Celebrating a Summer Christmas
Ali Edwards’ blog shared the idea of an Advent box full of seasonal experiences, an idea shared with her by Shannon. You have a bunch of these in a box, each one on a slip of paper, and draw out one to try each day leading up to Christmas.
I loved the idea, and read Shannon’s list, and thought, but it’s HOT here at Christmas time. It’s summer, and summer holidays, and snow angels just aren’t possible….
…but lots of other things are.
So herewith my collection of Summer Christmas Advent possibilities. Feel free to add any more ideas in the comments. They kinda blur into January/summer holiday things too. But that’s OK.
This list is copyright, so please don’t burgle it…but if you want to borrow it to make up a box or two for yourself or presents, that’s fine. Do let people know where you found it - thank you.
- Make home made lemonade
- Take a moonlit walk (with mozzie repellent on) after the heat of the day
- Buy, and wear, personal fairy lights (Ikea sells ones with batteries) – and give at least one set to a child (the Ikea ones aren’t expensive, and what child doesn’t want to wear fairy lights?) (Extra note: If your local Ikea doesn't have these, look around for LED ones with about twenty lights and a battery pack rather than a power cord. In Australia, Big W, which is a cousin of Wal-Mart, has some this year). A couple of Ikea links: these are the fairy lights I've bought in the past, and these are other battery-operated ones that could work too. The links are to the Australian site, but you can use the info to check with Ikea in your country. (I've had some people asking about personal fairy lights, so I hope this extra info helps you).
- Buy or make at least one present for an adult, and one for a child, for a wishing/giving tree (for the needy)
- Have dinner outdoors by candlelight (don’t forget the citronella candles or mozzie coils)
- Make decorations from what you can find in the garden
- Make a Christmas (cash) donation to your local bushfire brigade
- Light a Christmas-scented candle
- Go for a bushwalk
- Go ice-skating at an indoor rink
- Take a picnic dinner (sandwiches are fine) to somewhere you’ve never been before
- Eat a mango – a messy, luscious summer treat
- Take a drive to enjoy the Christmas lights
- Read a classic Christmas picture book: three of my favourites (at least one out of print, sorry) are The Polar Express; The Mole Family’s Christmas (Russell Hoban) and The Nativity (illustrated by Julie Vivas)
- Play a CD of traditional Christmas carols by a classic choir (eg. Kings College)
- Go boating – a row boat, paddle boat, sailboat, canoe, kayak, ferry – there are lots of possibilities
- Write down one thing you’re grateful for on each of the days of December leading up to Christmas – maybe a kinda reverse Advent calendar
- Organise a family photo ahead of time (anyone got a November birthday?) and send copies with your Christmas card, and copies to each member of the family
- Check the expiry date on your sunscreen, and replace it if necessary – make sure every member of the family has a hat and sunglasses (The Cancer Council sells good ones)
- Work out which Carols by Candlelight you’ll attend
- See if there’s a local group you can join to sing Christmas carols to the elderly
- Ask a charity how they could use your help at Christmas or in January
- Cool off with home made lemonade
- Pitch a tent in the backyard for the kids to camp out one night
- See if there’s a midnight service you can attend on Christmas Eve – there’s something especially magic about them
- Hang a hammock in your garden – and enjoy it
- Use kids’ drawings to make Christmas decorations – trace them onto plain homespun with a fabric pen. Don’t forget to name and date them (my favourite decoration is a drawing of me at my sewing machine that was done by a niece aged seven). These can be good presents for family members too.
- Plan to share one experience over summer with each of the most important people in your life (friends and family), whether it’s coffee or dinner or a weekend breakfast or sharing an experience together. Tell them why they're special, what you particularly appreciate about them
- Try a summer fruit you’ve never tried before
- Plant some summer colour in a corner of the garden you see every day – a few ‘potted colour’ pots or punnets. And some parsley.
- Buy butcher’s paper (from the butcher, some will readily sell it by weight) and paint it to make your Christmas wrapping paper
- Find a performance of Handel’s Messiah to attend (or plan to join a group and sing in it next year)
- Use a child’s drawing for your Christmas cards, and write your own greeting piece for inside.
- Spend a long summer evening listening to the cicadas sing
- Plan to spend at least one day of your summer holidays helping a good cause in some way, whether it’s bush regeneration or visiting a nursing home or stuffing envelopes.
- Make Christmas shortbread or gingerbread and use fun cutters (stars, moons, fans, whatever!)
- Read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol aloud
- Plan to watch (or record) Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve (that boy soprano beginning with Once in Royal David’s City is one of my favourite Christmas moments ever – still and always)
- Tell the kids about your childhood Christmases – do you still have photos? What was your best present ever? This could be the basis of a fun mini-album
- Rather than an Advent calendar based on chocolate (not the best idea in summer anyway) make an Advent calendar ahead of time with your kids – and with their dates secret, so the others don’t know what’s behind them till the day comes. Maybe a line from a carol, or a Bible verse, or a photo of someone from the family, or something good that’s happened during the year.
- Organise a street Christmas party
- Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
- Organise a Christmas angels scheme at your workplace for the week before Christmas
- Visit somewhere you’ve never been to in your city – the weekend papers or what’s-on websites are a source of ideas. Maybe an exhibition, or museum, or walk, or activity.
- Make a wreath for your door from stuff you already have – whether in your craft room or the garden or whatever
- Find a way to share something you’re good at – a skill, a craft, there are many possibilities – with someone who will enjoy it
- Go to an outdoor cinema
- Make Christmas treats with the kids – whether it’s biscuits/cookies, or an ice-cream Christmas pudding or tiny puddings from fruit cake – for sharing.
- Sing Christmas music in the car – whether it’s Bing or choral or Handel, sing and enjoy. Make sure you sing some Australian Christmas carols too.
- Make a Christmas quilt to hang on the wall or use as a table cloth or table runner. Make the back of plain cream homespun, and get every family member to sign it each year
Well, that's fifty - not a bad start. Which summer Christmas things have I missed? What else would you add to a summer Christmas Advent/summer holiday box?
28 November: Ali Edwards mentioned this post in her blog - thank you!
And I've realised that I mentioned home made lemonade twice. I'll post the best lemonade recipe ever... (check back in a little while).