Ryan was 2.5 years old and while I worried that may be pushing the limits of his comprehension abilities, I'm happy he completely proved me wrong. He became totally engaged in the magic, awakening each morning to happily announce that he *must* find Jolly! As he climbed out of his bed, he'd preemptively giggle just imagining what shenanigans Jolly must have involved himself in overnight.
I spent HOURS upon HOURS last year planning out the entire month.
Luckily, like most things in life, the first time is always the most time intensive. This year's planning was MUCH easier.
I started by reviewing the note I wrote to myself after last year...... I distinctly recall that the #1 problem we had last year was not having thoroughly vetted WHERE Jolly would be placed each evening. Recall:
My notes also reminded me that Ryan seemed to really enjoy the antics whereby Jolly incorporated familiar toys into the shenanigans. The Jolly-fishing-in-the-blue-toilet-water-with-disintegrated-goldfish was cool to me, but Ryan didn't necessarily understand how creative that was. But, the morning Jolly was playing Angry Birds in the kitchen? "That was sooooo cool, mommy!!!"
Here's the calendar, in all of its coffee-stained glory. Because I basically use code, I've included links to most of the ideas below so you can better understand each day.
Dec 1st- North Pole Breakfast!! Jolly's first appearance!
Dec 2nd- Jolly puts up a Christmas Tree in Ryan's bedroom
Dec 3rd- Squinkie Snowball fight
Dec 4th- Spiderman Elf, makes web (I bought spiderwebbing on clearance after Halloween)
Dec 5th- Green Milk in the fridge (I made the scarf and ear muffs from a small felt stocking I got on sale for $0.59 at Michael's last year before Christmas)
Dec 6th- Jolly gives RJ EOTS PJs (from Zulily) and an invitation to gingerbread party that night! (We have 2 couples coming over that night to decorate gingerbread houses, have breakfast for dinner, and watch Prep'N'Landing. We're all planning on giving PJs to the kids, and having our elves deliver invitations to the event)
Dec 7th- Jolly puts up Christmas Tree in the hallway outside RJ's room
Dec 8th- Underwear balloons!
Dec 9th- Canned good tree
Dec 10th- Marshmallow bath
Dec 11th- Elf Garden
Dec 12th- Cookies grow (or candy canes, if you plant peppermint candies)
Dec 13th- Picnic with toys
Dec 14th- Batman Elf (Jolly will dress up as Batman and is going to leave a handmade Batman costume that a friend handed down to us from her son when he was younger)
Dec 15th- Hot Air balloon ride!!
Dec 16th- Making S'mores with friends
Dec 17th- Stealing syrup (maybe with mini-sized pancakes)
Dec 18th- Jolly leaves balloons all over Ryan's floor while he's sleeping (squinkies inside so he has to pop them?)
Dec 19th- Elf brings donut snowmen
Dec 20th- Playing the DS with toys
Dec 21st- Tee Pees the Christmas tree
Dec 22nd- Breaks into piggy bank
Dec 23rd- Hides candy canes for RJ to find (leaves a note with it)
Dec 24th- Elf sized donuts as a parting gift
We also have a few very basic back up ideas in case we forget to set up and need to get it done at the last minute:
Hide'n'seek inside a glass
Name in the cereal
TP roll swing in the kitchen doorway
I think we have a good combination of complex and easy ideas planned. About half of them are repeats from last year. As you can see from all of the superhero ideas, Ryan is totally into them right now! Although, his favorite is IronMan so I may need to find a way to incorporate him somehow.
As was the case last year, I'm so excited for Dec 1st to arrive! Ryan has already been asking about Jolly and even remembered that he began his visit last year with a marshmallow trail into the kitchen (that kid has the memory of an elephant.....he clearly isn't my child; most days I can't even remember how old I am).
T-minus 8 days until the big North Pole Breakfast!!