Valley Family Fun: The Countdown to Christmas is on!

Valley Family Fun: The Countdown to Christmas is on!
By Laura Churchill Duke

There is never so much fervour and excitement for the holidays as when there are children in the house!

There are a couple of special things that you can do to get ready. These are some of our favourite countdown traditions.

  1. Elf of the Shelf
    Whether your kids believe in the Elf or not, it’s a whole lot of fun for the whole family to wake in the morning to see where the Elf is hiding or what mischief he has been up to! My biggest piece of advice is to set the bar low at the beginning! After 6 years, it’s hard to keep coming up with stellar ideas!
  2. Random Acts of Christmas Kindness
    In addition to our countdown candy advent calendar, in the past, we have done a random acts of kindness one. In each of the pouches, along with the candy, is a slip of paper with a random act of kindness we will do together as a family. It might be making supper for a busy family, shovelling someone’s driveway, or bringing a present to the bus driver. To make it even easier, you can find a free printable version on the Valley Family Fun website that you can print and cut up to use for your own countdown.
  3. Non-traditional advent countdowns:
    I have some friends who wrap a small present in an advent stocking marked for each day of December. These could include markers, stickers, or any other small trinkets. Other families have a new (or new-to-them) Christmas book to unwrap each day. Other families wrap books they already own and enjoy opening and reading them together like new each night leading up to Christmas.
  4. Christmas light bingo:
    We know Christmas is coming when we drive around the Valley playing bingo with sheets we made up, looking for various decorations! We have a couple of our favourite places including one in Fox Hill, Kentville and another in Cambridge where we are bound to cross off most of the things on our bingo sheets.
  5. Get crafty and make a countdown
    When we were kids, there was nothing that we loved more than making a paper chain leading up to our birthdays or Christmas. These can also double as decorations. Pinterest has a lot of ideas, including candles to burn down each day to the appropriate date, or Santa’s beard that can be snipped off. This year, at our annual family Christmas party, the kids will be making advent countdown calendar wreaths by wrapping candy in a long piece of saran wrap, and snipping off a piece each day to eat!

There are so many ways to get ready for Christmas and to build the anticipation! What are your family’s traditions?

To receive copies of the bingo sheets or the random acts of kindness calendar, please email or search for them on