It never occurred to me to revive this holiday tradition until I wrapped AJ's first gift and she immediately wanted to open it. I realized that I needed a fun way to help her understand that she needed to wait until Christmas and how long that would be. Explaining it just wasn't doing the trick. Enter the holiday chain garland.
When I was growing up, I remember making a chain garland out of construction paper every year with my brothers and my mom. (Dad usually helped hang it.) It's really simple to do: Makes strips out of pretty construction paper (or cut strips out of "holiday art" you make with your little ones). Count the days until Christmas and make that many strips. Loop them together and secure with tape. Hang the garland in a fun place where everyone can see it and where you kids can reach it.
Make a little "ceremony" each evening out of tearing off one of the strips and reinforcing that "we are one day closer to Christmas!". If you have more than one child, each kid can trade off. It becomes the honor of the day to be the one that tears off that day's loop.
You can count the days until Christmas (or better yet, write them on each loop) and then count down each evening. It's a great way to learn to count and fun too. You can also help little ones learn colors by making the chain out of different colors and asking your child to identify the color of the torn off loop each evening.
There are lots of embellishments for this tradition:
- Use ribbon or special papers for the loops
- Put each child's name on the loop he or she will tear off. (This is easy if you print their names on labels and just stick them to the chains.)
- Make the Christmas and Christmas Eve loops extra special with glitter and color
- Have a "garland party" and make super fancy garlands with your kids' friends. They will get a garland to take home and maybe a new tradition.
Try it this year and see how much your kids love it. You will probably grow to love it too! Here's to a fantastic holiday season!!