Awesome Advent Calendars

There is just one day left to prepare an advent calendar, if you don’t want to miss any of the days in Decemeber. And from the hits on my blog I know many of you are searching for advent ideas. I have a few great ones for you today!

You may want to check out this post, where I describe in detail how we made this fun Christmas Tree advent calendar. And while I happen to think it’s pretty cute, I think lots of people are coming more for the Scripture based advent inserts that help teach children the true meaning of the holiday as they anticipate it’s arrival. I have them outlined for you to take and use.

My sister, Trina, has come up with some clever advent calendars for her family in recent years. I asked her if she could share them on the blog today, in case you are still looking for the right advent calendar for your family!

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{by Trina, one of my kindred crazy sisters}

Paper Pouch Advent

  

I created this advent calendar the year I was 8 months pregnant with baby #5, and I really wanted to have small, simple things to make each day a little special (since I knew I didn’t have it in me to make the big things happen). I pulled out random Christmas/winter/red/green scrapbook paper and made these twist envelopes. I used the technique described in detail in this post.  I filled each pouch with small toys or candy, or often something representational of what we would do that day (a birthday candle to say we’d eat by candlelight, a snowflake and a note saying we’d be cutting paper snowflakes after school, etc.). A few of the days contained LEGOs and a picture of a Christmas model to build. I was pretty proud of these because most of them I just came up with then photographed, and my boys got to figure out how they went together.

To try and help us keep our focus in the right place, I wrote a Christmas scripture [the ones Kendra posted] on each of the number tags that we’d read in the morning before the envelope was opened.

When everything was made, I simply punched 1/4″ holes in the tags and envelopes, and slid them onto a length of green rafia. There was enough friction that I didn’t even have to tie them on–which made it easier for the children to pull them off each day.

I loved the flexibility that this calendar allowed and overall it was a big hit. But making all the envelopes took quite a bit of time (and I am mother to 4 boys, so my thoughts of re-using the envelopes were quite misguided).

Which led me to design my advent calendar last year.

Progressive Pouch Advent

I wanted a calendar that would build anticipation visually (like the disappearing twist envelopes, or like mini ornaments added to the felt tree on the calendar we had growing up), but I loved the idea of including scriptures, activities or events (or mini LEGO models) as well. So this is what I came up with.

Each day we open a pocket to find a treat or an activity for the day, and reveal more of the “Have a Merry Christmas” phrase.

The pockets and flaps are all made out of sparkly felt. After deciding how big I wanted the calendar((to fit perfectly in its spot on my wall) I did some math and cut long strips to make the pockets. I marked on the base fabric and the felt then sewed between each pocket before sewing along the bottoms, putting in pleats (so the pockets could hold a little something). The flaps were a bit more tedious since they had to be cut out and sewn on individually, and I had to be careful that I didn’t sew down the tops of the pockets as I attached them, but I love the scalloped look of them all together.

The base is two pieces of home-decor-weight fabric with thin batting in-between. I used red bias tape to bind the layers together. I had plans for loops or something to hang it with but in the end just tacked it to my wall with small nails.

I used sticky-backed felt letters for the “Merry Christmas” message, and freehanded the numbers and snowflakes with some puffy fabric paint.

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Thank you, Trina! Aren’t those great ideas for unique advent calendars? I love how the message appears in the felt one. You might be able to come up with a paper version if you aren’t comfortable sewing. Do you have a unique advent calendar? I’d love to see it!

And here’s the big question…Are you ready for December?

 

(Ready or not, here we come!)

 

Comments

  1. I wish I was that talented!

    Happy blogoversary :)

  2. I LOVE this. I’m going to try and make it for this year. I love that the pockets button for my little peekers! Thanks for the perfect inspiration. I know it took a lot of work, but will be durable!

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