This year marks the 3rd Christmas that I have made Advent Calendars for the children. What could be more fun than waking up every morning and opening a little trinket as a way to count down to the big day?
I’ve learned a lot since that first Advent Calendar, and over the years I have modified not only the calendars, but what I put in them.
The first one I made for the children was made from matchboxes.
I purchased from an Etsy seller, printable Advent labels to glue around the matchboxes. To date, this is my favorite calendar! I loved the graphics and the darling little boxes, but it was very tricky to find trinkets small and thin enough to fit in the boxes. Did I say tricky? I meant almost impossible. 3 children + 24 items each + matchbox-sized = a huge headache! Plus the children kept loosing the lids to the boxes, with meant I couldn’t use them again the following year.
Last Christmas I was pregnant with Miss P and was miserably sick! I had almost made up my mind not to do Advent calendars when I was stricken with a bad case of mother-guilt. It’s gotten to the point where the children look forward to their Advent calendars almost as much as Christmas day!
Some how they got done. As simple as this one looks it was a pain to make. It took me an entire day to cut shapes out of paper bags and zig-zag the trinkets inside of them. The packages were constantly falling off the clothes pins, they tore easily, and the string got too saggy. Over all it was a total flop, but the kids didn’t seem to mind in the least bit.
This year I got smart (make that less dumb). I made Advent Baskets! Brilliant right? I found bright green plastic baskets at the dollar store and tied the kiddos name tags onto each one of them.
All of the trinkets were placed in either red or brown lunch bags (again cheap), and a few of them I wrapped with some dotted wrapping paper. I found some cute craft-paper labels in the dollar section at Target, and used them to label each package.
Finding 72 little trinkets is no small feat but between the Dollar Store, candy, and special activities I managed to get enough. The baskets and the paper bags also gave me the freedom to choose items in a variety of sizes. And, unlike the other years, these Advent Baskets only took me a little over an hour to assemble.
I’ve learned to avoid putting certain items in the bags, things like gum, silly putty, fart putty, and play-doh, have all been banned. I can’t tell you how many times I found these items ground into the carpet or stuck to one of my couches.
The 24th is always a pair of fun sock for the children to wear to bed on Christmas Eve.
In addition to candy and little toys I also include a handful of Christmas activities for us to do together. Nothing too complicated, just simple things like watching a Christmas movie and making popcorn or getting hot chocolate at Starbucks.
I have high hopes for these Advent baskets! I think I might have finally found the perfect solution but we will see if they can stand up to 3 excited and curious children.