2015 Advent Calendar

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Sometimes I think to myself, “Good God, woman. Don’t you have other, more pressing andย practicalย things to do??” And the answer is yes, I do. However, I’ve never claimed to be practical and when my child is waiting with bated breath for this now annual tradition, I rise up and deliver.

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Admittedly, I did scale back quite a bit from my original “vision”. I wanted to add garlands and branches and berries — basically, a massive wonderland-on-a-wall. It started with curiosity: what would happen if I painted Swedish tracing paper? After all, I have a ton of the stuff, and it had just the right texture, pliability and sheerness I was after.

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I was very, very pleased with the painting experiment. Then I dug around my basement and found some white paper-wrapped floral wire and had just enough to produce 24 stems. 25 would have been nice, but the last day is all about the presents under the tree time spent with family and not about the Advent Calendar, so I proceeded with the 24 stems. I cut out dozens and dozens of Swedish tracing paper petals, gave my glue gun an excellent workout, and I sighed at how the pretty these looked:

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Notice the bit in the center? I inexplicably started creating loops at the top of the stems with a vague idea of using the loop to hang each flower. A flash of inspiration prompted me to make them holders of little rolled slips of paper. More on the paper later.

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I simply wrote the date number on a leaf for each flower, and using glittery washi tape, stuck them on the wall. I like the way the look upside down, though K suggested that I turn them right side up.ย What do you think?

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So the slips of paper, as per usual, have instructions. On odd days, she must hunt down a book, using clues from the paper. On even days, she gets a small “treat” (aka sugar) and a directive for some sort of family or giving activity. Things like, “craft day with Mama,” or “donate old toys”. 12 books and 12 activities and a little bit of sweets — I think it’s a good combo.

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Yesterday, she got a book (I met the most voracious pre-teen reader at the author event last weekend and he gave me so many stellar recommendations. The number of books he’s read was mind-blowing). She’s already deeply lost in it and Christmas 2015 is off to a running start.

Although I question my sanity a bit every year as I giddily assemble a new calendar, I can’t deny that it’s one of the most rewarding projects for me.

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I have a feeling this holiday season’s going to be extra special.

 

18 thoughts on “2015 Advent Calendar

  1. What a fantastic tradition you’ve started. I wish I had done things like that but all the tradition I’ve managed through the years is baking Christmas cookies. I admire others’ craftiness from afar. Did your mom do things like an advent calendar when you were young or is this something you’ve started?

    1. My mom bought advent calendars for us (the cardboard kinds with the chocolate) and I loved them, but I started my own tradition of making these annual calendars — then again, it was sort of like having an advent calendar all year-round with my crafty mom. ๐Ÿ™‚ Christmas cookies are wonderful – I love homemade baked goods!! Thank you, Melissa!

    1. Thanks Greta! I included family activities on several of the days, so we have going to buy a tree and decorating together, having a movie night with the works, etc. planned!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha, thanks Michelle! The Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to K every year, so it’s actually awesome to have it all done and out of the way on December 1st :-).

    1. K’s been putting each flower into a vase after she takes it down from the wall, so it’s already serving as decoration, Eva! ๐Ÿ™‚ The creation of the Advent Calendar is my gift to K, but the books and other gifts are purchased with funds contributed by the grandparents — she’s a lucky, lucky girl!

  2. Your advent calendars are amazing, and such an inspiration. I made my own this year for my monkey tribe – much much less creative than yours – but still full of thought and fun. Totally inspired by your mix of new/sweet with giving/family, so thanks as always for being so amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Oh, thank you Nicola! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve made your own too — isn’t it so much fun and rewarding to see the kids light up?

  3. Beautiful and awesome! I’m so sorry to be missing out on your posts lately. I don’t like to say it, but I’ve been too busy. Argh…hate that word. I love that you’re interspersing the little gifts with activities that benefit others (donating toys, etc.) Seems like a win-win situation.

    My daughter has read that entire series of books and loves them.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  4. You’re amazing. Ingenious idea with such a floaty, ethereal overall effect. Love your of mixing up the books with an activity/treat. And can you just imagine what amazing memories K will take with her into her adult years regarding the advent creations her mom dreamed up for her?!

    1. I hope K remembers these calendars! We started decorating our tree last night and found the very first Advent Calendar that I made her when she was 2. I’d used a tutorial I found on the Martha Stewart site and it’s made of matchboxes. The calendar is all ratty now and I made it all wrong but it brought back some wonderful memories! Thank you, Lucinda ๐Ÿ™‚

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