Two Christmases ago I made an Advent Calendar (is that supposed to be capitalized? I don’t think it is.) for J. I made one out of mason jar lids shaped into a tree, similar to this one. I hated it. And that goes to show just how much I really disliked it, since J reminds me every time I say the word hate, “You’re not supposed to use that word.”. I told her there are certain times when it is okay to use it, but you have to really mean it. And in that case I do. The lids fell out allllll the time.
But anyway, I went to hang it up this year when we got out the rest of our decorations but it was nowhere to be found. I asked Hubby about it and he reminded me that I threw it away last Christmas. Good for me…if I hadn’t have bit the bullet and just thrown it away then I would just continue to use it every year for convenience purposes. So although I was a little peeved at myself for doing it, overall I was thrilled it was actually gone.
But that meant I needed a new calendar. I searched and searched and searched and just couldn’t find anything that I liked. I was seeing those felt Christmas trees all over the place that people recommend for toddlers so they don’t tear apart your real tree (ha, $20 says that never ever ever works. How is that the same to a 2 year old?!) and I wondered if I could somehow combine the two. I decided to give it a shot
I have a ton of felt from a fabric store closing awhile back so I cut a tree out of dark green and a trunk from dark brown. I hot glued the trunk to the bottom of the tree and hung it on the wall using push pins.Not only do I have yards and yards of felt but I also have a bunch of bags of felt scraps, along with a ton of sheets of felt. So I got to work cutting out circle “ornaments”–one from each color. On one side I used a permanent marker to write the day’s Christmas activity. Then, because my activities change each year I had to figure out a way to make the numbers different. I didn’t want to have to cut out new felt ornaments every single year…I’m lazy! So I decided to hot glue a piece of velcro on the other side of the ornament. I could cut numbers out of felt, put velcro on the other side and BAM, easily change the number corresponding with each activity every year.
Except that after I wrote out all of the activities and glued on all of the velcro I decided I did not like that idea. The velcro was getting stuck on the felt and tearing it apart. Plus making numbers was going to be a pain in the butt. I was going to have to use my Silhouette to cut them all out and then glue them on to square pieces of felt that had velcro on the back. And you couldn’t read any of my activities–the Sharpies bled right into the felt. Plus my handwriting is atrocious. So I threw out the 12 ornaments and went back to the drawing board.
And then I had an epiphany: presents! There are presents under the tree! I could make 3 big presents and put four small boxes on each one. (I only do 12 days of activities, not the whole month of December like some people. I don’t see how they have time to do something every day when their kids are in school!!! I had a hard time picking short/easy activities for the one week that J’s still in school during the countdown!). And that way if I decide in the future that I want to expand on the number of days all I need to do is make more big presents. Love it!!!
So I got to work. I picked out three colors of felt from my collection: red, pink and gold. I cut a large square out of each (which were only slightly crooked. Go me!). Then I picked 3 coordinating colors from my felt bags for the pockets: yellow, pink and green. I cut four small boxes of each color (which were slightly more crooked than the presents. Whoops.). I went to my ribbon stash and picked out three matching ribbons: yellow, pink and red. I cut three pieces of each: one to go horizontal, one vertical and one for the bow. I hot glued the first two down, made a bow for the top and then glued that on. Then I sewed all of the boxes on. I could’ve used hot glue but I just don’t think it works as well. Plus those glue strings that get everywhere drive me insane.Man this project was flying it was so easy! My last step was to get out my puffy paint stash and write the numbers on the boxes. Now I meant to order them the other way (so 12 was in the upper left corner and then numbers would decrease) but I messed up on number one and didn’t care enough to do anything about it. Still makes sense this way. I set those aside to dry.
In the meantime J and I got to work on some more decorations for the tree. I cut some garland out of the colors she wanted Which, by the way, it’s only been four days since we’ve made this tree and that crap falls off all the time. It’s driving me insane. I’m hoping now that there are some ornaments on there it’ll stay better. If not it’s going in the garbage (pushed waaaaaaay down so J will never ever see it.).
I cut out some more ornaments and she decorated them with markers, glitter and felt pieces that I glued on for her. I think they turned out cute! I had her pick out 12 to go in the boxes (to hang each day she “opens” a box) and then she hung the rest on the tree.After the puffy paint dried I tucked the scraps of paper with the day’s activity and an ornament in each box. Here are the twelve activities I chose this year:
- Write and mail a letter to Santa
- Open 1 present (that one’s for Christmas Eve)
- See the Nutcracker Ballet
- Make cards for your teachers and bus driver
- Make an ornament for the tree
- Make a Christmas craft
- Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
- Pick 10 toys to donate
- Make and decorate sugar cookies
- Make a gingerbread house
- Visit Santa
Then I used a few more pushpins to hang the finished presents on the wall under the tree, and voila! A new advent calendar that I adore! Fingers crossed I feel the same way about this calendar in 15 days!C has shown zero interest in “decorating” the tree (which I’m not surprised about in the least) but J is enjoying it. Until he finally does spot it and tears it all down and she throws a giant fit. Good times.