Can you call something a tradition if you have done it once? But then again, everything has to begin somewhere. I have started a tradition in our home last year, by making our own advent calendar.
I was not entirely sure I would make one this year. Due to the joys of a long lasting intense nausea of an early pregnancy, followed closely by very low energy and some work related duties (not to mention those of trying to keep our household at least in a more or less usable shape), I was putting any thoughts of it off. Yes, if you’ve been wondering- or not- that is indeed, why it has been so silent around here since summer. I am getting back to life, though. Finally. Slowly.
Only after talking to a dear friend, who asked if I was going to make an advent calendar this year too, by which time it was end of November, I realized I had only a few days left to make something. And that I would be sorry if I would not do something and leave this “tradition”. That’s a thanks to you, my dear, for that kick in the butt!
Suddenly in those coming 3 days, I got surprisingly many ideas how to make the calendar, each one totally different. Probably too many ideas. That only meant in the end that I couldn’t decide what to make. So again, I put it off. Until I decided last minute (oh, those last minute projects!) to just go with what I have at home and stay low-key.
So I re-used those brown paper bags from last year, which I decorated simply with strips of Christmas wrapping paper.
Liv is not yet 3 years old and she does not know numbers yet. Ok, she knows a few and she’s quite interested in what is what. But numbers don’t have quite such a big meaning yet as they do for us (beyond 3 or 4, it just gets a lot). So I didn’t want to just paint numbers on the bags, but incorporate also a visual that I think would be more interesting for her. (Actually, it’s still in a similar sense as to why I added the animals last year.)
That’s why I printed some nice pictures with numbers I found on Pinterest on hard paper and added those to the bags.
After opening a bag we tear off the card with the number and put it back up. The pictures make a nice decoration and it also helps Liv to see how many days have gone by since we started and how many days (packages) left to Christmas.
It’s all very simple, relatively fast done… and it looks nice, even though they’re just hanging there on a string.
I even already came up with the idea that we will leave the strings hanging there after Christmas (just take down the packages and numbers, of course) and hang there Liv’s paintings and creations. I wanted a place for that anyway for long, just never got to do it. And also I always tend to think of more complicated ideas how to do something, overlooking just the plain simple things that are actually around you which can do the job just as well. So I’m already looking forward to that!
Of course, Liv asks to open more than one package a day at once, but so far she’s done well and accepted if I say we open the next one tomorrow… we do have to talk about it sometimes 10x a day, but she has not opened more at a day yet. Sweet girl.
I do admit though that it helps that she got another advent calendar from her grandmother, which has tiny books for each day. This way she can open one bag and take out one book each day, which is quite a help in negotiating with Liv.
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve put in those bags… I will tell you. Funny that there’s tons of inspirational pictures of advent calendars, but (almost) nobody wants to share what they put in there. I guess it becomes kind of a bit personal. Of course, you can put in there anything you like. I will share though what I’ve put in there, just in case it might help someone to get a kick as to what the content might be.
I basically had most of the things gathered after a visit to a stationery shop and to a sweet danish shop called Flying Tiger, which by the way the same friend I mentioned before recommended to me. I didn’t know it before, but I have to say it became probably my new favourite shop soon after entering it. They have a lot of cute stuff, lots of DIY aids, a sweet -scandinavian- style, low prizes… No, I am -unfortunately- not getting anything for praising and recommending them.
So, here’s my list:
- a castanet (percussion instrument)
- chocolate egg
- stamps (with stamp pillow)
- a new toothbrush (she needed that anyway)
- striped socks
- band-aids (what kid doesn’t love band-aids?)
- fun stacking pencils (number 8, if you’re wondering)
- DIY play figures to colour
- wooden stamps for painting on fabrics
- a lollipop
- a candle in the shape of an owl (actually I cheated there and took out a leftover candle we used last year as our advent wreath)
- blowing markers
- sticky bookmarks
- washi tapes
- stickers which you can paint on
- more stamps
- a little red suitcase with white dots… what else is there to say except it was too cute not to take it…
- a hair clip in the shape of a butterfly
- and more stamps
- Progresso colouring pencils
- still to add: something I will sew. Probably clothes for dolls or an Indian headdress.
Ok, I know there are a lot of stamps in there. That was of course no intention. I first bought the wooden ones to work with fabric. Then I bought a package of 9 stamps which were cute and I divided them into 3 days… since they were each 3 red, 3 green and 3 blue ones. I also might have divided them into 9 days and covered more with one bought thing. But I thought that would make it too many days seem the same. And then I bought the stamps with the ink pillow, which were just too cute not to take. As I think of it, I might have done a stamp advent calendar, where each day there would be just one stamp. Hah. Maybe next time. Year.
I have to admit, I spent a bit more than I initially wanted for the advent calendar. I got a bit carried away in the stationery shop and the flying tiger. You could easily take the things I got and divide them even more into more days. I also had the intentions of adding more stuff I would yet do for Liv myself. But since I got more things than I meant to, I don’t have to make them anymore, or I will just save them and give them to her for Christmas.
BTW, Liv’s reaction on December 1st, when she found the hanging bags was simply cute. “Does anyone have a birthday?” she yelled excited. :-)
Oh, and I also made a kind of reverse advent calendar for myself. I took out an empty box and I will put inside something each day and donate it somewhere at the end. I still have to figure out where, but that’s the least concern, really. It’s been bugging me that we have a lot of unused stuff around at home anyway, so this way it will at least help get rid of some of it.
Have you done a DIY advent calendar? I would love to see your versions!
Have a beautiful December!