Monday, December 1, 2008

It's an Advent

Advent calendars are always a fun Christmas tradition, but they can be pricey. I thought I'd share a few inexpensive ideas for making your own count down to Christmas. I know that it's already the first day of December, but these ideas are so easy that you can make your own advent calendar today. Keep in mind that I'm showing you the SIMPLE version. You can make these as fancy as you desire.
This idea has been around for several years, but sometimes the old ideas are really the best. All you need is plastic wrap, twenty four items of your choosing, and plenty of ribbon for tying (I used curling ribbon but you can use the real fancy ribbon too). The items can be as simple and inexpensive as using candy kisses or as elaborate and costly as using full size candy, little toys, or tiny tree ornaments. That's the beauty of this idea, you can customize it to your family.
First pull out a long sheet of plastic wrap.
It's best to leave it on the roll and cut it after you know how much you need. Lay out the items of your choosing in a line down the middle of the wrap, leaving a little space between each item. When all twenty-four items are laid out, cut off the plastic wrap leaving six to eight inches from the final item. Take one side of the wrap and fold it over the items, (similar to wrapping a burrito). Fold the other side over and roll the entire line of items into a long skinny tube. Cut short lengths of ribbon and tie in between each item. If you want to hang the tube of goodies you can attach it to a small wreath or you can do what I did and tie onto an inexpensive bracelet. If you want the bracelet to look like a wreath, simply cut small strips of plastic wrap or ribbon and tie several onto the bracelet until it's full and fluffy.
Each day cut below the ribbon to reveal that day's goodie.

The dollar store is a great place to find items to make advent calendars.
I picked up this sticker book to use
for the numbers on the advent items.
I found these cute little boxes in the wedding section. There are eight to a package which means
you only need three packages.
Fold and fill each little box with a treat.
Attach a number to each box, then set all of the boxes
on a pretty cake plate or in a beautiful bowl.
Now you have an advent calendar that doubles
as a simple, elegant Christmas decoration.

These little metal containers can also be found in
the wedding section of the dollar store.
You can pop out the clear part of the lid and trace
around it on wrapping or scrapbook paper.
Cut out the circle, and pop it back into the lid.
Add the numbers and fill the containers with little treats.
You can add strong magnets to the back of the container, if you want to stick them onto a cookie sheet or the fridge.
Or, simply fill a basket with the metal containers.

Try making an advent calendar filled with activities instead of candy or treats. Some suggestions include:
Go on a nature walk
Write a letter to Santa
Do a good deed for a neighbor
Read a Christmas story together

Give money to a bell ringer

Go for a ride to see Christmas lights
String popcorn or cherrios & hang outside to feed the birds
Watch a Christmas movie in your pj's
Make an ornament

Deliver canned food to a shelter or food bank
Write and mail a letter to someone you love
Put together a puzzle, or make your own
Go caroling
Bake cookies and secretly deliver them to someone
Have a snowball fight (No snow? Use socks rolled into balls)
Play a board game
Go sledding or another outdoor activity
Make a gingerbread house with graham crackers and frosting

Cut out paper snowflakes
Write and illustrate a Christmas story
Visit a relative or friend
Have a melted chocolate dip party---dip fruit, pretzels, candy canes, etc.
Make thank you cards to be sent after Christmas
Read Luke 2 and act out the nativity


Iowa Birdie said...

PLEASE give us one of your cheap gift ideas. I am needing something fun yet inexpensive for some friends from church.

Thanks so much@

AJ said...

Love your ideas! Going to give them a try:)

Tonya said...

I LOVE your ideas! I bought the kids just simple cheap advent calendars with chocolate in them, but now I am thinking I need to do something a little more elaborate!

Christine said...

The simple ideas sometimes end up being the very best, and during the busy Holiday season, I tend to go for simple yet fun! We have enjoyed the candy one over the years and still do to this day.

Darlene said...

Hi Joy,

Those are simple, easy, FUN ideas!! Thank you so much!!!!

Michelle said...

Good ideas...thanks for sharing

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Great idea for an advent calendar! I love it!

Valarie Lea said...

Awesome ideas!! Hey id you get a chance come by my blog and see what I did with the dollar store picture frames. :)

Salmagundi said...

Great ideas and inexpensive, too!! Sally

Patricia said...

I am constantly in AWE of your wonderful ideas
I am adding these to the archive for when I have children!
Thanks for sharing

the undomesticated wife said...

Such cute ideas! I bet the kids love them!

Amber M. said...

I love the idea of doing something together instead of having a candy each night of December before Christmas. Fabulous...thank you!

Shell in your Pocket said...

We do something love love your fun and great!!! I will be doing some of them!
-sandy toes

Jamie said...

Great ideas! You're so creative!

cherry said...

CUTE! I plan on making a count down with old mailing tags. I saw those little containers the other day at the Dollar Tree. Awesome idea! Cherry

Holly said...

We buy our chocolate-filled advent calendars for $.99 from Trader Joe's, but these ideas are so cute! I was at Dollar Tree today and saw those little round boxes in the wedding section. I immediately thought of putting a magnet on the back to hold tacks, safety pins, etc, but it didn't look like there was any cover to the box. Hmm...may have to check those out again.

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

Great ideas. Don't you just love that Dollar store?

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Cute advent ideas. I wish I had some little ones here to share them with. Jacki

AndreaLeigh said...

I love these idea! Who knew all this stuff could be found at the Dollar Store!

Our Complete Family said...

Love your ideas! They are so great and good for this Advent season.
Thanks for sharing!
Happy Monday~ Les

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Too funny...I just posted the same exact idea, but with gingerbread men instead of kisses. I'd like to say, "great minds...", but your mind is definately greater than mine. : )

Thrifty Decor Chick said...

JOY, where were you a month ago with these ideas??? I've been busting my butt on mine and I LOVE these!! They are all just perfect. Could you get easier than the hanging one?

Shannon said...

What clever advent ideas... I will be checking back to see what else you have up your sleeve!
p.s. found you off thefamileejewels!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the Advent Idea.. I'm going to do that for my Neighbor's Kids.. they will love it! So easy and cute... Oh and by the way, my fall stuff is sitting on the kitchen table.. I should probably get it put away, we haven't eaten as a family since Thanksgiving!

Candy Allen - Junk Sophisticate said...

I love each and every one of these ideas! Thanks so much!


Melody said...

What great ideas! I bought a cheap countdown calendar from Target and we are doing the daily activities but I will keep these in mind for next year.

Ashlie said...

I love this idea! My mom just gave us an Advent bag and I'm so excited to open the little treats while we wait for Christmas!

Mirissa said...

Thank you for all the "non-candy" ideas. We have an advent calendar that has little tins for each day. I'm filling 2/3 of them with m&ms and the other 1/3 with your ideas. I know my kids will love the unexpected, fun ideas and I'm going to put them on days when I know we'll have time to do them. said...

Wow, great ideas! I love the candy, I'll be linking.

Mandie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your great ideas for the advent calendar! Actually, I should say, my children thank you!

Jen said...

Thank you so much for the candy advent idea. We made them as a family craft project Tuesday night and they were a BIG hit.

I am trying to use what I have so instead of the ring I used a craft clip with a hole for hanging them. We also used scrapbooking paper and made name tags for each of them. Each member of the family made their own tag and I loved it.

Thanks again!!

Melissa said...

Loved the advents - thanks for posting them!

Anonymous said...

I always love your ideas. Thanks so much for taking the time to share! As a fellow blogger, I know how much time it takes.

Alissa said...

Hi! I have been a "lurker" for several months now and I'm just getting caught up on my blogging. :) I teach pre-k and I made a "Kissmas Tree" with one of those styrofoam cones, hershey kisses, and double sided tape. It was super easy and the kids love it! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas/talent! :)

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