I got a bee up my butt (I know, it's a rather vulgar phrase, but it's one I use frequently) to make an advent calendar after I saw Dani's. I thought about one last year, but it was just the "I want one" sort of thinking. I never came up with a plan or a design or anything.
Then I saw Dani's. My first reaction was, "That's so freaking cute." Almost in the same breath, I thought there would be no point in making one for my boys now. Ben is ten and a half going on eighteen. Max is seven and is torn between being little and trying to keep up the cool with Ben. But I soon realized that they are still little, dammit. The only way I'm ever going to stretch it out and keep it going for just a little bit longer is to do things like this and force them into playing along with the little kid stuff. Because, really, they both still like it.
I based my version on Dani's, but simplified it for the lazy crafter in me. I found these little gift tags at Hobby Lobby. They're on extra sturdy card stock and measure 3x3. The open spot was perfect for the number. I didn't bother with any stencils. I just drew them with a fine tip Sharpie and then filled them in. They aren't perfect, but I do not mind. Nothing else in my house is perfect, either.
For the back, I bought one sheet of the large square Christmas scrapbook paper. I chose one with stripes that made cutting it super easy. I used the paper cutter at school to cut little strips that were about 1x3 inches and Elmer's glue to glue them on to the back to form little pockets.
Then I just printed out 24 different Christmas activities, some *borrowed* from Dani and some tailored for our family. I also crocheted two long, long chains from a variegated red, white, and green Christmas yarn. One chain hangs in each of our kitchen windows. I used some teeny, tiny clothespins to attach the tags to the chains, which you can see in the first pic. That's it!
I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. It's cheery and fun. The boys both like seeing what we're going to do each night. I really like that they're all activities, too, instead of buying them more little junk. Many of them are things we would have done anyway, but I added in a lot of *new* things, too.
It felt really good to get all crafty again. It's been a long time. I've decided this year that I'm not making anyone's Christmas present. Well, except for the peppermint bark that I'm making for all the boys' teachers. Anyway, since I'm not having to spend all of my crafty energy in my usual Christmas sweat shop, I'm actually quite excited to make some things for my family and our house. Yeah for Christmas craftiness!