a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Dec, 2009

Looking ahead to 25 days of Christmas

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I have to tuck this one under the fold in case someone reads it over my shoulder:

The NAC has given us tickets to see the Nutcracker! Eek! The show is running between December 2-6. We’re going to arrive early for Sugar Plum Parties and free activities. I can’t wait.

The girls don’t know we’re going but I wanted to mention it in case any Ottawa peeps wanted to add it to their 25 days too. Click here for info on the NAC website. If you do go, please note that the NAC is also collecting for the Food Bank and the Snowsuit fund through their “Share the Spirit” campaign.

Our other activities for the next month (and these aren’t in any particular order yet) will include:

  • Christmas crafting! Make paper chains, snowflakes, and garlands
  • Choose a gift from the World Vision catalogue for a family far away
  • Write and mail letters to Santa
  • Buy a gift for a local family in need and drop it off at Toy Mountain
  • Cookie baking and decorating
  • Build the gingerbread house at Nana and Papa’s
  • Buy the Christmas tree
  • Decorate the Christmas tee
  • Go sledding
  • Make peanut-butter-and-birdseed snacks for the squirrels and birds
  • Dress up for dinner
  • Spa day: Bubble baths and toenail painting
  • Go ice skating
  • Visit Santa at the mall and have your photo taken
  • Make a list of ten things for which you are thankful and hang it where you can see it every day.
  • Stay up late and watch a Christmas movie
  • Pyjama day! Play board games, eat popcorn, and sing songs around the Christmas tree
  • Eat dessert before dinner
  • Go for a drive to see the Christmas lights downtown or Taffy Lane (don’t forget the hot chocolate!)
  • Unwrap one present after dinner (mum and dad get to pick which one!) and sprinkle seeds and oats on the front lawn so Santa will find his way.
  • It’s Christmas Day! Remember you have a family who loves you, and that’s the most important gift of all.

10 Responses to "Looking ahead to 25 days of Christmas"

1 | Erica

December 1st, 2009 at 1:28 pm


This is our second year of homemade advent boxes, and this time my husband is in charge. Last year’s boxes combined candy, poems, activities, and small gifts. If something was too big to fit in the box (a dvd of A Christmas Story, for instance), I’d include a little puzzle or poem to guide him to the treat — though it was generally taped under his chair, since my creativity has limits. Heh.

I’d really like to include a visit to Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village this year. Maybe he’ll read these comments when I pass along your list for inspiration!

2 | ImogenSky

December 1st, 2009 at 1:33 pm


I’m doing this again this year! My girls are 3.5 and 2 this year, so the activities are still really simple!

3 | D. Adair

December 1st, 2009 at 3:17 pm


“The girls don’t know we’re going …”

Ha! This makes me wonder how long it is going to be before your girls figure out that they can find out some great secrets by reading your blog.

My 4 yr old ’emailing’ her grandmother from inside kidscbcwonderwold makes me realize how tech savvy are growing up to be. (you as a parent set up who she can email to and they make it very simple for the kids but still….)

4 | Judy

December 1st, 2009 at 3:48 pm


Enjoy the Nutcracker! I love the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s (RWB) version. It should still be the Canadian themed one.

When I was growing up in Winnipeg, my Amma and Mom took me many, many times to RWB for Nutcracker. I would dress up in my special Christmas dress, do my hair and off we would go! Awesome memory!

5 | Susan

December 1st, 2009 at 8:04 pm


Hi Andrea…this year has been a very “interesting” one for our little family here in Oz. It has been a year of cutbacks and radical lifestyle changes and getting back to basics.

We have been following your advent activities for the past two years but this year we have done things a little different.

On the 25th of November the girls and I made a huge Christmas tree out of poster board. We tacked it to our kitchen door, right where it can be seen each day. We also purchased some star shaped sticky notes to go on our tree. Each day we spend a little time reflecting on something we are grateful for…we write it on a star and stick it to the tree.

It is quite humbling to read what these girls of mine are truly grateful for. And on days that are full of tears, worries and fretting over what may be they bring a tiny ray of hope to our lives.

6 | Theresa Woolridge

December 2nd, 2009 at 12:36 pm



I love your list! I too have been thinking of festive things to do with my kids (5 and 2). In particular I`ve been looking for a family volunteer activity. I don`t suspect I`ll find one that will be appropriate for my two year (…maybe) but I`d love to find one here in Ottawa to do with my five year old. Do you have any ideas? I looked at the Volunteer Ottawa site but didn`t find anything that we could do as a family. Ideas for later in the year are welcome too :)

(I too purchase a gift from World Vision and will donate a gift through my daughter`s school which give us the opportunity to talk about helping others, but again just curious if you`ve come across anything else).


7 | andrea

December 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 pm


Hi Theresa –
You’re not the first person who has asked me about this.
I have a few ideas:

1) Meals on Wheels. I wonder if you’re able to sign up as a delivery person and bring the kids. (?)

2) Visits to seniors/retirement homes.

3) I once read about a mom and her kids who collected items in backpacks (i.e. socks, toothpaste, soap etc) and dropped them off at shelters.

If anyone else reading this has any concrete ideas do share!

8 | Mom On The Go

December 3rd, 2009 at 8:28 am


We’ve got tickets to see The Nutcracker on Saturday, too (but in Detroit since we are far from Ottawa this week). If you and your girls haven’t read The Nutcracker story recently, I’d encourage you to do so. The ballet can be difficult to follow if you don’t have the plot in your head. When I went with an adult friend, she was lost when Maria started dreaming. In any case, enjoy!

9 | Anu

December 4th, 2009 at 11:21 am


My daughter (2yrs) and I have done impromptu “volunteering” by picking a place (like a specific playground, or a stretch of a path) to go clean (i.e. pick up trash). I bring gloves for us both & bags of course. We like it and it feels nice after.
Also, couple of times, we’ve organized the books on the shelves of the community bookcase at Dovercourt (thanks Andrea!).
I have also considered asking a busy neighbour if we could walk her dog sometimes…
Very small simple things, but I think they work well at her age.

10 | Theresa

December 5th, 2009 at 11:53 pm


Thanks Andrea and Anu! I like your suggestions…I think we’ll start with helping out a few of neighbours. I like that idea a lot. I’ll let you know how we make out this month.

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

On this date in the archives

All hail the mighty Twitter