I devoted way too many hours this season to finding the perfect advent calendar… and, as it turns out, it doesn’t exist. But I was a mom obsessed and I couldn’t let it go. My main reason? I need accountability when it comes to holiday activities. I want to do them, I mean to do them, but …excuses! I have a lot of them and they get in the way. But, if my darling children, full of anticipation, open a cute little box in the morning that says that we are going to do a holiday craft after I get home from work… then we’ll do it, no matter what.
First task comes early… steal enough Halloween candy from the kids’ stash to fill your Advent Calendar boxes. You have to do this the day after Halloween so they won’t miss 50 pieces of candy gone. (Mine had no idea.) I took 2 like pieces of 25 different candies and I didn’t have to buy any candy at all. Sweet!
Then, for an entire month, I looked for an advent calendar… and by Thanksgiving I was pretty much willing to pay any price. My biggest issues were 1) most advent calendars have teeny-tiny compartments that allow for you to put what exactly in them? one hershey kiss?? and 2) peeking is too easy! Oh sure, honor system, no peeking… right. Not gonna happen, not with my kids anyway.
So, while everyone else was scoring big screen tvs on Black Friday I was hitting the craft stores for 70% off sales with 50% off coupons stuffed in my purse. I found 3-packs of Christmas-themed jewelry boxes for $1.99, gift card holders for 50 cents, Christmas ribbon marked 70% off, vinyl number stickers marked half-off and I scored a big glass container for less than ten bucks with a 50% off coupon. I already had the cardstock, so I was set.
It did take a long time to plan out my activities and coordinate with my calendar, but I fit it all the fun things that I always intend to do every year and all of our usual traditions that I definitely don’t want to forget. I printed each one on a small piece of cardstock…
Then I slipped one activity and two pieces of candy into each box and tied it tight with a ribbon. No peeking or I will totally know. Each box got a number on the outside so we know which one goes with which day. Then I just put them carefully into my glass container for a beautiful Advent Calendar…
In fact, my vase wasn’t large enough so I put the overflow into my cake stand.
One tip: Add all of your activities into your personal calendar so you know which ones are coming up in the next few days. (As long as your calendar is private and your kids don’t see it.)
I let the kids open one box every morning, taking turns each day. That way they have all day to look forward to the activity we have planned and they save their candy for a little treat later in the day. After they have opened each box I put the ribbon inside the box and into a bag in the pantry so I can save them to reuse next year.