Our Own Advent Calendar

by Christina, Sam (6), Charlie (4), Dani (3) and Georgia (13 months)

One of my favourite memories as a child, that truly marked the Christmas season, was advent calendars.  In the past couple years I’ve spent my fair share of money on $1.99 specials which I swear have the same graphics as they did in the 80s.  This year I decided to do something different.  My girls and I were going to make our own advent calendar (thank you Pinterest) and fill it with things much better than cardboard tasting chocolate.

Our finished product.  Note my fave the hand/foot print angel (top) and the snow man (right).  My 3 yr old got ahold of the Sharpie and gave the snowman some rocks.

ADventMasse4
This project had so many appealing benefits; designated quality time, a finished project I could and would actually keep, a way to use up all the bits and pieces of craft supplies we have and a way to countdown to Christmas in a more meaningful and connected way.

I bought an over-the-door shoe organizer (less than $20).  It has 24 pockets and each is a great size to decorate and stuff with whatever you choose.  I also splurged another $5 at the dollar store on glitter fabric glue and a package of 4 ornaments.  The remainder of our supplies came from our craft bin.  We worked on it a bit every few days.  This allowed paint and glue to dry while the creative juices kept flowing.  If you google kids crafts you can get an assorment of ideas to get you going.  The ornaments that I bought served as a jumping off point for some pockets and were the only thing on others,  We used old Chrismtas cards, fabric paint, hot glue, stickers, pipe cleaners, you name it.  We decided to number our pockets, but not in order.  I have a couple here learning their numbers, so they need the practice!

AdventMasse1

I plan to stuff the pockets the night before or there will only be empty pockets left after about 1 hour!  I know what I’m going to be loading ours with, but here are a few ideas :

hair barrettes

Sweets (cookies, hot chocolate)

Love notes

A note saying they are going some place or doing something special (sledding, baking)

homemade finger paint

home made play dough

Coupons (paint nails, date with Dad, bedtime massage, 1 extra book at bedtime)

quarters

balloon

My Favourite Parts

My girls each made handprint reindeer, with my littlest making an angel with her hands and foot.  As the years go by I’ll have the reminder of where they were when we made this.

AdventMasse2

Tips

Be realistic and lower your expectations before you start..  If you aren’t creative or are short on time, keep it simple.  You could get 24 ornaments to decorate with for $5 and be done with it.  And if that doesn’t sit well with you, know you can just replace those ormanets later with something created.   Also, each pocket doesn’t have to be filled with something amazing.  Most of my pockets are going to be filled with a note about something we would already be doing that day.  December is BUSY!

AdventMasse3