Monday, December 1, 2014

10 Favorite Advent Calendar Ideas...

December 2? When did December happen? With holiday season in full swing, the days are certainly getting shorter both in duration and feel, with so much to do this time of year!  Although my to-do list is never-ending, I have gotten the DIY-bug to make an advent calendar this year.  Never mind that my laundry is growing to Mount Everest heights or that I just fed my children butter noodles and apples for dinner (Mom of the Year!)  I mean who does that? Who spends more time searching for creative inspirations than preparing a decent balanced meal for her family?

That's me. Guilty as charged.

My time and attention is currently falling into this creative-time-sink-hole that I know is pulling me away from more important matters.  Nevertheless, the project marches on.  First, I have collected a few inspiration photos below....I have encountered endless creative visual ideas for this project, but my favorite takeaway is the idea to use experiences rather than stuff, (as I have done in the past). Some have incorporated family experiences (board games, holiday movies, Christmas caroling, etc.).  Others have presented acts of service or kindness.  I LOVE THIS IDEA!  As parents, we are constantly trying to come up with ways to make the holidays more meaningful to our children, to teach them the season is about more than just gifts from Santa.  I haven't yet decided which route we will take, but I am thinking we could mix it up and do both...We shall see.

I can only hope that if my children don't have Pinterest-worthy meals every night in December, at least they will be have lasting family memories and (hopefully) a spirit of love, kindness, thoughtfulness, and service during the holidays.

Addendum: This is my final product...$16 cork board from Michael's spray painted gold, little envelopes I had on hand, twine suspended with tacks, red glitter tape, and I printed the chalkboard numbers (onto normal printer paper) from a printable template from Painted Hive Blog (link provided below), cut and glued onto envelopes...Finally, I hung little gold ball ornaments from Target to every other date to avoid too much weight on the twine.

Inside each date we placed both fun holiday activities and random acts of kindness...Now to enjoy the month of December!!

Inspirations are as follows:

(1) 25 Acts of Random Kindness - Between You and Me Blog 
(I copied her family ideas from her blog below)

1. Deliver sweets to neighbors.
2. Put quarters in gum ball machines at Publix.
3. Visit nursing home with flowers.
4. Babysit for Blake and Laura.
5. Give blankets to the homeless.
6. Deposit coins in some parking meters downtown.
7. Let someone a head in line.
8. Deposit money in vending machines at school.
9. Bake goodies for Athens Church staff.
10. Hold door open for someone.
11. Give change to Salvation Army.
12. Deliver sweets to fire station.
13. Pay for someone’s library fines.
14. Pay for someone’s coffee.
15. Host friends for dinner.
16. Take meal to a family.
17. Serve at local soup kitchen.
18. Deliver sweets to police station.
19. Give Jittery Joes gift card to mailman.
20. Give thank you note to our garbage collectors.
21. Return shopping carts.
22. Donate used clothing.
23. Donate used books to library.
24. Give your siblings a gift.
25. Over Tip our waitress at Waffle House.

(2) Paper Bag Advent Calendar - Most Lovely Things Blog

This blogger recently posted an updated version of her original brown bag example above, with a slightly different one here...

I love the way she replaced the paper bags with holiday cards as the month went by....

(3) Advent Calendar Wall Chart - The Painted Hive Blog

The Painted Hive close-up...How adorable is this one,
with simple holiday phrases tucked into each?

(4) DIY Chalkboard Advent Wall Calendar - DIY Network

We LOVE children's holiday books....this is such a fun idea to celebrate this nightly ritual!

(5) Christmas Book Advent Calendar -

A cupcake tin? Who comes up with this stuff!? Awesome.

(6) Cupcake Tin - Parents Magazine

(7) 25 Days of Service - I Heart Naptime Blog

(8) Better Homes and Gardens
I love the colorful impact of these envelopes
and the gold numbers are so festive!

SO adorable, but seriously, who has the time?

(9) Mini Tree Advent Calendar - Oh Happy Day Blog

Christmas Craft Ideas: Bucket Advent Calendar

(10) Bucket Advent Calendar - Home Depot

Some more fun and festive advent calendar ideas....

30 printable advent ideas
Ideas from Add a Pinch

Better Homes and Gardens

pottery barn advent calendar
Lemonade Makin Mama

advent bags
Design Mom

Cheers and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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