I have a four-year-old child and a six-year-old child, so yeah, the build-up to Christmas is INSANE. Every day you think that if your children get any more hysterically excited, their heads will explode, and then the next day, you know what? They’re even more hysterically, insanely, ridiculously excited.
The nice thing about an advent calendar is that it chills down the build-up just a little bit. If you choose the old-school every-day-is-a-prize advent calendar, then every day is a countdown and a little reward for making it through one more day of life that is not Christmas. If you choose the newer-fangled something-to-do-together advent calendar, then not only do you get to make those Christmas memories last a little longer, but you can sneak in activities–make Christmas cards together! Decorate cookies! Visit Aunt Fannie Sue’s house!–that are actually, shh!, on the Christmas to-do list already. Yay, multi-tasking!
See, you’re sold on advent calendars now, aren’t you? Well, for goodness sake, now that you’re inspired, pick one of the following excellent crafty tutorials, and make yourself one:
1. A button advent calendar lets you use 25 vintage buttons to decorate a beautiful handmade tree. The buttons make super-cute mini decorations, but unless you happen to have a Styrofoam cone lying around, I’d suggest that you find a greener material for your tree–cereal box cardboard shaped into a cone and stuffed tight with plastic grocery sacks, for instance, or painted corkboard hung on the wall.
2. For very simple advent calendar activities that even very young children can help make, check out the Kids’ Craft Weekly advent calendar issue. These particular calendars also save items such as unwanted envelopes and old pieces of artwork from the recycling bin.
3. This paper doll chain advent calendar is the right style to work with any kind of countdown, actually–birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. To make it more festive along a Christmas theme, consider creating a Christmas tree chain instead, or even an angel chain, if you’re into that sort of thing.
4. Combining the best of nature and recycled crafting, this bucket and branch advent calendar uses fallen branches from your yard, and 24 plastic cups. You can use any kind of plastic cup for this project, from the red party cups that were used at the Thanksgiving lunch that you attended, to those sturdy plastic cups that you get when your pizza’s delivered.
5. If you have smaller cups to recycle, a condiment cup advent calendar involves the super-satisfying activity of getting to smash through a layer of tissue paper to reach the treat hidden inside each day’s cup.
As for my family, this year I think we’re going to continue our tradition of an ornament advent calendar. Every day leading up to Christmas brings a new handmade ornament to put on the tree and a holiday-themed activity chosen from a couple dozen written on tiny pieces of paper and put into a dish. We’ve got everything from popcorn balls to present-making on our list, and I think that it’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone.
How about you? Tell us about your advent calendar craftiness in the Comments section below, or link there to your own advent calendar blog post.