What the Heck is Advent, Anyway?

Growing up I don't think I ever knew what an advent calendar was. We never had one in the house and I don't recall any friends who had one. Not sure why, really. Advents are German Lutheran by origin and while we were more on the German Methodist side, we certainly had some German Lutheran roots in our family. For years I associated them with Catholic for some reason, but that's because I was fairly clueless about most religious connections. Arguably, still am.

It seems Advent calendars lean more towards the secular side these days. So we decided to try to make our own version this year. After scouring the interwebs for ideas (and finding lots of really great ones), I decided with my two little monkeys we should do something fairly easy (my youngest monkey likes being able to say I did it all by myself), with the option of extra embellishments for the older gal; and something that focuses on recycling, rather than the purchasing of more stuff. Lord knows we do not need more stuff. We just need to find ways to repurpose the stuff we have. At least that's the theory.

So, we decided to try the envelope style advent calendar. Sorta like this, but way messier, with a lot more glitter; ya know, something that looks more like elementary kids made it, instead of Miss Martha. Something that would make a perfectionist feel kinda queasy. Ya know, the kind of project that screams homemade. I wish I could say I have lots of pretty scrapbooking paper lying around so I could make envelopes as pretty as these, but alas, I don't scrapbook and I see no point in buying pretty paper when we have magazines we can tear up...the act of which I'm hoping will double as some sort of passive-aggressive therapy. It is the holidays, after all.

So, here's what we did. We found a stack of paper in the 'to shred/recycle' pile in the craft room so we made envelopes out of those. The girls cut tore holiday themed pictures out of magazines and glued those pictures onto the fronts of the envelopes. Only the fronts will really be seen so we didn't bother with the back. Maybe next year. We then added numbers, which were cut out of recycled white paper (or handwritten) and added glitter to the edges. The girls then added glitter to other various images on the envelopes they wanted to highlight as well. In a rather random way, I might add. It started off focused, but the Lure of the Glitter overcame them and before an intervention could be organized, the glitter took over. I took deep breaths...and accepted defeat. Glitter is magical stuff. My girls will add glitter to anything. They sometimes just pour it on their heads.

I'm pretty sure that gives them special powers.

But do not leave girls (of any age) unattended with jars of glitter in front of them.

I once left my Girl Scouts alone with jars of glitter on the table. I turned my back on them for a few minutes, and they took that opportunity to start a glitter fight. Think pillow fight, but with glitter. It took 6 months to get all the glitter out of their hair.

Deep. Breaths.

So, after the glitter dried on our Advent project, I wrote notes to put in some of the envelopes, ya know, stuff like: go ice skating, go see a movie, make hot chocolate, work a puzzle together, play a game, make mulled wine (wait, what?), make gingerbread cookies, donate toys to charity, etc. In the other envelopes I put little chocolates and/or little sun-catchers for them to paint and hang on the tree. We hung our envelopes on the mantle with some string and clothespins. And viola! our first homemade recycled Advent Calendar. Or, as we like to call it, The Christmas Countdown Thingy.



  1. I loved reading this post (laughed several times) and love the idea. Guess what we'll be doing now.... :) Well, I'm going to shoot for it anyway. Wish me luck.

  2. so crafty & cute :) glitter rocks!