It was my first advent calendar, too. I have always loved the idea of opening one of those tiny windows each day. Savoring the waiting.
Inside of every window, I put a tiny scroll with instructions for something we had to do that day.
They were all fun, simple free things that were a little out of the ordinary for us. Some were traditional seasonal activities:
Some took all night (this one transformed into 'let's not use electricity until we go to bed'):
Others only lasted for four minutes:
I drew little creatures inside of each window. Some of our favorites made an appearance.
We were counting the days of December until this guy:
This wonderful tradition could be adapted for families who celebrate any holiday (or none) because it is really just about marking the daily passage of time and because you can make it into something that fits your values and ideas about the season.
If you would like to use some of my ideas for activities for our family, you can click on each of the three small pictures below for a larger, printable list.
(The font is P22 PanAm)
If you have any other activities to suggest, I'd love to hear them!