My family never did advent calendars when I was growing up. It wasn't until I was an adult that I even had an inkling of what they were all about. For the last couple years, I've planned to either buy or make one for the boys, but I could never find one I loved and other things took crafting priority.
I decided this year would be the year for the advent calendar, though, and I poured over Pinterest for just the perfect idea.
I never really found one I LOVED, but I did find several that would work, so I tentatively chose a design, but the downside of it was that it was going to require my power tools, some wood cutting, a lot of painting, and a LOT of time. Which, by the way, is running out fast.
Then one night I fell asleep and dreamed about advent calendars and when I woke up, I had the idea of what I would do fully formed in my mind. Now I'm pretty sure I must have run across several of these when I was looking for ideas, but it literally came to me in a dream before I realized that I could make it super cute, super easily, and super quickly.
Why can't I ever dream really useful stuff, like winning lottery numbers?
Anyway, here's the kind of stuff I dream about.
Welcome to my brain.
One over the door type shoe holder with 24 clear pockets. I got mine at Wal-Mart for around $5.
24 treat bags. I found that these fit the width of the pockets exactly. I used 2 different designs so I could alternate them. Mine came from Wal-Mart and were around $2 for each design.
Coordinating scrapbook paper, or wrapping paper.
Numbers 1-24. I opened a blank document in Word then just played around until I found a font and size I liked, then printed them out and cut them out individually and glued them on. For the whole project, this was the most time consuming step. You could buy pre-cut sticky labels if you're not cheap like me.
Scissors, ruler, tape, glue
First I cut the gift bags off about an inch at the bottom to fit the pockets. I slid them into the pockets and used a small piece of scotch tape to hold them into place. Gravity really does most of the work here. Next I printed and cut out all the numbers and adhered them to the pockets. Last, I measured and cut the scrapbook paper to fit the space above each pocket, then glued it into place.
I played around with a bow and some garland to jazz up the top, but I found that it looked too busy, so I took it back off and left the top plain. Of course, part of the problem there might be that I have ZERO bow-making skills...
Now I'm going to fill up the pockets with tons of fun stuff! Some days will be easy stuff like chocolates or small toys that I picked up at the Dollar Tree, and some days will have notes detailing activities. Some of my ideas (and some I pilfered from my friend Natalie include:
- Today we will decorate the Christmas tree (December 1)!
- Tonight we will watch Rudolph and eat popcorn!
- Today is the day we visit Santa!
- Let's make a gingerbread house!
- Let's write our letters to Santa today!
- Let's bake and decorate Christmas cookies for our neighbors!
- Let's send out Christmas cards!
- Today we can make an ornament for the tree!
- Today we will go buy gifts for a family in need.
- Snowball fight! (Of course it won't snow, so I'm thinking baggies of miniature marshmallows.)
- Let's drive around tonight to see the lights!
- Let's cut out paper snowflakes!
- Tonight we will watch Frosty the Snowman and drink hot chocolate!
On December 24, the note will say: find the special package under the tree that says "Do Not Open Until Christmas Eve." In the box will be new pajamas and a new Christmas book to read before bedtime.
This is all stuff we do every year anyway, but I love the thought of the boys racing downstairs every morning to see what's in store for the day.
This Christmas spirit business, I think I'm starting to get it.