It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the great Advent Calendar ideas out there. In fact, that’s what has kept me from actually buying or making one for my family– too many great ideas, how do I choose the right one?
After stepping back from the issue, I thought about what was most important for me in an advent calendar. Growing up, our advent calendar was a book with a paper calendar inside. The text was way over my head:
The calendar itself was no more than a piece of tri-fold cardstock with flaps. Despite it’s simplicity, I adored it and looked forward to opening the correct window each day. To me, it was (and still is) beautiful.
After contemplating what to do for my family, I came up with what meant the most to me:
- a place for either a small treat or a paper slip with a fun activity
- something to open up each day
- a story the kids could understand and enjoy
- easy to store each year, and durable enough to survive the toddler years
Notice that “fancy, professional, and complicated” isn’t on that list.
In true Carrie form, it’s already December 4th and I haven’t yet made an advent calendar. I did order this DIY version from Overstock.com, but it will be awhile before I have a chance to put it together and decorate the way I want. Like, next year.
With that in mind, I ordered the book The Advent Storybook. It has 24 simple stories that reflect the ideas of advent as told through the journey of a little bear. Sara from Less Ordinary Designs has a free printable advent calendar, so I made that as well. It’s a paper chain, and you find the day’s activity on the back of each chain link. The plan is to read a story from the advent book, then open up a link each day and have fun doing that activity as a family.
Hopefully by the time I put away this year’s decorations I’ll have that other advent calendar finished. Until then, we’re focusing on keeping things simple and family oriented while we can!
Jennifer’s Cookies makes a set of vintage-feel cotton advent bags.
Shoe Organizer Advent from Eighteen 29.
Martha Stewart Living featured an Advent Calendar with these festive striped bags from Etsy seller In The Clear. At only $3.25 per 25, you could make a fun little advent!
Ribbon Advent from Better Homes and Gardens.
Darn, she’s not taking orders until January… but I had to include these amazing advent cookies (one for each day) from The Cookie Couture on Etsy.
As a former librarian, this is my dream come true. A Library Card Advent Calendar from Not On the High Street.
This photo from HGTV inspires the idea of wrapping one small gift a day in bright paper and nestling them in a bowl. The anticipation of opening would drive my kids bonkers each day!
Martha’s Baby Sock Advent Calendar. Oh, wow. I’m melting with cuteness.
Simple and sweet felt advent from So Happy.
Here’s another free printable one, this time from Talk Crafty To Me.
I have actually always wanted a quilted one, specifically with that crazy quilting stitch, but unfortunately for me I don’t have the skills to make it. For a finished version of this heirloom quality quilt on Sew, Mama, Sew? I’d pay big bucks!