Do you remember having those cardboard advent calendars when we were kids? The kind where you had to punch open the little door with the date on it and there was a stale piece of chocolate that you got to eat. The cardboard usually had some depiction of Jesus on it…chocolate and Jesus. I never really knew what that was about, other than I got chocolate every day leading up to Christmas and probably didn’t need it. I set out this year to find a “countdown” for my daughter to do that was more about spending time together and being creative together, not about eating pounds of extra sugar or getting little trinkets – we defiantely DON’T need any more of those!
Here’s what I did…
First, I found a large rectangle of pretty red fabric and bought small 1/8 yard pieces of several different christmas fabrics.
I pinked the edges of 24 little rectangles. I really just eyeballed the size since I was going for more of a “homemade” look.
Then, I measured pieces of scrapbook cardstock that would fit inside each rectangle.
So, I ended up with 24 pinked fabric rectangles and 24 cardstock rectangles.
The I dressed up the cards with some patterned christmas paper.
I hemmed all the way around the big red background fabric and made a wider seam at the top that I put a small dowel through.
Next, layout the 24 fabric rectangles and arrange them however you’d like. Then, pin them into place.
Now, I’d love to tell you that sewing on the rectangles to make pockets was fast and easy, but I would be lying. I stitched each rectangle on 3 sides with a tight zigzag stitch. It took a VERY long time, and there was cursing, but I only needed to get through this once and we could use it year after year. So, take a deep breath, it will be worth it!
After the pockets were all finally sewed on I experimented on some fabric scraps and found that the numbers looked the best when I used black puff paint. So, I freehanded the numbers 1-24 on the pockets.
Then, I embellished. Each pocket got a little something. Madelyn helped me glue and sew buttons, rhinestones, and bows onto each pocket. Then I sewed a vintage-looking ribbon across the top and some cream-colored trim along the bottom and got this…
Madelyn is so excited for Demember 1st!
Here is what each card says –
1-Make paper snowflakes
2-Write a letter to Santa
3-Kiss under the mistletoe
4-Make an ornament and hang it on the tree
5-Make a popcorn garland
6-Have pancakes for dinner
7-Have a Christmas music dance party in the living room
8-Watch a Christmas movie – don’t forget the popcorn!
10-Throw a Christmas party for your stuffed animals
11-Make your own wrapping paper
12-Bundle up and play outside
13-Read Polar Express
14-Give a gift to someone you don’t know
15-Take a picture with Santa
16-Ride the lightrail downtown
17-Read the Night Before Christmas
18-Call a relative and sing them a christmas carol
19-Call a relative and read them a book
20-Bring treats to your teacher
21-Bake christmas cookies
22-Have dinner by candlelight
23-Go on a drive to see christmas lights
24-Open your “Christmas Eve Present” – new pjs, a new movie and a new christmas book
I came up with some ideas on my own and borrowed some from a bunch of different websites and suggestions from friends. The great thing is – you can come up with what ever works for you! And you can change the cards each year to fit your child’s interests and your family’s schedule.
What other traditions and ideas do you have?