DIY Advent Calendar

It is officially December, and I can decorate and play Christmas music, and drink lots of cocoa… without feeling like I am cheating on Thanksgiving. Let’s face it, holidays are being pushed hard out in the stores, and we are already seeing the next one long before the upcoming one is even here. I do fully enjoy Christmas though. It is my very fav holiday. So in the spirit of Christmas, I decided advent calendars were in order. My husband and mother both had the idea of using the calendar to plan great activities with the kids. Of course, candy has to be involved somewhere in there, and candy there will be!

I got started by searching the web for ideas. I saw lots of really neat ideas. And several were “pinned” for use in future years. As far as this year is concerned, I didn’t want to have to purchase anything. I have plenty of tools available to make a neat advent calendar without purchasing materials for it. So I jumped onto Publisher and searched clip art for Christmas themed pictures.

I did put most of this together pre-December 1st… I just procrastinate like crazy so the kids got to do 3 days in one day.. lol lucky them!

Here are the materials that I used:

paper and printer
hole punch

I came across these neat little trees, and there were a bunch of different colors and designs.

I sized them to what I felt would be big enough, added a number in white to each as well as a rectangle around it so that I would have a line to follow when cutting these out. Here is a pic with scissors so you can get an idea how big they are.

Hannah and I sat down and cut them all Saturday afternoon. I originally was going to make 3 of them, one for each child. But after cutting about 3/4 of them, I decided that it was just too much to do all of them, and there was no reason that the kids couldn’t share one. I received a littl grumbling from Hannah on that since she had already cut a bunch out. lol Preteens and their expectations of not doing more than they need to, gosh!

Once they were all cut out, I punched one hole in the top right corner of each one. I suppose I could have cut a whole in each upper corner, or the left corner, but the right corner just felt right. Then I enlisted the help of my mother in law and Hannah again to write the activities on each tree. We flipped over the peices and wrote a little activity on each one.

Here are a few of the activities that we used. I made some up and also searched the web for any good ideas….

1. Enjoy a treat!
2. Make up your own flavor of ice cream!
3. Take a silly Christmas photo!
4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
5. Make a Christmas milkshake.
6. Read a Christmas book.
7. Look under your pillow for a special treat!
8. Decorate the Christmas tree!
9. Have a Christmas treasure hunt!
10. Make a Christmas collage from magazine clippings.
11. Watch a Christmas movie.
12. Sing Christmas carols.
13. Watch a slideshow of 2011 pictures.
14. Track Santa online with the Norad Santa Tracker
15. Have a Christmas themed breakfast.
16. Make Christmas cookies!

I had several repeats of the “Enjoy a treat!” to make sure they still were able to get in their chocolate fix for the season šŸ™‚ And for the 25th, when they turn it over it says “Look for your surprise!” I intend to put a picture behind this one and have them find one of their gifts by finding all of the clues in a treasure hunt like deal. And it is so great that this is our year to have the kids on Christmas morning, so it should be quite a day since Ashton is really into the spirit already!

With that complete, I put 6 nails in the wall in 3 rows of 2. I spread each set of nails out about 3 feet or so and spaced out each row 2 feet or so. I used a level to make sure that I was putting them up level. I used tiny little black nails that were in a nail kit I was given a few years ago. I have no clue what they are called, but really, any nail will work depending on how you want it to look. I was going to use thumbtacks but didn’t see any at the hosue that I liked. Next, I cut 3 equal lenghths of string. I tied one end of one peice of string on the top nail, threaded some of the trees onto the the string, then tied it on the other side. I just spread them out how I liked and the let the string have enough slack so that they would “hang” a little.

And here you go! Here is our advent calendar for 2011!

Hope everyone else had a wonderful festive weekend full of Christmas cheer! Did anyone else decorate the house? Or put together an advent calendar? Or did anyone use the weekend to get some shopping done before the big day??