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Our Countdown to Christmas

Sometimes things are done just right that there isn’t any need for improvement. This is one such thing.

Our family has been using this Santa’s Beard Christmas Countdown by Sarah Preston at Tomfo for the last few years to count down the days until Christmas.

This Christmas Countdown is such a simple and fun activity for kids to get ready for Santa's arrival! Printable by Sarah Preston at Tomfo.

They used to be free printables, but were so wildly popular that Sarah incurred costs offering them so now she sells them as an instant download for a very reasonable price.

But for my lucky readers, I am sharing this awesome countdown with the first 10 readers who leave a comment on this post! {A PDF file will be emailed to you directly.} Be sure to mention which color you’d like — there’s a lovely blue version and a funky black and white one. We have happily used both.

I make an enlarged color copy at my local office supply store and post it to the refrigerator with tape. The concept is really simple: glue one jumbo cotton ball on each number each day — starting on December 1st through the 24th — until you reach Christmas Day. That’s it! And it’s seriously a big hit in our house.

This Christmas Countdown is such a simple and fun activity for kids to get ready for Santa's arrival! Printable by Sarah Preston at Tomfo.

I love watching my kids’ excitement and anticipation grow and grow as Santa’s beard gets all Duck Dynasty. I also love this countdown for a few more reasons:

1.  It doesn’t involve a gift or treat a day unlike other advent calendars. I guess I’m one Grinchy Mommy; my kids get cotton balls!

2.  And while I’m being a Grinch, I also make my kids share one countdown. Sure, I could print two and let them each do one, but I’d rather they learn to take turns. Truth be told, it’s a battle in the beginning because it’s new and fun, but they get a groove going and start encouraging one another. One child gets the odds days; the other gets the evens.

3.  It’s a good reinforcement of numbers — even if it’s only 1 through 24. I’ll tell my 2 year old the number of the day and ask her to point it out. Meanwhile, I’ll ask my 5-year old which number comes after/before another or to count how many days are left. I’m a big fan of learning happening in the ordinary.

4.  There’s another bit of learning for preschool-age kids with this countdown: fine motor skills practice. When my kids were little little, I put the glue on the cotton ball and helped them stick it. Now, they’re on their own.

5.  And lastly {but possibly most importantly}, without this countdown my kids would ask me every day, several times a day, if it’s Christmas yet. The Santa beard is a great visual to help them grasp the concept of days and the passage of time. Each morning we glue on a cotton ball so they know it’s a new day. And it’s one day closer to Christmas!

We enjoy this Christmas Countdown so much that we also gift a few to friends. I make the cotton ball holder in Sarah’s post by stuffing a pint-size mason jar with 24 jumbo cotton balls and adhering a piece of the printable on the lid of the jar. We then hand deliver the cotton ball holder and an 11×17″ color countdown a few days before December starts.

This Christmas Countdown is such a simple and fun activity for kids to get ready for Santa's arrival! Printable by Sarah Preston at Tomfo.

How do you countdown to the big day? Do you use an advent calendar? Please share your traditions in the comments below and enter for your chance to win a Santa’s Beard Christmas Countdown of your very own {cotton balls not included}. Thanks for reading!  — v.

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8 Responses to Our Countdown to Christmas

  1. Lexie November 28, 2016 at 5:29 PM #

    Cute Idea!

    • v. November 28, 2016 at 5:35 PM #

      Thanks, Lexie! Do you have a preference — blue or black and white? I’ll email it to you for the girls!

  2. Lea November 27, 2016 at 4:37 PM #

    My kids are excited about Christmas, this is a great idea for that so longed for day. I would love a blue and a black one if possible. Different personalities call for different colors ;)

    • v. November 28, 2016 at 12:55 PM #

      Absolutely! Be on the lookout for my email, Lea! :)

  3. Kathleen A Conery November 26, 2016 at 12:50 PM #

    As a child we had the open the doors and there’s a treat type (sometimes it was candy, once it was small figures of the nativity). As an adult without children I do nothing. I count down the days, not until Christmas, but until my two week winter break as that’s the real treat!
    Sometimes I miss the excitement that I had about the holiday as a child… But the only children, on either mine or my husbands side, are my sister’s grandchildren. And they’re over 600 miles away.
    That said there’s no need to include me in the drawing, but thank you for the kind offer!

    • v. November 28, 2016 at 1:00 PM #

      A two-weeks winter break is definitely worth counting down towards, Kathleen! Before we had kids, Christmas was pretty calm, too. I decorated, but not with the zest I now have… the kids get the holiday spirit going with their unbridled excitement and innocent joy; it’s contagious! If you’d like, I can email you the printable to send to your sister’s grandchildren. Perhaps they can print it out and use it. :)

  4. Sarah @ Tomfo November 25, 2016 at 9:16 PM #

    I LOVE how you have printed up these in large format, just genius! What a wonderful post to read about how my printables are loved in your house, just made my day.
    I think we might have to print ours out large this year too, thank you.
    And you are so right, this has helped my little guy understand how long it will be until Christmas and saved so many questions, we just look at the calendar. Thanks for sharing lovely x

    • v. November 28, 2016 at 1:05 PM #

      Yay! You know us Americans always super-sizing things! ;) But seriously, we’ve really enjoyed your countdown. Thank you for designing and sharing them with us, Sarah!

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