Friday, November 29, 2013

DIY Advent Calendars They'll LOVE--Scrappin' Saturday Post

Advent calendar with tinsel
garland and decorative bags
For this Scrappin' Saturday post, I thought I'd share with you a fun, inexpensive gift idea I use every year for my nieces and nephews. This Advent Calendar works especially well with large families, as with my cousin who has six children. It's HARD to wait until December 25 when you're little, and this helps mitigate the wait.

I shop all year in the clearance bins for small gifts to put in the advent bags. The best time to do this is AFTER the holiday--when all of the Christmas-themed stuff is 50-75% off, so you can start this year and build up your advent calendar for next year! I do 3 advent calendars--two for relatives and one for my own girls. Here's how to create an Advent Calendar they'll LOVE:

1. Buy 24 small, inexpensive gifts that are age appropriate for the children you are gifting. For me, this means finding small items that are still baby-safe for one family, and items that are appropriate for the tween and teen girls of another family. See below the picture for some ideas that I've used.

2. You can either wrap each gift (which I used to do) OR you can do yourself a favor and buy the packs of Christmas-themed paper bags and pop each gift in a bag and seal it shut. I've even used brown paper bags, which adds a nice, rustic touch to the advent calendar theme.

Advent Calendar with brown
paper bags attached with garland.
3. Number the bags from 1-24. If you are gifting more than one age group or gender, you may want to label each bag with the child's name. CAUTION: This requires some math. NOT my strong point, so if you're like me, have some extra bags handy in case you forget which number you're on as your labeling and stuffing bags!

4. Attach each bag either in reverse order to ribbon, twine or tinsel garland (with the strings ending with 1, being a Countdown to Christmas calendar) or do it in numerical order, which would correspond to the date of the month (numbers going up, ending with 24). I never do a bag for 25--that's Christmas!

5. Find a sturdy hangar. I use the old-fashioned wooden ones, because they're much sturdier than the plastic or metal ones. Print out a cute paper for the hangar, or maybe decorate it with garland or ribbons. And send it! Voila--you've just given your kiddos 24 days of happiness and anticipation!

Here are some ideas you can use by age group:
Babies/Toddlers:
Baby-safe ball
Board book
Baby-safe Santa
Bibs/Pacifiers
Holiday Socks

Elementary Kids:
Crafts for that age group are nice to use
Silly putty
Small notebooks with tiny markers/pencils
Small books
Play jewelry
Matchbox cars
Mittens/hats/holiday socks
Etc--this age group is easy to find small things they'll love!

Middle/High School Kids:
Make-up
Nail Polish
Mittens/Hats/Holiday Socks
iTunes gift cards
Crafts
Magic trick kits (small ones, like magic cards, etc.)
Jewelry
Money always works for this age group, too!

What are your ideas for advent calendars? I'm always interested in how other people use this tradition! Be sure to stop by my page on Pinterest to check out some other advent calendar ideas I've found on the web.

Happily Scrapping My Ever After,
Dylan

P.S. Want to check out my other Scrappin' projects? Click here for an easy page you can do with broken crayons as the centerpiece!

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