Every December 1st my sons look forward to opening the first little flap on their chocolate filled Advent Calendar as we count down the days until we celebrate Jesus' birth. This year will be no different. But, I decided that I would also make an Advent Calendar that could be filled with with fun things for us to do as a family, kind ways to help others, and a few small treats, as well.
Of course, getting a new puppy this past weekend threw me off course in the making of the calendar. I only this morning realized that today is the last day of November!
So I'm quickly working to finish it this morning as Faelan dozes.
My super easy method for making the Advent Calendar is something even a child can manage to create. I went to Target and bought 12 pairs of toddler mittens for a dollar a pair. You could also use the winter or Christmas-themed kid's socks they have in the dollar section. You need one sock or mitten for each day of Advent.
Now you will need a way to identify the 24 days of Advent. You could use chipboard numbers, punch out circles from card stock and write the numbers on them, rubber stamp the numbers onto muslin, or use metal.
I am keen to use what I already have so I used brass sheet metal. I really wanted to make small circles for each number but my circle cutter is ready for the garbage pail. I tried to hammer out a circle with it and the thing is all stuck together now. Not the first time this has happened. I didn't want to saw out 24 tiny circles so I just went with rectangles.
First I drew the shapes, then hammered on the numbers, drilled a hole on each one to stitch to the mitten, then cut them out with shears. Pretty fast and simple.
I'm still sewing on the numbers right now. But when I am done with that I will stitch the mittens to a ribbon or piece of twine long enough to hang on the banister of our stairs. I thought about hanging them on the mantle but our stockings with be there so that won't work. You could also hang them up with little clothespins and remove each mitten after that day has passed. If you remove each one as you go, you don't even have to put numbers on them.
Some of the mittens will have a small treat inside like candy or money. But most will have slips of paper featuring activities for us all to do together. For instance, Make popcorn and watch the movie Elf in Mom and Dad's room, or Go Ice Skating, or Buy a new toy to donate to the local toy drive, or Write and mail your letter to Santa, or Read the Christmas Story, or Make Gingerbread, or Sing Christmas Carols, and finally, Put up & Decorate the Tree. Those are a few of the things I'll be including. This way we will have special holiday activities planned throughout the month. They don't have to be big things but they do need to be fun things that we can all do together. While many are things we traditionally do this will be a special way to make the kids feel involved and excited about the traditions.
It's not too late...you really could make one of these today. It's a quick and simple way to guarantee lots of love and togetherness during the holiday season. And, I wanted to say, that you can make one for yourself even if your children are grown. Put in special activities such as decorating your mantle, making candy for friends, getting a new holiday movie, visiting the elderly in a nearby rest home, getting your nails done, or whatever you like to do. Create a balance of traditions and special treats that you can do for others and yourself.