas in July because HALLOWEEN HASN’T HAPPENED YET. You get the idea.

I’m not *against* Christmas or the Holiday Season. I sure do love a good Christmas/Holiday movie or TV show, but I only want to watch them Black Friday through New Years Day. I feel the same way about decorations and Christmas themed events. Where I struggle is that this is admittedly a small time frame to fit a lot of holiday cheer into. I overcome this issue the way I overcome all of my struggles: becoming insanely organized about it.

Enter the Holiday Countdown Calendar.

Pottery Barn Gilt Galvanized Advent Calendar, wood frame, wood backing, metal bins with numbers 1-25 labeled in gold ovals and white numbers.

I snagged this on super discount from Pottery Barn some time between 2014 and 2016.

What we do a little differently with our calendar, is that we plan events, favorite holiday movies and tv episodes, and activities like baking gingerbread or making a holiday charcuterie board – instead of the standard small gifts and candy every day. We do hide candy on random days, and for special occasions there are gifts (for instance, two years ago we went out of town for a few days and so Chad got a new pair of wireless headphones to take on the plane instead of making him wait until Christmas day to open them). However, ours is more of an event calendar than a gift calendar.

Each event or activity has a card that I made to represent it. They are made out of craft paper and scrap book supplies, I use avery labels (on the backside), and then laminated them for longevity.

Holiday Movies

I have too many favorite Christmas and Holiday Movies to list, or be feasible to watch during the season all together. So, we narrowed them down to our absolute favorites, and then I watch the other ones if we have time (like putting The Last Holiday on repeat every Sunday during the season while I’m doing laundry).

  • Home Alone
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • Elf
  • A Christmas Story
  • The Santa Clause
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • Christmas Vacation
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol

Holiday TV Episodes

A few years ago, Chad was complaining that it was too difficult to watch a movie on a work night (which was the impetus for whittling down the movie list in the first place) but that he still wanted to watch something. We floated the idea of splitting movies into two parts, but then realized that almost every TV Show that we loved had a holiday episode or two. I used a few online lists to come up with the ones worthy of our attention. Depending on the length (and availability) of the episodes, I coupled a few together:

  • Veronica Mars, Season 1 – An Echoll’s Family Christmas
  • Frasier, Season 1 – Miracle on 3rd of 4th Street
  • Home Improvement, Season 5 – T’was the Flight Before Christmas
  • The Office, Season 2 – Christmas Party
  • The Office, Season 3 – A Benihana Christmas
  • Arrested Development, Season 2 – Afternoon Delight

Holiday Activities

We usually try to get tickets to a few local events that include:

  • Luminaria (local outdoor light event)
  • Christmas in Color (drive through light show)
  • Home Alone in Concert (usually it’s Home Alone, sometimes other movies, they play the movie and the symphony plays the score)

Here are a few of the food related activities we like to do:

  • Gingerbread
  • Holiday Nuts (like beer nuts)
  • Christmas Fettuccine (if you don’t get the reference, you need to love/hate The Holiday more)
  • Holiday Charcuterie Board
  • Red Wine Hot Chocolate (it’s a thing, and it’s delicious)

And finally, a few of the miscellaneous activities:

  • Holiday Mani/Pedis
  • Drive the Holiday Lights Map (local news station puts out a map of homes that decorate)
  • Festivus
  • Walt Disney’s Birthday (Dec 5)

I keep a small stash of supplies so I can add an activity or movie – or as was the case for this year – TV episodes. It’s fun to discuss our daily activity or even just share a little piece of chocolate at breakfast if that’s what we have for the day. It also helps the holiday season not slip by in a haze of parties and champagne without one viewing of a favorite movie.

What activity is a holiday must do for your family?

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