December 10th, 2013
I always want to make an advent calendar, and it never seems to happen. I have all these grand plans of doing all of this great stuff for Christmas with my son and then I get so busy that we end up doing nothing. This year, I was determined to make an advent calendar after seeing several simple versions I liked. Our house is decorated very minimally, even at the holidays, so I needed something simple and clean. I liked the idea of choosing my own activity each day, or putting a Christmas joke down to laugh at with my 5-year-old, and after seeing this one on Pinterest by SALLYJSHIM, I knew it was the idea for us.
The original idea by Sally uses envelopes she purchased, sealed and snipped the top off of to hold the cards, but I couldn’t find kraft colored envelopes around town so decided to make my own from kraft cardstock I already had on hand. I first laid everything out in Illustrator to figure out how big to make my envelopes and cards, using the size of a recently made framed, linen covered cork board for the over all size (since this is where they would be placed). I cut out my envelopes to size and then printed my cards with the number typed out on the top. Just as Sally did, I printed what I wanted to go on each card onto an 8.5″ x 11″ label and then cut those out. I went ahead and placed several on the cards, but I can easily decide the day before what I want to commit myself to the next day without having to print a new card. Even if I need to change up what i’ve already put on the card, I can just put a new sticker over the old. For several of the days we will be out of town, and since I don’t have control over what we’ll be doing on those days, I went ahead and placed funny holiday jokes for my 5-year-old. The frame is only 13″ x 20″, and therefore easily taken with us, so we can keep counting.
After we pull the days card and flip it over, I have pretty holiday-ish washi tape on the back of each one. I didn’t like the envelopes empty, and I didn’t like just the plain white sticking up. I think the washi tape is a nice touch of color and pattern. I used a flat thumbtack on the inside of the envelope to tack them to the corkboard, so I can easily take them down after the holidays and store them to use next year. I saved the file with the typed out days so I can easily print them again next year and print new stickers to place on them for the activities we will be doing. It’s paper, so it probably won’t last for too many years, but I like the idea of doing something new each year anyway. So even if i’m tired of this one next year, it wasn’t a big cost or time commitment to set aside for a new idea.
What finally got me going on this was having my son constantly ask me how many more days until Christmas. This way he can go to the calendar and see just how many days, as well as count them, and learn the spelling of each of the 24 days that are written (one, two, three, etc…). I also like doing this because it helps to organize me in the things I want to do with him for the holidays, and makes me do them. Today was “Go See Santa Claus”, and if it hadn’t already been stuck on there I might have been tempted to stay home today, so i’m glad I forced myself to commit to that one. Although, once we got to the mall, we found out Santa was not going to be there today (bad weather here). I’m always so pleased with myself when I take the time to do these little things, because they mean so much to Brice. I get so caught up in all the other things I need to do, that I feel like I don’t do enough with him. At least this holiday I can feel good about taking the time to do all of those “important” activities with him that make wonderful memories for the both of us through the years.