As a child, I remember pulling out the christmas decorations (typically around my birthday, thankyouverymuch!) and getting excited to see the "new" things each December that were included. They weren't new... it's just that after 10 or 11 months off of them, they were re-"new" and exciting to look at, play with, or read. There were nativities, advent candles, and of course, christmas story books... the best. When my parents could get us to sit still (I'm sure some years were better than others) we'd even take the time to read favorites aloud.
That's why I was so excited to see this idea on a blog I like to keep up with: An Advent "Calendar" made of Books! How brilliant is that? Take the same books that your kids loved last christmas season, wrap them up, and open one at a time! What a great way to keep the excitement going all month long. Of course, we should also consider more eco-friendly options than using all that wrapping paper. Anyone have suggestions for some sort of re-usable wrapping that might work? Or you could re-use old wrapping paper if you're one of those who unwraps carefully enough. Or what about a big Santa bag that a child could blindly grab one out of per day? Hm... I've got time to figure out what works for us, huh?
It also reminds me of the habit my mom had when we were kids about bringing "presents" along on long trips. I wish I knew where she got the idea from. But when we'd get in the car for a road trip, her purse would always be secretly full of these little cheesy toys... each one probably worth a dollar at the local Walgreens... each one carefully wrapped. We'd get a little too bored, too restless, or too irritating, and POOF! Out would come a NEW TOY to be unwrapped and played with. Small travel games, little books of riddles... whatever it was, it kept us busy for a few more minutes or hours as dad drove farther down the road. Brilliant, if you ask me.