Hello! Happy almost-Turkey Day! With Thanksgiving about to pass us by, we’ll soon head into the the steady march to Christmas. So I thought it’d be the perfect time to share one of my favorite Christmas traditions with all of you — Advent — and give you a week or so to prepare your own calendar (or buy one!).
As most of you know, I’m not a big fan of the commercialized nature of the holiday season. For too many people, Christmas has become nothing more than an excuse to party and buy more “stuff”. For practicing Christians, outside of Easter, it’s one of the most holy, sacred times of year. An Advent calendar is the perfect way to keep your focus where it should be — on the birth of Christ.
Each day, the calendar will prompt you to put everything on hold — work, your to-do list, your electronic devices, your worries — in order to anticipate, and eventually celebrate, the arrival of the most precious gift of all time — Jesus. It keeps you present, and grateful. In no other religion on earth did God humble himself to become one of us … to see what we see, hear what we hear, feel what we feel. No other God has made Himself vulnerable to the whim of man … and He did it not only to atone for the sin of all mankind (despite us in no way deserving such grace), but to show us how deeply He wants to know us. Whatever pain you’ve felt in your life, God himself has endured it. Whatever struggles you’ve faced, God has overcome it. Think about that for a moment. He knows your pain, He knows your fears … because He himself has felt them. And He alone has overcome them so you won’t ever have to alone.
This is the time we take to celebrate a God that has willingly endured the wrath of all mankind, out of love for you. So lets celebrate.
If you’d like to create a calendar similar to the one we have, I’ve included instructions below, with links to all the supplies you’ll need with the exception being these specific advent cards. They were purchased last year and are no longer available. However, I linked to several other options, all of which will walk you through this incredible season of celebration.
For those of you who’d like to celebrate Advent but don’t have the time to create a calendar from scratch, I’ve got you! I linked to several pre-made calendars as well here:
In terms of logistics, many pre-made calendars have only a small compartment for each day … for those, I’d recommend using printable cards that can be printed on regular paper and folded up to a small size. There are several free options online (check out these and these).
Instructions and links are below … I hope you’ll join me for this wonderful Christmas tradition, and from my family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
- Small craft-size paper bags
- Sharpie or other thick black marker
- Unless you have excellent penmanship, stencils (see link to the one I used below)
- Clothes pins
- Sprigs of holiday greenery
- Handful of decorative flowers, branches, and leaves (available at any craft store)
- Craft wire
- Command strips
- Picture hangers
- Measuring Tape
- Advent Cards
- A sweet treat for each day (we went with Cadbury chocolate squares)!
- Use the number stencils and marker to write numbers one through twenty-five, one number on each envelope.
- If you wish, you can add stickers, or other embellishments on some of the envelopes. I used the Christmas stencil linked below to add some small pictures — ornaments, snowflakes, reindeer, etc. to a few of my envelopes.
- Put the corresponding Advent card and a sweet treat in each numbered bag and close it up with a clothes pin.
- Apply a command strip to the backside of each clothes pin.
- Identify the wall where you ‘d like to place the collection of cards. I recommend you lay them out on the floor in the pattern you wish before attempting to put them up on the wall (to ensure accurate spacing). Once laid out on the floor, measure the full span of all the cards (length and width), and the space you’d like between each card (horizontally and vertically). Note the measurements.
- Next, use a pencil to mark your dimensions on the wall. You really only need to worry about accuracy with spacing between the envelopes with the first two rows. Once the first row is up, you’ll be able to use it as a guide for spacing horizontally, and after the second is up, you should be able to continue by eyeballing the vertical space between each row.
- Once your dimensions are marked, peel the backing off your command strips one by one and stick each envelope up on the wall.
- After all the envelopes are up and in place, now it’s time to add a some decorative elements using the flowers and greenery. First, take a few small green sprigs clip them under the clothes pins on a few randomly chosen envelopes.
- Next, gather together a few handfuls of greenery and flowers, and using the craft wire, arrange them however you wish. There’s no magic formula here, it’s just trial and error and adjustment! If chose to use mine as a corner accent, creating a curved silhouette that would hug the upper right-hand corner. Again, there’s no “right” way to do this arrangement — it’s all up to your own creativity and taste. Just use the wire to create whatever type of arrangement you’d like, then secure it using picture hangers or more command strips.
- Now stand back and admire!