Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DIY Advent Calendar

In my family, stockings have always been a huge thing at Christmas. Our stockings get stuffed full of candy, shaving cream and razors, foam soap, a gift card or two, and tons of really (really!) random dollar store items. I have a bag of those really (really!) random items in our closet, and every once in a while I'll pull out something for Elijah to play with - plastic spiders, balloon powered cars, ridiculous children's books with finger puppets - and he loves them all!

Eventually, we will come up with our own stocking tradition for Elijah, but for now, I'm going to keep letting my mom do it. However, I wanted to do something special for him this year, so I decided that since Advent Calendars weren't a big tradition for us growing up, that would be a good place to start without stepping on anyone's toes.

Elijah is currently obsessed with numbers, so I knew he would love having to find the right number each day. I wanted something that could be reused year after year, so those nasty chocolate calendars were out (my apologies if you love them). Also, I wanted something homemade, so I knew I had to get to work.

I stopped by Artco, a little independent craft store in town, and picked up a wooden set that included a tray and 24 little round boxes. I also picked up 4 pieces of double-sided Christmas themed scrap paper, and 1 piece that had numbers on it (stickers would work as well). I went home and after much cutting and painting and Mod Podge-ing, here is what I ended up with...

Want to make your own? Here's how:

  • 24 wooden containers - round, square...your choice
  • 1 wooded tray that fits all 24 containers
  • Paint - I used 4 colors (red, light green, dark green and white) of leftover paint I had at home
  • Scrapbook paper - I used 4 double-sided sheets
  • Scrapbook paper with numbers, or number stickers
  • Mod Podge
  1. Paint the tray - I used the dark green.
  2. Paint the containers - I  did 6 of each color, and did two coats of paint on each one.
  3.  Cut out shapes to fit on top of the containers. You want them to be slightly smaller than the lid so that there will be a border of the paint color.
  4. Glue (or stick) the numbers onto the shapes.
  5. Mod Podge the papers onto the lids of the containers - put a thin layer of Mod Podge on the lid, lay the paper down, press the edges to make sure they stick, and paint another layer of Mod Podge over the top. Let dry.
  6. Put the lids on the containers, and put the containers in the tray (mixing up the numbers, or not).
Each day, I put one piece of candy in the right box and let Elijah find it. He is loving it, and I am loving the fact that he can go through all the boxes each day and still only get one piece of candy. There's no worrying about him getting ahold of the calendar, opening all the little flaps, and eating all the chocolate in one sitting -  which, trust me, he would totally do given the opportunity. I love that I control what gets put into the boxes. In the future, I may put little toys, or Advent activities, or Bible verses in the boxes, but for now, a little Hershey's kiss a day is perfect (and easy!).


Up next on my holiday craft list - a wooden block nativity set for Elijah to play with. Check back next week to see what I've come up with. I might even remember to take pictures as I go this time :)

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