DIY advent calendar - ideas? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-18-2009, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, this year I am finally going to get off my butt and make my own advent calendar for the kids. Future plans include sewing one, but for now I think I'll use an idea I saw of decorating 24 little envelopes (and numbering them 1-24), stringing them on a nice ribbon, and putting a crafty or christmassy idea in each one for us to do that day (or a little treat if I run out of ideas!). So that's where this thread comes in. I'm looking for christmas craft or activity ideas.

Also, more specifically I'm looking for good-looking-end-result DIY-by-kids Christmas tree ornament ideas (mostly doable by my 5 yr old, but if there are any ideas that a 2 yr old could make that would be great too). This is the first year that we'll be "doing" Christmas at our house, and so the first year that we'll have a tree, so we don't have any ornaments yet. I'd love for most of them to be hand-made. I have a big stash of yarn and fabric and some buttons that could be used, as well as other conventional kid crafty stuff.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#2 of 14 Old 11-18-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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Family Fun usually has good ideas:
http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/holid...mas-ornaments/

Enjoy!
-e

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#3 of 14 Old 11-18-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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#4 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 12:20 AM
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Make a tree out of the kids handprints (green paint on paper). In the envelopes, put things that would be the ornaments (stickers, yarn for tinsel, etc. ) I would have the star be the last one.

Amy

Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#5 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post
Also, more specifically I'm looking for good-looking-end-result DIY-by-kids Christmas tree ornament ideas (mostly doable by my 5 yr old, but if there are any ideas that a 2 yr old could make that would be great too). This is the first year that we'll be "doing" Christmas at our house, and so the first year that we'll have a tree, so we don't have any ornaments yet. I'd love for most of them to be hand-made. I have a big stash of yarn and fabric and some buttons that could be used, as well as other conventional kid crafty stuff.

Our favorite for this is to get the premade paper mache ornaments. Cover in white paint. Let dry. Tear tissue paper up and use mod podge to apply. Do a final coat of mod podge and sprinkle some clear glitter on them. These always look cool--kinda like stained glass and with supervision the 2 year old CAN do this. Sometimes we use lots of colors, sometimes a bunch of shades of a particular color, etc. We always tear the tissue, cutting just doesn't look as good in our opinion.

Amy

Mom to three very active girls Anna (14), Kayla (11), Maya (8). 
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#6 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Great ideas! Thanks mamas!


Any others out there?

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#7 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 06:35 AM
 
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For hanging on the tree we made salt dough (I think it was i cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt with enough water to make a dough)

The kids cut out shapes with cookie cutters then after they were dry (which took several days) they painted them. I would seal them with spray varnish or something. Certainly don't keep them in with the rest of your decorations, ours got a bit damp last year so when we got the decorations out we had one big sticky lump

We've also cut shapes from stiff card and the kids went to town with glitter glue.

We did paper bunting one year, DD decorated the flag with markers, stickers etc and I cut out letters to spell out Merry Chirstmas and stuck them on.

I fancy making these this year
http://crafts.kaboose.com/yarn-ornaments.html

I like the gods eyes too, especially made with quite small sticks
http://www.make-stuff.com/recycling/gods_eye.html

my kids also like making paper chains.
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#8 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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Long ago I made the Advent garland with Christmas-themed baby socks featured in Martha Stewart Kids magazine. There are lots of versions on-line. It's very simple - just take 12 pairs of baby socks (matching or not). I sewed on little package tags numbered 1 to 24. I use mini-clothes pegs to hang them on a red ribbon. It's one of our traditions, so I haven't replaced it with anything else, although I keep seeing terrific ideas.

My favourite is a Steiner/Waldorf inspired Advent Stick using little treasures from nature. You may have to scroll down to the Nov. 28, 2006 entry to find the post.
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#9 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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Last year I was really pleased with how we did an Advent calendar. I got holiday-themed scrapbooking paper and cut it in squares. On each one I drew a picture of and described a special treat for the day. I rolled these up and tied them with ribbon and put a little sticker on the outside with a small symbol so I knew which paper was which. These were all put into a large glass jar. I made myself a key to all the papers. Then each day dh and I would look at what was left on the list and tell dd to find that symbol in the jar. They were almost all things to do: lantern walk at night, tea party, bake cookies with mama, decorate the tree, go out to lunch, etc. A lot of them were things we do anyway, but they were special when they were picked out of the jar. Since they didn't have numbers on them that dd didn't understand anyway, we able to be flexible about when to do the things in the jar.

I'm looking forward to reading through other ideas here, especially since it's almost December! Eek!
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#10 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ecoteat View Post
Last year I was really pleased with how we did an Advent calendar. I got holiday-themed scrapbooking paper and cut it in squares. On each one I drew a picture of and described a special treat for the day. I rolled these up and tied them with ribbon and put a little sticker on the outside with a small symbol so I knew which paper was which. These were all put into a large glass jar. I made myself a key to all the papers. Then each day dh and I would look at what was left on the list and tell dd to find that symbol in the jar. They were almost all things to do: lantern walk at night, tea party, bake cookies with mama, decorate the tree, go out to lunch, etc. A lot of them were things we do anyway, but they were special when they were picked out of the jar. Since they didn't have numbers on them that dd didn't understand anyway, we able to be flexible about when to do the things in the jar.

I'm looking forward to reading through other ideas here, especially since it's almost December! Eek!
That's a great idea - I especially like being able to be flexible about when to do things. My thought is if I go the numbered envelope route I won't fill them all at once but just fill them as we go along, so I'll be able to better tell which activity would work on which day. I also like the idea of including whatever festivities you might otherwise do. A friend and I are already planning on taking our oldest dc to a local museum that is doing a family Christmas craft activity so I'll include that, and I'll include my dd's school Christmas recital, and on a different day her violin recital. Also my parents are coming to visit us so I think I'll have "pick up Grandma and Grandpa at the train station" as one of our activities. Other things I've thought of are baking cookies, buying the tree, making ornaments, decorating the tree, going out for hot chocolate, donating gifts and/or food, going on a shopping trip for this year's "special" tree ornament (something my mom and I did every year before Christmas).

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#11 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 02:39 PM
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Craftzine blog has some wonderful ideas. Here are a few of my favs:


http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/20...nt_calend.html

http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/20..._spool_ad.html

http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/20...more_adve.html

http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/20...advent_ca.html

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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#12 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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Long ago I made the Advent garland with Christmas-themed baby socks featured in Martha Stewart Kids magazine. There are lots of versions on-line. It's very simple - just take 12 pairs of baby socks (matching or not). I sewed on little package tags numbered 1 to 24. I use mini-clothes pegs to hang them on a red ribbon. It's one of our traditions, so I haven't replaced it with anything else, although I keep seeing terrific ideas.
This is so awesome. My mom just handed me a bag of tiny baby Chrismtas gloves (seriously, like 30 pair?) and said - I thought you could do something with these. So um, YEAH. Now I'm doing this - but with gloves. I think I can put them on a ribbon across the mantle (we never make a fire in the fireplace anyway). I'm trying to think of 24 activities - I have the big ones (put up tree, put out lights outside, hang stockings, make cookies...) but need to mix in some small ones as well.
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#13 of 14 Old 11-19-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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I don't know about the advent calendar, but let me share my Christmas tree ornament story, if I may

Christmas 11 years ago I was a newly divorced, young, dirt poor mama with three little boys. Somebody gave me a Christmas tree, but I couldn't afford to buy any ornaments or other decorations. At first I was really depressed about it, but then I found some simple cheap ideas for homemade ornaments and decorations, and we would listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate and craft away And it turned out to be such a magical Christmas, one of my most favorite ever So to this day I only allow homemade ornaments (mostly the kids, but I make them too) on our tree as a reminder. We try to make something new every year and it's become a favorite tradition.

We love the salt dough ornaments mentioned above. We've actually done that a couple times.
For little ones, pinecones rolled in glue and then in glitter, are good.
One year I cut out felt gingerbread men and the kids decorated them with sequins and ribbons and stuff. Snowmen too.
Paper cutouts decorated with glitter. Glittery paper snowflakes.
One of my favorites, but not so fun for the kids, was a dough mixed with cinnamon, glue, and applesauce- can't remember the exact amounts, but I'm sure its online somewhere. These ornaments smell SO GOOD and I've got some from 3 years ago that still smell.
I see a bunch of good ones on familyfun.com too.
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#14 of 14 Old 11-20-2009, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mazajo View Post
I don't know about the advent calendar, but let me share my Christmas tree ornament story, if I may

Christmas 11 years ago I was a newly divorced, young, dirt poor mama with three little boys. Somebody gave me a Christmas tree, but I couldn't afford to buy any ornaments or other decorations. At first I was really depressed about it, but then I found some simple cheap ideas for homemade ornaments and decorations, and we would listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate and craft away And it turned out to be such a magical Christmas, one of my most favorite ever So to this day I only allow homemade ornaments (mostly the kids, but I make them too) on our tree as a reminder. We try to make something new every year and it's become a favorite tradition.
Thank you for sharing your lovely Christmas story.
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