Holiday Extravaganza: 15 Creative Advent Calendars

For some, the holiday season means shopping, eating, baking, wrapping and eating some more. But for me, I enjoy taking time out to make a few memorable crafts with my family and friends. High on my priority list before Dec 1st hits? Advent calendars.

Just for fun (and to inspire my own craft-making!), I’ve rounded up my favorite advent calendars online — all 15 of them! Some are for sale, but most are handmade, homespun and completely inspired. Ready for the round-up?:

  1. With little more than vintage flash cards, paperclips and ribbon, Country Living created a sweet advent garland perfect for children and adults alike.
  2. Christmas craft king Sweet Paul’s advent calendar was created from matchboxes and paper scraps. Genius!
  3. Have a few mini metal tins hanging around? Check out Twig & Thistle’s magnetic holiday advent calendar.
  4. A buyable ($100) wooden advent calendar perfect for gift-giving from Not on the High Street.
  5. With a few craft sticks and origami boxes, channel CraftyNest’s clever take on an advent tree.
  6. Christmas advent cones? Easy peasy.
  7. Garnet Hill’s bringing it this year with two great advent designs: Buckets of Joy advent banner ($24) and Lollipop Tree advent calendar ($68).
  8. Advent pouches? Brilliant!
  9. Create your advent calendar with nothing more than office supplies with Nice Package’s mini envelope advent tree. So simple!
  10. For the typography-lover in your life, Ali Edwards’ font-inspired advent boxes are a sure hit.
  11. The prettiest pegboard I’ve ever seen becomes instant holiday decor with this advent calendar tutorial.
  12. A downloadable advent calendar for the lazy crafter? Yes, please!
  13. From Pottery Barn hails a bucket and branch advent calendar ($300). Pricey, but beautiful.
  14. A-ha! Another downloadable advent calendar. Bonus!
  15. Yuletide excitement in one fell swoop with Uusi’s illustrated advent calendar ($65).

Whew! You’ve got some work to do, friends. If you tackle any of the above holiday crafts, tell us in the comment section! We’d simply love to see your skills!

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25 Days of Giving

When I was growing up, I never had an Advent Calendar.  We had a beautiful Advent Wreath that my parents had made at our church one year that we took out each Advent and placed on our dining room table – but I had never heard of an Advent Calendar until sometime in high school when a friend was talking about how even though she was a teenager, she still liked opening the little doors on her Advent Calendar and getting a piece of Chocolate each day of December until Christmas.

Say WHA?  My teenage mind was blown away…I wanted to know immediately where I could get my hands on this chocolate producing masterpiece, but my mom said no.

So now that I am an adult (or at least old enough that I should be acting like one) it never occurred to me to ever start the Advent Calendar tradition for my own family because it wasn't a tradition I had as a kid.

But then, a friend of mine introduced me to the 25 Days of Giving idea she was planning on for her kids.  Basically, in an effort to prepare her children for the upcoming holidays in a way that doesn't glorify the pile of presents under the tree (or a daily piece of candy in a calendar) she plans 25 daily activities to do with her children that center around giving to others.  Daily, they open up a new compartment on the Advent Calendar and discover what their good deed of the day is.  I found this project so inspiring I immediately started the search for an Advent Calendar that could become our family's for years to come.

Turns out, there are LOTS of great options out there:

Pottery Barn

(more…)

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