DIY Advent Calendar for Families, for Having Fun While Counting Down
As soon as Halloween was done, the shops got rid of all the grey and black stuff they were selling and instead started stocking themselves up with things that were red and green and gold. Suddenly, Christmas was in the air. Many of the items on display were those we had seen much of in Bangalore – Christmas trees, string lights, baubles and stars. Many others were such that we had rarely or never seen back in India, like wreaths and advent calendars. In fact, all through November, advent calendars were in each and every shop’s window. There were advent calendars with chocolates or with toys and even with beauty products.
The idea behind advent calendar is quite beautiful. The word ‘advent’ here refers to beginning of or arrival of Christmas. Thus an advent calendar is used to count the days to Christmas, almost like a countdown calendar to Christmas. Technically this countdown is supposed to start from four Sundays before Christmas but now December 1 is widely accepted as the starting day of advent calendar.
The advent calendar sold in the market has 24 windows/flaps for December 1 through December 24. Behind each window/flap, there is a candy or a toy or some other gift. On each day of December, a window or flap of the calendar is opened and the gift inside is taken. Some advent calendar can have a message or a Christmas related story or a picture behind the flap. I think the idea is to enjoy and celebrate the days while waiting for big day of Christmas to come.
Overwhelmed by what we were seeing in the markets, Little B and I decided to make our own advent calendar. At that time, we were learning making paper stencils and had earlier bought a couple of dozen of wooden pegs and so we decided to put both things to use.
DIY Advent Calendar for Families
We started by cutting thick craft sheets into 3 inches x 4 inches rectangles. We cut 6 of such rectangles and we were going to use these as stencils. Little B practiced what she wanted to draw for her stencils on rough paper. Once she was confident, she drew the same on the rectangles.
Using an xacto knife, I cut the outline of her designs thus making 6 stencils –
We took 7 white A4 sheets. We cut four equal strips out of each A4 sheet. Each strip was folded like a greeting card.
On the top of this ‘greeting card,’ we kept a stencil and using a sponge and poster colours, filled it in.
We kept doing this till we had 25 printed cards ready.
After the colours had dried up, we wrote dates on each of them, starting with 1 and through 25.
Now the idea we had in mind was, that for each day of December, we will open the ‘greeting card’ marked with that day’s date and read what is written inside that card. Therefore, inside each card, I wrote in an activity or a thing that we as a family can enjoy together for that day. We listed activities such as ‘put up the Christmas tree,’ ‘prepare and enjoy homemade peppermint hot chocolate’ and ‘learn a new Christmas carol.’ The complete list of these activities is at the end of the blog.
Once this was done, we stuck the wooden pegs on the wall using a double-sided tape and clipped the greeting cards in the pegs.
We have got these poster colours recently from Ikea and I feel they are bright and well pigmented for kids to work with. The sponge brushes can be easily found in any arts and crafts shop.
My favourite card is this bauble painted by LittleB, it is her ‘outside the box’ thinking that inspires me to do better.
List of activities for DIY advent calendar for families
Buy the Christmas tree
Decorate and light up the Christmas tree
Learn a new Christmas carol
Think of a country; now find out how people celebrate Christmas there
Watch a Christmas movie
Bake a traditional Christmas cake
Learn how to say Merry Christmas in another language
Bake gingerbread cookies
Prepare and enjoy peppermint hot chocolate
Read a holiday book
Craft up some ornaments for your tree
Donate food or clothes at the donation box
Write a letter to Father Christmas
Make paper snowflakes and decorate them on the windows
Find out about a holidays related game and play it
Go out at night and enjoy the Christmas decorations in the neighbourhood
Make Christmas cards for friends
Have a dance party
Visit Father Christmas at a grotto