Thursday, December 11, 2014

DIY Christmas Advent Activity Calendar

It's that time!!!




Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the Christmas season!  While the absolute most important thing to remember is our precious gift of our Savior Jesus, I truly love everything else that comes with it (aside from all the materialistic mumbo jumbo).

One thing I'm obsessed with is Christmas husband can attest to the fact that ever since we've been married, I've spent hours decorating our house for Christmas during the week of Thanksgiving.

Another thing he can attest to...I'm not awesome at decorating.  

There are SO many things that I love, but I'm never able to combine all my decorations into a cohesive theme...except...all sorts of Christmas...stuff!

Well this year I was DETERMINED to do better!  And I think I also took me alot longer to put it all together ;)

I won't even consider showing pictures of different parts of our house...because when I say it's "better,"  I mean it's "better" than it WAS.  Nothing close to other mommy blogs!  haha

A few new things I made this year I'm really excited about and I'd like to share how you can make them yourselves!

Today, I'll share our Advent Calendar.

We've made one every year, and put it together in different ways, but this year I finally made one that can be reused next year!

I got my inspiration and basic instructions from this blog.

We love our advent calendars because it's a really cool way for the family to do a bunch of fun stuff together!  Some activities are simple, some are special and a big surprise!  Others are about giving to others and we always have opportunity to share what Christmas is REALLY about!

If you'd like to make a calendar like this, here's what you'll need:

  • Foam Poster Board
  • 6" scrapbook paper in desired pattern (any size will work, but this size is easiest to fold into the 4" pockets!)
  • Tags or labels for countdown numbers on each slot! 
  • Letters for "Days Until Christmas" at the top
  • Activity "tags" tied with ribbon
  • Staples or thumbtacks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue stick
I apologize for not taking pictures of each step!  It's actually pretty simple though :)

Here it goes.

Step 1. Fold 24 pieces of 6" paper into 4" pockets.  This is done by folding in three sides, gluing them, and leaving the top open.
**You don't have to worry about the pockets being usable.  When you attach the "pockets" to the board, you'll just slide your tags in against the board.  You can glue down those three sides completely to keep it flat.
  • You can also cut regular size scrapbook paper into 4 squares, and proceed with the folding from there.

Step 2.  Attach appropriate numbers to outside of pockets with a glue stick.  I used these labels, and you can fill in the numbers before printing!

Step 3.  Prepare your desired title and letters.  This could EASILY be done with vinyl if you have a cricut machine, I used some cool glitter letters that I've had FOREVER and never used.  I happened to have some cute matching decorative pieces to add as well.  I attached the letters with a glue gun.

Step 4.  Align your pockets on your board, making sure you have enough room for them all!  I like starting at the bottom of the board with #24 and working our way up.  I suggest setting them up tentatively before attaching them.

Step 5.  Attach your pockets.  I used a stapler, the tutorial I saw suggested thumbtacks.  I didn't have any, so a stapler it was!  It actually looks really subtle.

Step 6. Add any embellishments that you'd like!  I had some stickers and used some fun glitter embellishments.

Step 7. Make your activity list!  I make my list of ideas, then get my regular calendar out and schedule each activity.  Keep your list so you can reference it before the kids take their tag out each day!

Step 8. Write out or print activities on tags.  I actually typed them on small labels, then glued them to my tags that I cut out with a tag shaped cutter.  You can easily just write them out as well!

Step 9. Punch a hole in each tag and tie a ribbon, yarn, or twine through each one and put in appropriate pocket!

You'll be left with your own version of this!

Enjoy your calendar that can be used year after year with new activities each year!

If you need ideas for activities, here's what we have planned for this year:
  • Go see Christmas lights
  • Make a Christmas countdown chain
  • Pick some toys to donate
  • Take change to Salvation Army bell ringers
  • Go to the MALL!
  • Surprise movie night - watch Santa Clause 3 (for surprise movie night, we don't tell them it's movie night until they're IN bed.  It's a fun surprise and we only do it a few times each year)
  • Dress up like a princess for dinner
  • Make Christmas cards for relatives
  • Make Christmas cookies
  • Take Christmas cookies to mail lady and trash man
  • Eat dinner by candlelight
  • Help mom with some homemade gifts
  • Open Christmas Jammies on Christmas Eve!
  • Help mom wrap Christmas gifts
  • Google how people celebrate Christmas in other countries
  • Make a bed in the living room at watch Polar Express
  • Make a Christmas card and gift for Daddy
  • Roast marshmallows!
  • Rent Charlie Brown Christmas (they've never seen it!)
  • Fill Daddy's stocking
  • Take a trip to the store to pick out a special treat
  • Read the story of Jesus's birth on Christmas morning
Google "advent activities" and you'll get a lot more options!

Enjoy!  Stay tuned for how I made our "snowy wine bottles" in the next post!

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