Tuesday, January 18

Got tired of the package calendar: The family of five makes a Christmas calendar out of the ordinary

– This is the calendar our children remember best and have wanted year after year, says Camilla Sagen-Hafstad. Here you get (at least) 24 tips for an active pre-Christmas period.

Ove and Camilla Sagen-Hafstad think it’s as nice as Malene (14) and Matheo (8) to come up with something together in the run-up to Christmas.

The Christmas calendar has traditionally been for the little ones. Now there is one for everyone – for the tea and chocolate lover, the beer dog and those who care about skin care. Stores of almost all kinds offer one or more varieties.

You can also have the homemade – package calendar.

But the Sagen-Hafstad family from Bergen could no longer bear it.

– We saw that the children thought the little things they got were fun for five minutes. Or they were disappointed if it was something practical. Then some of the point was lost, says stepmother Camilla Sagen-Hafstad (45).

Seven years ago, the family decided to create an activity calendar. Then the youngest was Matheo one year. The two oldest children thought it was a brilliant idea. The calendar gave Malene (14) and Markus (17) extra quality time with their parents. It is this calendar they like best and have the best memories from.

– There have been so many nice things we have done together. We have been to the theater, baked for Christmas and watched movies in addition to lots of fun outside, the 14-year-old says.

Get tips for the activity Christmas calendar further down in the case.

Advice for activity calendar: 1. Find activities that are suitable for the age. 2. Everything does not have to be outdoors, but take the chance when the snow is going to do something fun.

Make cocoa one day – drink it outside. It’s enough. 4. Another day you can go to the theater, Christmas market or watch a Christmas movie at the cinema. It should not be stressful.

Make agreements with grandparents, family members, friends or neighbors who can take part in something: Christmas workshop, accommodation, baking, etc. 6. Bonus: It is more environmentally friendly.

Here the family is on a trip to the city mountain Lyderhorn in Bergen.

Big and small

They have slept in tents in the garden, made reflective trails, made bird food, built snow lanterns, gone to Christmas shows or exhibitions in the city, had friends on overnight stays and ate breakfast and dinner outside. And they’ve had board game or movie nights. They have read “The Snow Sister” out by the fire, made wreaths or other Christmas decorations. The possibilities are endless, the family says.

– The activity calendar has been exciting and different for the children. We also do not think they need to start the day with candy every morning. The activity calendar is something we all enjoy, says Sagen-Hafstad.

Dessert is made on primus after a good trip in the local community in Bergen.

She adds that the calendar is also easy to change – should something unforeseen happen.

– We have small snowflake patches the activity is written on. The notes are in envelopes. But should someone get sick or it does not fit that day, we can change a little, she laughs while the 14-year-old looks slightly skyrocketed.

The family thinks one of the best things is that they have completed activities every day in December. The afternoons fly by anyway. Then it is extra nice to set aside some time together in the run-up to Christmas. The 14-year-old is very fond of the calendar and is really looking forward to this year.

– We go all day and look forward to doing something in the afternoon or evening. It’s extra nice, says Malene.

Close trip to the favorite place.

Decorating a tree outdoors is one of the tips for the Hafstad-Sagen family.

An exciting adventure is to set up tents in the garden or on the porch. – Malene became so eager when she was around eight or nine years old that she slept several nights out, says mother Camilla.

In the calendar bags are notes with the day’s activity.

Christmas calendar back to the 20th century

The commercial Christmas calendar originated in Germany in the early 20th century. Many of our Christmas traditions originate from there.

It was long read and decided that the first Christmas calendar in Norway came after World War II in the form of the Scout Girls’ Christmas calendar with pictures from 1947.

– But it turns out that the tradition actually goes back even further. The Red Cross had the first calendar with hatches in 1937, says Marit Odden (48). She is an expert on old Christmas traditions and Christmas decorations, and she runs Gamletrehus.no.

What is to be the very first Norwegian Christmas calendar, was published by the Red Cross’ child welfare service in 1937. Here it is reproduced in Aftenposten. The calendar is illustrated by Edvarda Lie and had hatches with pictures of Christmas preparations.
It was long thought that the Scout Girls’ Christmas calendar from 1947 was the first. This variant must be from the 50s once.

In even earlier times, candles were lit every day. Someone told a story daily, and small pictures were hung on the wall until Christmas Eve. It’s a long leap to today’s calendars.

– I think the origin was to have a nice activity that counts down the days until Christmas. We still do. But in step with everything else in society, the Christmas celebration becomes bigger and more expensive, says Odden.

She says that her uncles got a potato with matches in it. Her father is a little younger. He got a Christmas calendar with hatches.

– It is interesting that today it is not only children who get Christmas calendars, but also adults. My mother has actually started making calendars for me again. It is very cozy as long as she does it out of joy and not out of duty, says Odden.

Marit Odden is an expert on old Christmas traditions and Christmas decorations.

DNT: Create a different pre-Christmas time

The Hofstad-Sagen family has used the pre-Christmas activities of the Tourist Association (DNT) in their calendar as well.

– We have joined several trips with Barnas Turlag here in Bergen, as a torchlight procession. It has been very nice, says Camilla Sagen-Hafstad.

For the very first time, DNT has asked its members for help in creating a different Christmas calendar. They have come up with 24 tips for activities. The point is that there should be a low threshold and something everyone should be able to do – preferably with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends or neighbors.

– What is better than creating small moments in the run-up to Christmas where you break the routines and are together as a family. There does not have to be advanced activities. Use nature close to where you live to experience something new and use the tour portal ut.no to plan, says Dag Terje Klarp Solvang. He is the general secretary of DNT.

Some of the suggestions are a campfire trip, accommodation in the forest or reflex play. If someone wants to wrap a small thing, there may be something suitable for the trip: Quick lunch, cocoa bag or headlamp. The most important thing is that you do not set up the race too hard – the slightly more advanced trips can be added to the weekend and other activities can be done if you are going on a cabin trip.

Get 24 tips for an active Christmas calendar in the fact box below:


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