Homemade Advent Calendar

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My 7 year old son is a LEGO maniac.  Since he is so into building with his LEGO bricks, I decided to splurge on this:

If you buy LEGO products, you know that it was definitely a splurge…especially since I normally buy the dollar chocolate Advent calendars.  Once I decided to purchase this for my son, I knew I needed to come up with an idea for my daughter.  I contemplated the LEGO City Advent Calendar for her but I decided that while she would enjoy opening it up and putting the pieces together each day, it would ultimately end up in my son’s room.

I decided that I would make an Advent calendar myself using some of her favorite things.  I have to give credit to my friend, E, for the idea.  We researched different make-your-own Advent calendars on our favorite craft blogs and Pinterest, but nothing jumped out at us.  There is one that we want to sew but we knew that would we would be cutting it close!  That is when E saw the idea to tie up the little gifts in a candy roll style and hang it from a hook.  We gathered up our goodies and got to work!  For my daughter, I bought one package of Squinkies and I had a bag of Polly Pockets I had bought at a consignment store.  I also had My Little Ponies in my closet that I used.

E made four of them.  In her girls’ calendars, she tucked nail polish, lip gloss and candy.  In her little guy’s calendar she used a bunch of Hot Wheels she was regifting from her older son.  For her older son, it was LEGO Mini Figures and candy.  They don’t have to be expensive items.  They can be notes, candies, and more.

Making the Calendar

You need an inexpensive 2 ply with lining paper table cloth.  We used a red tablecloth that E picked up at Target for $3.00, ribbon, scissors, and your items.

Cut your tablecloth.  We started the project cutting the tablecloth on the short side because we wanted to make sure we got six calendars out of it.  Because we cut on the short side, we had to tie two panels together.  If you cut the long length, you shouldn’t have to combine more than one panel because it will be long enough.  We cut our strip 8 inches wide so that all of the items would fit.

Decide the pattern of your gifts.  If you are using all candy pieces, you can skip this step.  If you are mixing up candy and toys or notes, you will want to decide how to arrange it.  For example, E used 9 gifts (chapstick, nailpolish, Hot Wheel cars) and her pattern looked like this (the T stands for toy and the C stands for candy).

Tie off the top of your strip with curling ribbon.

Place your item in the tablecloth strip.

Twist the tablecloth around the item so that it covers it up and tie it off (kind of like a little piece of candy or sausage links).

Repeat until you have 25 links for the 25 days counting up until Christmas.

Curl the ribbon and hang from a hook.  You can make a little card with an initial or name to staple to the top of the Advent calendar.

I knotted the ribbon so that little fingers wouldn’t decide to give it a tug.  Each day, I am going to have my kids cut off the next surprise before the tied off ribbon.  I hope this becomes a yearly tradition!

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