Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas - Advent Calendar

Even though our boys are getting older, they still look forward to opening the little window on the chocolate-filled Advent calendar we've purchased over the last few years.  Who doesn't love counting down the days with a chocolate treat, right?  

I've looked for a special Advent calendar that could be filled with small treats to reuse each year but never found anything that would work for our family.  So this year, I thought I'd make something special to celebrate the 12 days leading up to Christmas.             

I've had two magnetic memo boards that I purchased at IKEA several months ago when I was updating my office.  I originally intended to use them above the built-in desks but they didn't work.  Then I thought I might use them in one of the boys' bedrooms.  Long story short, they never got utilized and have been taking up space.  So one will become the backdrop to our Advent calendar.  But you could use any sturdy base you have on hand as the backdrop (piece of cardboard, foam core, art canvas, etc).  I designed two different ideas - one I'll keep and the other I'll give to a friend or family member (my sis called dibs on the one with the circle boxes).

Supplies you will need:

Option #1 
magnetic memo board or cookie sheet (for backdrop)

12 paper mâché circle-shaped boxes
Christmas wrapping paper
Scrapbook paper (to coordinate with wrapping paper)
Circle punches (2.5" - 2 " - 1.5" - 1")
Scrapbook adhesive or glue gun
Ribbon, jute twine, or paper twine

  • Wrap the backdrop with your choice of wrapping paper or place piece inside cookie sheet.
  • I chose 6 small boxes (~ 1.75" diameter) and 6 medium boxes (~ 2.75" diameter) to create my "tree".  For each box, I punched circles in solid scrapbook paper then added a 1" circle of printed scrapbook paper with number of day.  My 1" circles coordinate with small banner at top and gifts at the bottom.  I tried to attach paper circles to boxes with scrapbook adhesive but it wasn't sticky enough on paper mâché.  I had to go back and hot glue them because the cirles started falling off.  
  • I then hot glued medium duty magnets to bottom of each box.
  • I printed off the Christmas story into 12 circles then glued inside bottom each box so you can place lid on bottom after opened to read a snippet of story each day.  
  • I made small template for banner for top and cut out of Christmas scrapbook paper.  I hot glued paper twine to front of paper pieces and glued to backdrop.  I added scrapbook paper gifts to bottom.
  • I'm ready to add little treats to each box!   

Option #2 
cardboard, foam core, art canvas (for backdrop)

12 small kraft bags with handle 
small clothes pins
Christmas wrapping paper
Scrapbook paper (to coordinate with wrapping paper)
Chalkboard stickers
Chalkboard paint pen
Ribbon, jute twine, or paper twine
  • Wrap the backdrop (I used a 16x20 art canvas) with your choice of wrapping paper.
  • Wrap 2 pieces of coordinating ribbon across front of backdrop and tape on back with heavy duty tape such as Duck tape.
  • Add chalkbook stickers to bags.  Use white stickers or chalkboard paint pen to add numbers 1-12 to bags.
  • Add 6 small clothespins to each piece of ribbon then add bags starting with 1-6 on first ribbon and so on.
  • You could add a portion of the Christmas story or a Bible verse to back of each bag.  Turn to this side after treat is enjoyed.  
  • The bags are ready to be filled with small treats!

What are your Christmas traditions?  If you don't already use an Advent calendar or would like to change things up a bit, this is an easy project to help celebrate the season of Christmas.  Your kids will look forward to each little surprise and you will look forward to sharing God's love with your children.  Who knows...maybe someone will surprise you with a treat as well!  Merry Christmas!   

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