Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Traditions :: DIY Advent Calendar

Our family has several Christmas traditions we practice each year. Some are only for a day, while a couple last through the entire month. It isn’t quite December yet, however, I would like  to share a few of our traditions with all of you this Holiday season.
On December 1st of each year, the boys open the first piece of the Advent calendar. When we started using the calendar, they opened little doors to seek out verses and tiny chocolates; with the tradition evolving more each year. 

This year’s Advent calendar is a hand-made stocking garland. Made from burlap, twine, clothespins and Christmas ribbon, this adorable calendar gets two thumbs up from the Norris boys.
With a little bit of sewing skills, you still have tune to make one before the 1st for your family!


2 1/2 yards of burlap
Hand-made stocking template 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide
Various Christmas colored ribbon and buttons
24 hand-made tags (or stencils and paint)
24 miniature clothespins
Craft glue

Let's Begin!
1.       Cut out 48 stocking shapes from burlap approximately 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide. You can create a template by free-handing a stocking .

2.       Layer two stocking cutouts on top of one another. Stick around the edges. Turn inside out. Viola! You’ve made a stocking, now make 23 more!

3.       Make 24 little bows out of various Christmas ribbon. Our Advent calendar uses red, green, brown, and gold. You can customize yours to fit your Christmas d├ęcor.

4.       Attach ribbons and buttons to each stocking.

5.       Make number tags 1-24. You can make these anyway you like. Be creative! Attach them to the clothespins using craft glue. You can also paint or stencil the numbers onto the clothespins or stockings, if you like. {I’ve seen a variation of this Advent calendar using small canvas drawstring bags instead of the stockings. The numbers had been painted onto the bags.}

6.       Using the smallest 3M command hooks, hang your twine under your mantel and ensure it is secure. You could also use this as a Christmas tree garland in in which case, omit the 3M command hooks.

7.       Decide what to place in each stocking. This always seems to be the hard part. Below are some ideas for your Advent Calendar.

Advent Calendar Ideas:

1. Hot chocolate party
2. Hobbit movie passes

3. LEGO minifigures
4. Hand-made chocolates

5. Make a craft: paint ornaments or make an animal/bird  feeder {This is a fun and easy craft using a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, bird seed, and a piece of yarn. First, punch holes in the toilet paper roll and tie the yarn to allow the feeder to hang. Then, have children spread peanut butter onto the toilet paper roll. Then, sprinkle bird seed onto the peanut butter. Hang feeder from a branch.}
6. A cookie recipe for you and your children to bake together.

7. Schedule a playdate with friends.
8. Have a day where you take your children to purchase toys for the needy.

9. Look through your newspaper for local events to add to specific dates in your Advent calendar; i.e. Christmas parade, see the lights, etc.
10. Create a gingerbread house

11. Make Christmas cards or gifts
12. Create the nativity

13. Bible verses

When it comes to filling the Advent calendar, the sky is the limit! I like to pick things that I can have my children do or make for each other, our family and those needing a little more Christmas cheer. We also add a few of our traditions  to the mix – on the 24th we always take the boys out to purchase stocking stuffers for each other, get hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights.
What are some of your family's traditional inclusions into the Advent Calendar?


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