When Boo was 2&1/2 we decided to do a homemade advent calendar. I had visions of Pinterest perfect little bags hanging from a bunting style ribbon across the fireplace. In reality I left it till the last minute as life and other such nonsense got in the way of my pre-festive cheer and I ended up making 1 festive bag!! Careful planning of what I was going to put in each bag ended up being an utter waste of time as I realised how much money it was actually going to cost……..planning to buy a £4 gift in each bag seemed okay until I had to hand over cold hard cash on top of all the other Christmas presents. So, I bought a job lot of Happyland Characters and Accessories, all second hand off of a local Facebook site. Do you know what? My daughter was ecstatic. She loved finding the bag hanging on her door handle each morning with a new toy. At Christmas she got the large houses etc so it all tied in nicely. All in all I think this cost me about £8.
Obviously you can pick up a chocolate calendar for far less however, sometimes parents don’t want a months worth of sugar fuelled kids in the mornings!!
If you Pinterest “DIY Advent Calendars” you can find a thousand and one beautifully decorative advent calendars. However, this is not the only model. I would like to show you a few DIY’s that aren’t anywhere near Pinterest perfect, in fact you will look at them and think “wow that’s crap!” but I guarantee if time and money are an issue but you don’t want your kids chowing down on a malteaser breakfast, then your kids wont give a rats arse that you didn’t weave your own festive fabric from the skirt you were wearing when they were conceived – they just want the joy of advent……..in any guise.
There are so many ways to present chocolates or toys bought for the advent calendar – here are my favourites;
If you can do a turn on a sewing machine this is really pretty and festive. You can either make 24 (one for each day) or just the one like I did and hang it on their doors.
You will need;
Fat Quarter Fabric (best to stick with either poly-cotton which is nice and cheap or 100% cotton)
Thread (for your machine)
Ribbon – scraps of ribbon would be perfect for this (mine was taken off an Amazon Christmas present from the previous year)
Create two rectangles or squares of fabric in your desired size. Sew them right sides together around three sides, leaving the top open. Turn your fabric inside out, you can either sew a neater edge, leave a raw edge or use pinking shears to stop the top fraying over time. Place your gift/chocolate inside and tie with a ribbon. Job done! Sit back and feel smug!
Not so good with a sewing machine? Try these simpler ideas.
Wrap gifts in brightly coloured tissue paper and leave one by their bed for each morning; or
Make a pillow box out of a decorated (or not) toilet roll holder and add on some date stickers (as you can see I am absolutely artistically challenged so there is no excuse for anyone lol).
Money too tight to mention? Why not try……..
Writing activities to do with your child and writing them on Christmas tags (you could even make these from last years Christmas cards if you are organised), this doesn’t mean Facebook worthy activities, this can be anything – walk in the leaves, jump in puddles, random acts of kindness etc; or
Book pile, we have all seen this on Pinterest right? A stack of 24 beautifully wrapped books. Even if you get all that second hand that’s still going to cost you £24 (at least in my charity shop it would). Instead why not take a stack of books and DVDs (especially any with a Christmas theme) that your kids already own, wrap them up and have a sort of pot luck each day. Alternate books and movies and you have an awesome December right there!
Pounds and Pennies do not make Christmas special, the people you share it with and the memories you make together are what make Christmas truly festive.