A couple of years ago, actually it was the last Tuesday in November, I decided I wanted to make an Advent Calendar. I remember exactly when it was because I had just finished watching an episode of "Packed to the Rafters" where they talked and laughed about their family's Advent Calendar and the memories around it (and the arguments they had over who's turn it was to open a box!). It was so adorable and such a lovely Christmas tradition that I set about making one straight away. To be honest, and this is probably ridiculously unbelievable to most of you, I didn't even know what an Advent Calendar was before watching that episode. We didn't have one growing up and neither did any of my friends so not only did I enjoy some TV that night, I actually learnt something too. And, the best thing is, three Christmas's later, it's still in use, still looks perfectly fine and my son can't wait for it to go up (he'll get a nice surprise when he gets home from school today!).
I wasn't actually sure where to start so I did a bit of a search and used this one as my inspiration. I loved everything about the matchboxes - the look, the texture, their compactness and because I was in a wee bit of a hurry with only days to go before December 1st, I knew I could source them easily at my local Spotlight. I did, however, want the calendar to be portable so I bought a cheap frame, spray-painted it white, removed the glass and covered the backing board with some hessian (burlap) for a bit of added interest and texture.
|This year's goodies|
I then made a start on those gorgeous little boxes. I bought a whole range of bits & pieces from Spotlight - mini Christmas decorations, buttons, string, rub-on numbers, ribbons and felt balls and over two nights in front of the TV, I decorated away, getting 24 completed on November 30th! Each little box is filled with either a treat (chocolate), a note ("Xmas Movie Night", "Do some Christmas Craft", "Go and see the Xmas Lights" etc), a decoration (for my kids to place on the tree) or a little toy (this year I've chosen "Crazy Bones" to add to my son's collection). For the notes, I used the free printables at A Little Delightful and to keep track of the activities I have promised within the calendar, because in the craziness of the December month I would absolutely totally forget, I also use A Little Delightful's Christmas Calendar printable (thanks Bianca - you make it so easy for us!) to jot down what's happening on what day. I also add in other commitments and social events otherwise my brain gets a bit overwhelmed and has a tendency to go into hiding, plus this way we're all clear on what's going on in the household.
So, I've gone from not knowing what the heck an Advent Calendar was to it becoming a new family tradition which is now in its third year. Thank you, "Packed to the Rafters" and Channel 7 - you educated me, inspired me and introduced my family to a whole lot of Christmas loveliness!
Take care and enjoy this very special, family time.
PS: Hot tip: if I was to make this particular style of calendar again, I would leave bigger gaps between the boxes which would make it easier to insert the goodies.