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our diy advent calendar

This year I decided to make our very first advent calendar. My family didn’t have/do advent calendars when I was growing up. I have faint memories of my Grandma buying me one of those advent calendars that you can buy at Walmart where you get to punch out a chocolate each day late in December when it was on sale. I remember thinking that was great because then I could eat all the chocolates up to the current date. Anyway, I don’t think that really counts.

This year I saw that Silhouette was selling this advent calendar for $40.

I figured I could make something similar myself for less than $40, and I did. I actually didn’t have to buy anything for this project, I had it all on hand (I love it when that happens).

My Grandma had an auction awhile back and my Mom snagged these beauties:

I ended up peeling off the cardboard photos, spray painting the frames, added some baker’s twine string secured by some gold thumbtacks, stenciled numbers onto some tags, attached them to the string via a paperclip and used another tag behind with the activity for each day and voila:

It’s not perfect, but I love it. And since I didn’t have to buy anything to make it I love it even more.

I looked on the internet for some ideas of what we could do each day and I’ve included our list below (whether or not we actually do them all or do them on the right day remains to be seen). Most of them are for the three of us to do together, we know some of our family get-togethers that are happening before Christmas so I threw them in there since those will probably take up most of our day:

  1. put up the Christmas tree
  2. make gifts for the grandparents
  3. make snowflakes
  4. wrap gifts
  5. make caramel popcorn
  6. unwrap a new book to read
  7. buy a nutcracker and stockings
  8. have dinner by candlelight
  9. take a drive to see Christmas lights
  10. make homemade ornaments
  11. hang stockings
  12. watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  13. decorate sugar cookies
  14. make a gingerbread house
  15. make a popcorn string
  16. visit familiy
  17. youth leader Christmas party
  18. make peppernuts
  19. make a snow globe
  20. take treats to neighbors
  21. Hamm Christmas
  22. go sledding
  23. Wiebe Christmas
  24. read the story of the Birth of Christ

Do you have an advent calendar tradition? I would love to hear it!

with love,

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  1. I love your advent frame and all those fun memory ideas – hubs and I were making our list last night for ours (we have a train with little doors I found on clearance a few yes ago) – I love the dinner by candlelight, string popcorn, and what are pepper nuts?

    Such a cherished tradition for your family!!!

    1. Hey Janice – your train advent calendar sounds really cool!
      Peppernuts are tiny cookie-ish things. They are a little spicy (hence the name). They are German and I have a pretty strong Mennonite heritage so it’s something we have every year at Christmas.

  2. this is sooo cute:) every year when we were little my mom would read us the Christmas story out of a children’s book with pictures. She would give us each a portion to memorize each year, and as we got older we had harder and longer verses. Then her and my dad would do a devotion out of an advent book for families. I seriously have the best memories of that time, it was so special. Then after all that we got to punch out the door and get our chocolates, haha! When I was in Germany last month I realized Advent calendars are really popular there, so I bought a beautiful cloth one that hands and has a little burlap pocket for every day. Kevin and I are working on filling it with a portion of scripture to read each night, and some fun activity or love note for each other! I think it is just such a special time of year. I love what you made, so cute! love Katie

    1. Oh I love your tradition! We are definitely going to start getting our kiddos to start memorizing portions in the next few years!

  3. What a great Advent calendar! We didn’t have advent calendars growing up (we got chocolate ones when I was about 15), but here in Denmark it’s part of their Christmas tradition. My husband got a small gift every day, with a bigger one on each Advent Sunday. Our kids are bombarded with stuff all December, so we decided to only give them a gift each Sunday. They got chocolate calendars from their grandmother and Lego calendars from their aunt, so they totally don’t miss out. We also make peppernuts here…they’re everywhere in Denmark in December, so we eat heaps of them. Your list is just full of great ideas!

    1. Denmark seems to be big on their Christmas traditions. I like that you are just doing gifts on the Sunday, it is probably hard to break tradition but like you said, they get stuff all month long. That’s why I wanted to design an advent calendar that focused on doing stuff together instead of getting stuff. My family is originally from the Russia area so I’m guessing peppernuts are common in Europe.

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