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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Advent Calendar

I love this time of year! We've been listening to Christmas music and getting out Christmas decor. (We don't have Thanksgiving at our home if we did my Christmas decor would not be coming out yet) Contrary to what people may say I'm not forgetting or overlooking Thanksgiving. We love Thanksgiving at our house...lots of yummy food, spending time with family and a day to spend remembering all that we have to be grateful for. Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand in hand for me. There's not a better way to start the Christmas season than to be reminded of what we have in our lives. I love the spirit and excitement that Christmas brings. By the time the week of Thanksgiving rolls around I want to be able to enjoy the holiday season and that includes my Christmas decor. It takes a lot of time to put up all those decorations and I don't want to have to worry about when we're going to have the time to do it so we get started early. The Christmas season is also a time for traditions and today I'm going to share one that I started with my own little family.

This is our advent calendar and countdown to Christmas, but instead of putting treats or prizes inside we do a special activity together as a family each day. I have a jar full of slips of paper with different activities on them to choose from. Each days activity depends on what we have going on that year or in some cases what the weather is like and some days we do multiple activities. (for example on a snow day we build a snowman and
make snow angels). At the end of November I look at the calendar and see what we've got going on for the month of December and put those activities in their box first. This year I knew when we had my side of the family Christmas party (which lasts all day long) so that is our activity for that day. It's supposed to be fun...not stressful! Also some of the activities will change as my children get older. This is something that is for everyone and can be adapted to every family. My oldest daughter gets so excited to open a box each day and see what we'll do together as a family.

Here's what you need to make it:
24 paper mache boxes in an assortment of sizes. The sizes of mine are 2"x2", 2.5"x2.5", 4.5"x3.5", 4.5"x4.5"
magnets for each box. I use the small silver circles that are really strong.
craft paint and brush
variety of numbers (different shapes and sizes) I used stickers, rub-ons and chipboard
different embellishments like jewels, paper cutouts and chipboard
modge podge
magnet board
  1. Arrange boxes in the order you like. Then choose what color each box will be and paint all boxes and lids. Let them completely dry.
  2. Put numbers on each box and embellish.
  3. Apply a coat of modge podge for protection.
  4.  Attach magnets to each box. The larger boxes I used 2.
  5. Fill with your slips of paper.
Here is a list of ideas!
Read the about the birth of Christ in the bible.
Read a Christmas book.
Make a paper snowman.
Go Christmas caroling.
Go see the live nativity.
Wrap Christmas presents.
Make muffins.
Make and decorate gingerbread houses.
Go see Santa.
Learn to play a holiday song on an instrument.
Take a moonlit walk in the snow.
Invite family or friends to have a sleepover.
Cuddle under a blanket.
Learn to say “I Love You” in 5 languages.
Go ice skating.
Write 10 things you’re thankful for.
Write down the 10 best memories from the past year.
Attend a holiday concert.
Go see the nutcracker.
Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Share your favorite holiday memories.
Write down your favorite traditions.
Write down traditions you want to start with your family.
Bake Christmas cookies.
Go see the lights at temple square.
Ready a book by the fire.
Watch a Christmas movie.
Watch family videos.
Have dinner by candlelight.
Make breakfast food for dinner and eat in your pajamas.
Deliver neighbor and friend Christmas gifts.
Cut out paper snowflakes.
Make popcorn string.
Make cheerio string.
Make candy cane reindeer.
Take a ride to look at holiday lights and decorations.
Watch the snow fall.
Make reindeer puppets.
Build a snowman.
Eat snow.
Go sledding.
Make snow angels.
Write Christmas cards.
Write a letter to Santa.
Make a paper Christmas tree.
Make hot chocolate.


*Make sure to check out the parties I link up at!


Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon Designs said...

This is so awesome! We are having a Home for the Holidays link party and I would love for you to share your advent calendar with us!

Maggie Lamarre said...

oh my that is quite a list.
Would luv for my readers to discover your blog, will you please join our weekly party at
have a great crafting week!

Jennifer said...

Cute!! I'm wanting to do this with Lil' Hunkie and just can't make up my mind! This is looks easy...keeping it in mind! Thanks for the inspiration!

Natasha Mairs - Serenity You said...

love this so cute!!

Natasha xx

Marilyn said...

This is awesome.. Lovely lovely turn out.. : ))

The Fords said...

I love this! It's one of my favorite crafts that you make!:)

Chrissy said...

This is so cute!! Holy cats, lady, that is a big list of stuff to do. :)

Heidi said...


This is pure GENIUS!! I ADORE IT! I have seen lots of box advents, but never one on a magnet board. I am in the process of redoing a large old frame into a magnet board, and I will have to do this with it for Christmas! How smart are you?


Brandy said...

Hi Marie! I absolutely love your advent calendar! I am hosting a week of advent calendar tutorials and ideas November 28th-December 5th. If you would be interested in doing a guest post on my blog during that time, send me an email! You can get more info on it by visiting the link below. Take care!


Unknown said...

OMGish, I love this! I have a slight obsession with Advent Calendars. I'd love for you to link up at my party, Stitch n' Niche Saturdays:

Felicia said...

Beautiful! And.. great ideas for the calendar as well.

Kristina @ ReMadeSimple said...

very nice, simple idea! I bet you could also repurpose jewelry gift boxes or Altoids tins for the boxes! Thanks for posting, I just might try this :)

Jen @ My Own Road said...

Really cute! I love the simplicity of your calendar - very classy!

Jessica said...

How fun! I love advent calendars!

Mary @ Sea Quilts said...

Loving the simplicity and the graphics ... and pretty much the whole thing.

Thanks ~ Mary @ SeaQuilts

::little projects in style:: said...

those are such adorable ideas! :)

can't wait to get started on our advent calender


MiaB said...

I love the list of ideas that you have. And your advent calendar looks fantastic. Thanks for posting this. Stopping by from Ta-da Tuesday Link Party. Hope you can stop by my blog as well.

MiaB from

Alecia @ ChickenScratch NY said...

I really like that your calendar isn't focused on gifts but on activities. 24 things to do together is worth so much more than 24 chapsticks

Just Jaime said...

Great idea! I love the different shapes!

WhyCuzICan said...

Sweet project to you anyone in the mood for Christmas... :)
Thanks for sharing today :D
Visiting from Shabby Creek Cottage's Linky Party.
Smiles, Suzanne in NW Illinois

Christina said...

I do a similar tradition with my family (activities for the 12 days of Christmas) but I like how you have a jar of ideas because like you said you have to be flexible due to schedules, weather etc. I think I may have to try it!
I would love it if you would share your cute idea at my "It's a Celebration" link party.
Oh, I also love the different size boxes and numbers!

Shay said...

What a great idea and it is so cute! Thanks for sharing! I love that you don't put treats in it but activities to do together! Shay :)

Unknown said...

Very cute! What fun memories you are making!

Linda Jordan said...

This is so cute! And I love the idea of doing activities together instead of candy.

Visiting from homework :)

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

What a fantastic idea Marie and family time is so much nicer than sweet treats.
I'd love it if you could come over and share this at my Inspiration link party for Simply christmas at

Share Knowledges said...

On 25 December day of calender, I kept Santa-clause and designed with attractive sparkles and glitters. Due to the December month looks splendid and one of the treasure in your blog.
gifts for boys

kelly said...

Thanks for sharing your Advent Calendar. It's great to see other people's ideas.


Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence said...

I love it, simple and cute and good for the family! Thanks for linking up to Beyond The Picket Fence.

Delightful Order said...

You've been featured in the Top Ten on Delightful Order!

Stop by and grab a button for your blog.

Thanks for linking to my Thursday Party. Hope to see you back this Thursday!


Mindie Hilton said...

Featuring on Thursday at Bacon Time.

Natasha in Oz said...

I absolutely love this idea! I have been trying to think of fun ideas for advent this year and I will be trying some of your suggestions-thank you!

I am starting my 12 Days of Christmas series on my Christmas blog on December 1st and the first post is all about advent. I hope you might be able to visit and even link up this post!

Best wishes,

Christina said...

Thanks for linking up your cute advent calendar. I featured it today here:
Feel free to grab a featured button on my blog!

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