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#1 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, frugal people, I'm looking for new ideas for both making the advent calendar, and also activities/fun stuff to put in each day....Spam away!  I need to make this in the next day or so.


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#2 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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When we were kids, we simply had a long, wide piece of green felt, decorated with a Christmas tree or a star or something at the top. Then there were pieces of candy - tootsie rolls or something with twisted wrappers at the ends - stapled down the length of the felt. Remive one piece of candy fro the bottom each day - Christmas is at the top!


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#3 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 08:58 AM
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I made a beautiful one out of old candy tins (altoid, etc). I painted them red, silver, and white, and put a hole in the top and tied fishing line to them, with a small bead for the date (1, 2, 3). We put them on a branch. I have mostly things to do (which we would probably do anyway, LOL), like the xmas parade, buy a present for a child in need, make cookies, go out for ice cream, etc. Then for the days that we didn't have an activity to fill in I gave him a piece of candy or a sicker or a tattoo, etc. For every thing to do I wrote it on a piece of paper (i.e. "go to the xmas parade").

 

I got the idea here, but modified it because I wanted them to hang on a branch:


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#4 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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This version, made with cardboard toilet paper rolls, must be one of the most frugal I've ever seen, but quite pretty and practical too. 

 

We use Christmas-themed baby socks, strung along a red ribbon. It's pretty, but a little heavy. Originally we wrapped the ribbon around a long bannister and that worked really well. I find that if we string it along a mantlepiece or windowsill or on the wall, we need strong hooks and adhesives to keep it from falling.

 

 

 

 

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#5 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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I'm thinking about just printing out a December calendar and putting a sticker on for each day.


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#6 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Totally making the toilet paper tube one.  well, one version of the several I ended up finding, lol.  Thanks!  Still looking for ideas for more things to do.


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#7 of 23 Old 11-28-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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Things to do- walk/drive to look at lights, decorate tree, read christmas books, board game night, snowball fight (build snowman, whatever), charlie brown movie night, one day I will take ds shopping to get something for dh, another night he'll take ds to get me something, wrapping gifts night, "boy night" (he stays up as late as he wants with dh playing the wii or watching movies), deliver gifts to some elderly friends of ours, baking day, deliver toys to toys for tots, make cookies....

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#8 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 05:23 AM
 
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Paper snowflakes is always a big hit.  So is Christmas Tree campout (sleeping under the tree - ugh, wish I'd never introduced this one lol). Holiday nails (I let the girls choose RED (I am a "light pink" mom) and put on Christmas nail stickers. Sometimes daddy lets the girls paint his toenails which is always a hoot!), candlelit bubble bath, dress up dinner (another huge favorite)...trying to think of others...

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#9 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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Great ideas - I love that toilet paper roll calendar. I have just been pinning (pinterest) some ideas; strings and little tokens wrapped in burlap and strung off of a frame, tissue wrapped gifts, strung up and stuck on wall with tape.)


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#10 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love the Christmas tree campout idea! 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#11 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I'm making one like pictured below only in fabric.  I'm using a backboard and framing it, and then sewing them as little pocket so the ornaments are open at the top and I can put in either candy or a note (activity, treat, quote)...  Instead of the basic shapes here, I'm using all sorts of shapes (owl, pine cone, penguin, etc.) that I found templates for online.  Mine is also secular, so I will  simply write "A Countdown to Christmas" or some "Peace, Love, Hope, Joy" kinda thing.  

 

 

 

CHRISTmas Tree - ePattern for a Christmas Advent Calendar

 

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#12 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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If you knit - I was also very close to knitting miniature mittens and hanging them along the mantle with numbered tags for each day...  

 

I scoured etsy for ideas: 

12 day Christmas Advent Countdown Garland, FREE Advent Activity Cards

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#13 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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We are doing felt things - ice skates, mittens, stockings, snowmen, ornaments, Christmas trees, etc. - I have cut them out and the kids are gluing and/or hand-sewing them.  We're hanging them similar to the mittens above - on a string with clothespins.  I bought felt by the yard (MUCH cheaper that way), and we're just using whatever embroidery thread/yarn we have in the scrap box.

 

Barring that, I was going to do a paper chain and just write the day's activity on each piece of paper.  (If you only have a day to accomplish it - this may be the way to go!)

 

Some of the activities that we have that haven't been mentioned yet -

- Both my MIL and my father do Christmas out of town with extended family, so we do Christmas with them individually one night prior to them leaving.

- Our local art museum has free admission the first Sunday of the month, and has a Christmas tree display.

- There is a local Christmas parade that we are going to go to.  (Check around in your local area - we've never heard of the parade or the museum until I started googling to find stuff for us to do for the advent calendar.)

- There is also a local holiday market that we will go to.

- I got wooden ornament cutouts from a craft store that come with markers for the kids to color.

- Setting up the nativity set.

- Setting up the stockings on the mantle.

- Call a relative we haven’t spoken with in a while and sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
- Opening new jammies and slipper is slated for Christmas Eve.

- We have two days where DD will go out with DH and I separately to purchase stocking stuffers for the other parent, and DS will stay home with whichever parent isn't shopping to bake cookies or play trains or something.

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#14 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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This is what I made for the kids last year. The bags are good size for putting either cards with an activity listed on it or treats.
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#15 of 23 Old 11-29-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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Here's the one we made for ds last year. It's a foam board backing then we just used construction paper and some stickers I already had.

 

b5138e36_248b21424083b2f35c5b99741c88f583.jpg


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#16 of 23 Old 11-30-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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I made this in about a day --between caring for my children and doing household stuff and whatnot. If you did it after the kiddos are in bed it would only take a couple hours at the most.  It's a big piece of carboard, cut like a Christmas tree and painted green. Then. I made 24 cardboard Christmas lights, painted and glittered them quite haphazardly lol... Made a star from cardboard and painted/glittered it. Then I folded and stapled construction paper into envelopes and hot-glued the entire thing together. I ♥ hot glue. It looks pretty nice and it was completely free with craft supplies/recycleables we already had. My oldest also helped as well, so it was a fun activity to do together.

 

As far as activities, the posters above had great ideas. We also do a couple activities more than once, such as making hot chocolate and looking at Christmas lights. We do that once a week at least during the holidays.

 

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#17 of 23 Old 11-30-2011, 01:27 PM
 
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We do a simple paper chain with red and green construction paper.  We make three of them and the kids take delight in tearing off a link of their chain each morning.

 

I didn't have construction paper on hand this year, so made them with printer paper and let the kids decorate them.  Cheap holiday fun. 


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#18 of 23 Old 11-30-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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*


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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#19 of 23 Old 11-30-2011, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!  Here's what I came up with.  I still have a few more butts to wipe before I can finish.  I'm going to add in the activities each day as we go so that we can be flexible about when we do things.  I'll try to post my list of activities tomorrow.  I got so many fantastic ideas!

 

002.JPG

 

I already had the board w/the fabric on it, and the silver ribbon was on there already.  I had to put some stuff on the corners to cover up some spots so some ribbons and bows and ornaments the kids painted went there.


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#20 of 23 Old 12-01-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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Are those toilet paper tubes? How awesome! I saw the toilet paper tube idea *after* I made mine, but I may do that next year - or sew little felt pouches. Good job, especially in such a short amount of time!!

 

Also, the idea about adding activities one or two days at a time for flexability is a great idea, and we do that as well because some days I may not feel like making 2 dozen sugar cookies and other days I may be inspired, know what I mean? -- or we may not hear about an event until a day or two beforehand so I find doing it that way makes my life a lot easier and I don't have to think of 24 activities at once!


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#21 of 23 Old 12-01-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post

Thanks everyone!  Here's what I came up with.  



Cool! Well done. As are the others that pp have shared here...Sigh, I just realized it's already Dec. 1 and once again, ours isn't up and it isn't as if threads like this one haven't been giving me reminders. 

 

 

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#22 of 23 Old 12-01-2011, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, those are tp tubes. 

 

Yes, exactly why I want to put them in the day of too!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumble Bumbles View Post

Are those toilet paper tubes? How awesome! I saw the toilet paper tube idea *after* I made mine, but I may do that next year - or sew little felt pouches. Good job, especially in such a short amount of time!!

 

Also, the idea about adding activities one or two days at a time for flexability is a great idea, and we do that as well because some days I may not feel like making 2 dozen sugar cookies and other days I may be inspired, know what I mean? -- or we may not hear about an event until a day or two beforehand so I find doing it that way makes my life a lot easier and I don't have to think of 24 activities at once!


Ok, here's my list of activities...

 

Make a gumdrop tree!

Make snowflakes!

Bake Christmas cookies!

Decorate Pretzel sticks with chocolate and sprinkles! 

Look under your pillow!  (I'll put a piece of chocolate under their pillows)

Make gift tags!

Make dog biscuits!

Elf Yourself!

Make reindeer food to sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve!

Red, White, and Green Christmas Supper!

Family Game Night by the Christmas Tree!

Write a letter to Santa!

Make lanterns!

Go on a lantern walk on Solstice!

Attend a Christmas Event!

Go see Arthur Christmas!

Make birdseed ornaments!

Make and eat ice cream snowmen!

Read the Legend of the Poinsettia and make paper poinsettias!

Go on a Christmas treasure hunt!  Look in Santa’s hand for the first clue! (the treasure will be a pile of Christmas jokes)

Take a drive and look at Christmas lights!

Have a campout under the Christmas tree!

Watch a Christmas movie and have hot chocolate!

Decorate the Christmas Tree!

Have a Family Christmas Concert!

 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#23 of 23 Old 12-02-2011, 05:22 PM
 
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I was reading on a couple of blogs that some families do "Random Acts of Kindness" Advent calendars.  LOVE this idea.  We swapped out a couple of our original activities for random acts of kindness.  Some of the ones we plan to do:

 

Bring coffee/hot chocolate and a baked treat to a Salvation Army bell ringer.

Bringing treats to the post office.  (Mail carriers get a lot of tips and gifts from the people they deliver mail to, but the clerks and mail handlers don't get nearly as much!)

We're going to leave treats by the front door of some friends that we haven't seen in awhile.  Anonymously.

Tape microwave popcorn to Redbox machine.

We're going to leave a couple of plates of baked goodies for the UPS guy.  We live at the bottom of a hill (our driveway goes down a hill, and there's not enough room for the UPS truck to turn around in our driveway, so he walks all the way down the hill and all the way back up to deliver our packages, and he's been here practically every day this week.)

Put candy canes on cars in a parking lot.

 

For the anonymous ones, we are planning to include a note that says something about this being a random act of kindness for the holiday season.

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