I had really extravagant plans for an advent calendar this year. Last year, I used one that was given to us, and it was a little over the kids’ heads and was kind of hard to put together every day. It fell to the wayside a few days into it, I am sorry to say!
This year I had plans to make my own advent calendar using a plan put together by someone my sister-in-law goes to church with. It was very intricate and she obviously put a lot of time and energy into planning it. She had a calendar that included spending one day every week on a craft, one on baking, etc. It was really awesome, but would require a lot of time on my part, also.
I woke up this morning in a panic when I realized that today was the last day of November, and I would have to make an advent calendar TODAY so we can start TOMORROW! I pulled up the plan I was going to follow and saw right away that it just wasn’t going to work. Not only did I not have time to get it all together, I just don’t have the time in my daily schedule it was going to require. I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby to get some finishing touches for our tree, anyway, so I decided to see what they had in the line of advent calendars.
Honestly, I was just looking for a ready-made one with a piece of candy inside each little door…
But I am so much happier with what I ended up with. If you sit down and just do it, it will honestly take less than half an hour to put together, so if you, like me, realized at the last minute that you have waited too long to plan your advent activity for your kids, you can throw this together pretty quickly.
I bought a cardboard advent set at Hobby Lobby. You can use little gift boxes or bags, a cork board marked off like a calendar, a fabric pocket advent calendar, a shoe organizer, or anything else you can get your hands on.
Then I went through my old scrapbook supplies (I had to blow the dust off of that stuff!) and found numbers to put on each drawer (you will need 25 total.) You could print some pretty numbers from the Internet and glue them onto the drawers or whatever you are using, or you could just write them on there.
I definitely wanted to include scripture in our advent calendar, but needed to keep it simple for a 2 and 4 year old to understand. I found a great printable at Happy Home Fairy, one of my favorite blogs. I really liked her advent verses, because they are so short and simple, perfect for Charlie and Maddie.
I printed her verses, cut them out, and glued them to some wintry-looking scrapbook paper. They were so cute and fit perfectly in the drawers. You don’t have to glue them to any other paper, but it made them a little less flimsy so they can be used again next year.
I put each of the cards into its corresponding box, then thought about what could be added to each box. The easy answer: candy!
So, we are really busy tomorrow. We have Sunday School and church, then have to go to Raleigh for Addison’s first birthday party, then have to be back at church for Christmas play practice. For days like that, candy is definitely going in our calendar.
For other days when we have more time, I have some really great ideas. What I love about this calendar is that you can change what you have in the drawers from day-to-day, so if I realize the night before that we can’t do something or we will have the time to do something more involved, I can easily change it up.
Here are some other ideas:
1. Stickers to decorate a glass ornament to give to someone
2. $1 to spend at the Dollar Store on a present for a grandparent
3. $5 to spend at Wal-Mart on a present to put in the Toys for Tots box at the front of the store
4. Change to put in the Salvation Army bucket
5. A few chocolate chips-then make cookies to deliver to people
6. A couple of crackers-then make soup to deliver to people
7. Small ornaments to put on their trees (Charlie and Maddie each have tiny trees in their rooms)
One suggestion from the original advent calendar I was going to attempt was to put in copies (shrunk, of course) of the covers of books we are going to read that day. That would be really fun to do, and you could do the same for movies you are going to watch.
I am looking forward to starting this with the kids tomorrow. Hopefully, if you are a procrastinator sometimes like me, you can take this basic idea and make it your own!