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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Calendar

Right from the outset, I'll let you know that this is not a sewing post, which is very unusual for me.  In almost 7 months of blogging, I've never written a post that didn't have at least something to do with quilting or sewing.  Well, I am unapologetically getting only a little bit of sewing done these days, and the reason is very special to our family.

I just love Christmas time;  and as much as I love quilting as one of my favorite activities to do year round, when Advent rolls around, I don't get a whole lot of sewing done.  And that's okay by me.

My family has an Advent calendar (as many families do) to count down the days until Christmas.  I made the calendar out of small galvanized buckets (4 inch) and used stamps, cardstock, scalloped scissors, and twine to give each bucket it's number.  The buckets are hung on an antique iron screen in our family room.

The thing that makes our Advent calendar different from many I've seen is that we don't fill our buckets with treats, but with experiences for our family to share together.  Each bucket has a card (handwritten by me) with an activity for the day.  We read the card together in the evenings and look forward to the surprise inside.

The cards have a mix of cooking, arts and crafts, outings, scripture, and service.  Some of the activities are quick and free, like calling grandparents and singing a Christmas carol to them (these are great for school nights).  Others require more time and expense, like going to the local pottery studio to paint ornaments.

If you're interested in creating an Advent calendar for your family, it doesn't have to be a big craft project.  And it's still early December, so there's plenty of time left!  The activities would be just as much fun typed out on plain paper and put into numbered envelopes.  The "cutesy" is not what makes it special.

The activities have brought us closer as a family during a time of year when it is so easy to get wrapped up in shopping, to-do lists, and hectic schedules.

You can make the activities personal for your family, of course, but here are a few of my favorites if you really want to jump right in and are stumped about what to include.

*read the Christmas story in the Bible and set up your Nativity
*make hot chocolate, put on pj's and take a drive to look at Christmas lights
*purchase a toy and donate it to help a needy child have a Merry Christmas
*make Christmas cookies and surprise your neighbors with a plate
*make paper snowflakes
*make a gingerbread house
*purchase mittens, scarves and gloves and donate them
*make a winter bird feeder with a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seed
*make a list of at least 10 things you're thankful for.  Say a prayer of thanks to God for each thing.
*make reindeer food with oats and glitter for sprinkling outside on Christmas Eve
        (Santa's reindeer smell the oats, and the glitter sparkles in the moonlight, which guides the sleigh  
         right to your house)

Of course, there are more than these ten and if you're interested in the rest of the list, I'll happily send them to you!  I wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas season.  Although I won't be completely absent over the next few weeks (I'm sure I'll get a little sewing time in), now you know what I'm busy doing lately instead of quilting!


  1. Oh Kelly your Christmas tree is beautiful! And what a unique Advent Calendar! I love that you are teaching the children something special about Christmas! Just love it!

  2. love it! and your tree is gorgeous too!!

  3. That is a wonderful idea! Your tree is beautiful. I just love those sprigs of berries sticking out!

  4. Thank you for a non-quilting, non-sewing post. I live alone. I have two grown children who have blessed me with two grandchildren each. At time I have two grandson that are the same age. People will ask if the 7 year olds are twins? I tell them I don't think so since their parents are siblings - then they just laugh and realize one is my daughter's and one is my son's. They haven't seen each other in about 6 years. We are hoping to get the boys together next summer. They ask about each other. Actually my daughter is hoping to move within 4ish hours instead of 12 hours with a year or two. I'm so excited. She has a two year old and my son has a 5 month old. I'd love to have your list of advent activities to pass on to them. We could change the activities to age appropriate or our own traditions. I'm thinking how much the little three year old would love to put on his jammies and go look at Christmas lights. I can see his eyes dancing now. He'd love to take cookies to the neighbors, too. He is great at sharing. And what great ideas of giving to others.My eight year old grandson was here over Thanksgiving with me while his dad was working. He asked about his step grandpa Rick. Little Eric was here this summer in July when the police chaplain came and told me his grandpa had been found dead in his apartment. He just knew that his Grandpa had moved out. I was so upset that I didn't know how to tell him and I thought he overheard us talking and knew. So, I told him at Thanksgiving. I told him Grandpa Rick was in heaven with Jesus and didn't hurt anymore. He told me that Grandpa Rick had been good to me and I needed to find someone else to be good to me and he was in heaven with Jesus and Jesus is a good guy. I was absolutely amazed at that child. You never know what is being received. Thanks for your blog.

  5. Thanks Kelly!! I shared this on Facebook so the mothers of young ones at my church can see it. The ideas are great and this is more meaningful than the Elf on the Shelf!

  6. What a beautiful Christmas tree and I love your advent calendar!

  7. Thanks a lot Kelly for that cute and thoughtful post. It is the reflect of the smile you show on your picture. I love your blog and feel so much like you and of course I am interested by the rest of your list. Do have a wonderful Advent time with all the ones you care for.

  8. What a fun idea for Advent! I miss those days with my sons.

  9. I do one very similar with many of the same activities! I really like the idea of calling a loved one and singing a christmas carol. I have plans to make a quilted advent calendar for next year and maybe one for my brother's family as well. I would be very interested to see your list since your children are a bit older than mine. Happy Holidays and I LOVE your beautiful tree!

  10. Your Christmas tree is beautifully decorated and I love your idea of an advent calendar :)


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