I made a fabric pocket advent calendar to hang on the wall at home. The pockets are big enough for two small chocolates or trinkets each day as we count down to Christmas from the start of December. I'm also planning to do an activity card for each day*, like these ones suggested on Kiddley, but since the children are used to the cardboard & chocolate calendars I think they would treat the new calendar like some kind of hideous punishment if there was no chocolate.
I've been wanting to make one of these for a really long time. Way back before I had children I remember reading posts on blogs like Soulemama and Loobylu and LIttle Birds describing advent countdown activities. When I saw this Tiny Forest quilt on the Purl Bee when Ali was a toddler I knew it would make an excellent calendar, but it's taken me ages to get around to making it. I think it's because the time that I think about advent calendars is usually at the busy part of the year, when there are so many other things jostling for attention.
Exactly two years ago, when I flew down to Melbourne for a craft weekend I printed out the instructions, took some green and brown fabric with me and made a couple of prototype trees. I originally wanted to make the trees themselves the pockets, with an opening in the centre of each one instead of a seam, but I realised the pockets would be too small and the seams of the patchwork would come under a lot of pressure from little fingers, so I needed to rethink the design and it got shelved again. And I was never quite sure what I would do about the numbers, which allowed me to stall further. But this year I ordered one of Leslie's fabulous Maze & Vale advent panels, dug out my stacks of green and brown fabric last week and just got on with it and, as so often happens with projects that I've been half-dreading because they seem fiddly and difficult, it was actually easy and fun.
After procrastinating for so long I'm very happy to have this up on the wall, waiting for December and ready to go.
* Activity ideas so far (many pillaged from the links above) are:
- Make ice cream sundaes for dessert
- Watch a Christmas movie together with popcorn
- Buy & decorate our Christmas tree
- Picnic dinner in a park
- Go out for gelato
- Sushi for dinner
- Pancakes for breakfast
- Go in to the city to see the Christmas windows & lights
- Make decorations for the Christmas tree (maybe Fimo stars & clothespeg dolls?)
- Camp in the back garden
- Go bowling
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Choose a toy for the charity Christmas tree
- Get family photobooth picture taken
- Paint everyone's toenails
- Visit a local street where all the houses have lots of Christmas lights & decorations
- Decorate Christmas wrapping paper
- Fish & chips for dinner at the beach
- Post Christmas cards to friends and cousins overseas
- Post letters to Santa
- Make a gingerbread house
- Make a big cubby house and eat dinner in it
- Make paper snow flakes
- Feed the ducks at the park
- Play a board game together
- Make paper chains
- Water balloon battle
- Go to the local Christmas carols with a picnic dinner
- Visit a City Farm
There are more than 24 of these, because I think we'll schedule them as time & weather permits (and might do some more than once). Do you do advent activities at your house? Any suggestions?