Happy Thursday and Merry (almost) Christmas! I love, love, love, love Christmas!!!
If you are a Pinterest follower, you probably have seen a zillion different interpretations of an Advent Calendar. Last year, we had a Lego Advent Calendar for Hudson, which was very fun for him since he was obsessed with Lego’s. He and his daddy had a lot of fun opening the doors each day and putting together the progressive town. It was very cute, but, for me, it lacked what Advent is really about.
The word advent means a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: i.e. the advent of the holiday season. The other three meanings listed on dictionary.com have a more religious meaning. And since Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it makes sense to me that an Advent Calendar should have some meaning to it.
So, this year, Hudson and I are creating our own Advent calendar! Instead of our Calendar being filled with treats and small gifts, it’s a combination of family activities, crafts and baking, as well as some activities that will help us to remember The Reason for the Season.
After looking at about eighteen million different variations of DIY Advent Calendars, I ended up combining several different ideas to create ours. It was super easy and SUPER affordable, so you still have time to get one done before the Advent Countdown begins on Saturday (the 1st!). We took a quick trip to Dollar General and we were ready to go.
Step One: Prepare your background. I used lime green napkins (purchased at Dollar Tree) and Mod Podge’d them on white poster board, which I then put into a super cheap poster frame that we had at the house. I like how it turned out, but realized that it would have been a LOT easier if I would have just used a large piece of green tissue paper. Once this is dry, go ahead and put the frame back together.
Step Two: Decorate your clothes pins! Hudson chose sparkly red glitter ribbon (yes!), so we cut strips to fit and I used double-sided tape to attach to the clothes pins. You could also hot glue, I just didn’t feel like moving my project to a location with an outlet.
Step Three: Envelope time! To save money, I used regular white letter sized envelopes. I cut each envelope into 4 equal parts to create 4 envelopes. After cutting the envelopes down to size, it’s time to decorate them! I printed off numbers 1-24 on the computer and cut them out, then mounted them with small pieces of red and green paper. Hudson also added a sticker to each one. After they were decorated, I used packing tape to “laminate” each envelope and also seal the sides since I had cut them. This is an old trick from my “I-am-obsessed-with-making-collages-so-I-will-collage-everything-in-sight” days.
Side note: Dollar General had some really cute gift card envelopes that would have been the perfect size, but I didn’t want to spend $8 just for the envelopes.
Step Four: Attach the clothes pins to your frame or board. I used double stick tape, but you could use a glue gun.
Step Five: Print off your Advent Activity Cards. I created my own and made up activities based on things that I wanted to make sure that we did. I have a nice assortment of easy items (eCaroling – call up family/friends on FaceTime, Skype or Cell and sing Christmas carols) for when I know we’ll be busy, crafting/baking items for nights that we have more time, and I made sure to include Sunday Devotionals about the season of Advent for each week focusing on the 4 Sunday’s of Advent (Hope, Peace, Love, Joy), and, of course, a Birthday Party on Christmas Eve!!
Step Six: Lay out your activity cards and match up to the days that you want to do each one. I’m a total Type-A planner, and needed to make sure that I had the right activities for the right day, and also have them in my Google Calendar so I know what is coming up each day! After you’ve got them loaded into your Calendar, put them in each envelope.
Step Seven: Put each envelope in it’s clip and you’re ready to display!
I’m pleased with how it turned out, and Hudson loved it (which is what REALLY matters!) I am looking forward to celebrating every day with these family and faith activities. I know that will help us all really get into, and STAY in the spirit! If you wanted to make this project even easier, you could just clip each of your clothes pin/envelopes to a long strand of jute or pretty ribbon and drape from your mantle and forgo the entire frame/board part. But, we don’t have a mantle, so frame was the way to go for us!
Let me know if you’re interested in our list of activities. I’d be happy to share!
Recap of Supplies used & Money Spent:
Frame, Mod Podge, Red Paper and Double Stick Tape – $0 (I already had all of these)
Lime Green Napkins – $1
1 Spool of glitter ribbon – $1
1 Spool of striped ribbon used to hang – $1
6 white letter sized envelopes (a box of 40 was $1.75), so – $0.25
Christmas Stickers – $1
Total out of pocket expense: $4.25
Do any of YOU have a special Advent Calendar? Where you Pin-spired to DIY or do you have a family heirloom? I’d love to hear about your Advent traditions and how you countdown to Christmas!