I’ve tossed around the idea of creating an Advent calendar for a few weeks now. I had never considered it before my friend Addy mentioned it.
I had one growing up, but it was pretty simple. It looked like a calendar except each day’s little box was a pocket and we got to move a little stuffed mouse from one day to the next as we counted down. I didn’t know there was much more to a Christmas countdown (aka Advent) until I started looking on pinterest and google. There are some really sweet designs on there! And there are a lot of store bought versions and books to accompany them.
Well, seeing as I like to be creative and I’m frugal (aka cheap, low on the budget, whatever you want to call it), I decided to make my own. Thankfully, I was able to pretty much finish it before December got too far underway! And I’m also glad I decided to do this, because ever since we mentioned it was Christmas time and we started getting the decorations out, Haddie is constantly asking if it’s Christmas now and if she can open presents yet. So, hopefully this will slow her down a bit and maybe create some type of timeframe in her mind.
There are tons of different types of designs out there and my friend made her own awesome version. I finally settled on a small lunch size paperbag version this year so that I could get it done quick and cheaply and so that it would fit different sizes of items in it (depending on what I decide to do each year).
I painted each of the numbers (1-25) on the bag and then sprinkled salt on them. I was out of glitter and wanted a little something extra on them. And I ended up being kinda cool looking. It almost looks like frost or snow. We’ll see how it holds up.
As you can see I’m not a very great number painter…but it works for now.
I punched a hole in the top of each bag and had Seth nail a long nail into a nice piece of wood he had laying around (thanks Nick, and SeaRay!).
The picture is a bit blurry, but I think you get the idea. I’m going to decorate the board a little so it looks a bit more festive and fun. I still need to figure out where and how to hang it.
Inside each of the bags is going to be one of these neat name ornaments. Each of the 25 ornaments has a different name of Jesus for us to learn each day. See the bottom of this post for the website to print these for FREE!
I plan on laminating them soon and we’re going to hang them on a small “tree” created from silver spray painted branches that is going to be our centerpiece. I really want to start a tradition of keeping Jesus much more the focal point of the season. (Oh, and this may be a shock…we’re not doing the whole Santa thing…)
On the back of the ornaments I glued the scripture reference for us to look up. And there is also going to be a slip of paper in each day’s bag for each of us to write something we’re thankful for. Oh and of course there’s going to be a piece of candy for each day in the bags, too. But I haven’t gotten that far yet. I think I’ll put one for each of us in there, too. Hey, we should enjoy this, too, right?
We did our first one tonight. Haddie decided she was red, I was purple and Seth was blue. I made the rule that we have to think of something new each day and we can’t copy anyones’s precivious answers. Should get interesting toward the end!
Tonight’s we were thankful for:
Me–Haddie (had to start obvious of course!)
And every day we are going to pull out a Christmas book to read. The books have been boxed away the whole year and I’m not letting her into them. I want to make some them exciting and new every year. She got really excited to read the first book tonight:
I think I’m going to try to pose her with each book every night, too.
Here’s some awesome ideas and printable activity pages for Christmas activities:
Names of Jesus ornaments
This is the one I used this year.
Names of Jesus unit study This site has a lot of neat ideas to do on each day. I may use something like this when Haddie gets older.
More Christmas Printable Pages This site has a lot of free printable pages. I printed out the snow man, stockings, and Christmas tree pages and let Haddie practice her cutting skills on them. She colored them, decorated with stickers and glued them to construction paper. It kept her busy while I tried to get the whole Advent stuff printed out and ready. I’ll be using this site again, I’m sure!