DIY Advent Calendar

I wanted to make counting down the days until Christmas special for my four-year-old son this year. I also wanted him to be involved in the crafting process somehow. There were lots of great ideas on Pinterest, and this is how we made our version of an advent calendar. This was assembled primarily with supplies I already had on hand.

1. THE CONCEPT: I knew I wanted to make numbered tags, and preferably hang them from a tree branch or cuttings from the yard, collected in a pot. I also wanted to do a mix of candies and activities on the back of each tag.

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2. THE CRAFTING: I used small white shipping tags, number stamps and a teal-colored chalk ink stamp pad for the numbers. Thomas did all the stamping, and it turned out to be a great counting activity for him. I cut slightly larger cards out of red, white and light turquoise card stock, rounded the corners, punched holes at the top and threaded twine to make the hang tags. On the back of each one, I taped either a Christmas chocolate or a fun Christmas activity like, “Write a letter to Santa”.

3. THE ASSEMBLY: I tried using cut laurel and small fir branches in a cache pot, but it looked awkward. Then a big wind storm came, and delivered the perfect sized Alder branch on my front lawn.  It has a sort of Dr. Seuss appeal, and I stuffed it into the cache pot with newspaper to steady it, and a bunch of Douglas fir cuttings. I hung the tags in a random order, so the tree won’t look naked as we pull off the tags.

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We love the way it turned out.  My goal was to make something we could use again every year, and while we will ditch the branches, at least we can recycle the tags. Next year, I’ll add a string of tiny white lights to the branch, to make it even more festive!

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