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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Advent Calendar

Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of different people.  I love the traditions around Advent and Christmas and now that the two little ones are getting a little bit older, it is nice to start continuing traditions from the childhoods of myself and my husband, as well as creating new ones.  Two of my favourite traditions are lighting the candles in the Advent wreath in the lead up to Christmas and when I was young, I loved opening up the Advent calendar and eating the chocolate coins hidden within it.  Today, with a little bit of help from my son, I finally completed a very simple homemade advent calendar.

Some of the activities (mostly reading Christmas stories!) for our simple Advent calendar.  I just wrote these on the back of some bits of vintage red and white wallpaper that we had which I had cut into squares.

I had started doing it last year and just didn't manage to finish it in time to use it.  I'm sharing it now, even though it's two weeks out before the start of December in case you wanted to try something similar as it does take a little bit of organisation (gathering up Christmas books for example).  I have been admiring different crafty advent calendar ideas for a couple of years that I have seen in magazines, Facebook and Pinterest and have been itching to have a go myself. For the construction of the advent calendar I used materials I already had at home. I had seen an idea last year about an advent calendar that consisted of Christmas books, where each day the child/children opened a new package which had a Christmas book inside it. I loved the idea but didn't want to buy 24 books!  As part of my decluttering of the books, I did set aside the Christmas books we already had and put them with the Christmas decorations, with the view of creating an advent calendar like that.  I collected a few more from school fairs and bought three new ones to add to the collection.  It's a pretty eclectic mix of traditional, non traditional and religious which I like and I am certain the the two little ones will enjoy.  If you wanted to, you could also do this calendar with books borrowed from the library. For the remaining days, I just wrote down simple Christmas activities.  We are planning opening one of the parcels in the morning of each morning in December leading up to Christmas so we have the day to complete the activity.  Once a new Christmas book is read for the first time, we will keep it in a special basket to be re-read throughout Advent and Christmas and then pack them away again for next year.

Four of the books that we will read as part of the advent calendar.  The two little ones really enjoy Judith Kerr's books and love the Mog books.  I have had my eye on this Alison Jay book since last year- it is beautifully, beautifully illustrated.  Nice to have a touch of kiwiana as part of Christmas with a Slinky Malinki story and also a find from a local school fair.

Last year, all I managed to do was find the Christmas cards and cut out the triangles.  This year, my son enjoyed putting the bits of washi tape on the little Advent packages and lining them up in different arrangements.

Advent Calendar instructions

You will need:

Wallpaper or other paper of your choice
Mini wooden pegs
Washi tape
Old Christmas cards
Craft mat or solid surface for cutting out triangle shapes


1. Cut out 24 small shapes (I cut out small triangles) from the patterned side of the Christmas cards and set to the side.
2. Cut out 24 square shapes from your wallpaper or other paper of choice.
3. Write down 24 activities on each of the rectangle shapes on the non patterned side of the paper.  The activities I wrote down included: reading a Christmas book (we have about 10 so those alternated every other activity), dancing to Christmas music, singing Christmas carols together, making Christmas cookies, choosing, wrapping and donating two Christmas gifts to charity, putting up the Christmas tree, making a card for the Kindergarten teachers, making up Christmas parcels and making various homemade Christmas decorations like paper chains and rosemary garlands inspired by past Christmas editions of magazines.  On the 24th piece of paper is doing the treats for Santa.
4. Once you have written down all of your Christmas activities, fold the piece of paper in half, place the triangle shape on top and attach a piece of washi tape.  
5.  Number your calendar pieces from 1 to 24.
6.  Hang somewhere sensible in your home and enjoy!


  1. Gorgeous! So lovely to have help from one of the kids too :)

    1. Thanks B. :) It's lovely having a little helper!