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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Advent Calendar

Advent calendars are a fun way to get kids excited about the first season of the church year. I was given the cardboard box kind with a piece of chocolate behind each numbered window until I moved out after high school. Even then, my Mom would send me a care package with one inside every November.

Last year we bought Buddy a Lego Advent calendar, but I thought I could make something better and more special for less money.

The first thing I did was find a matchbox template online so I could make 24 little boxes. There are lots of different ones, but I chose this one. I used paper that could be folded neatly but would keep its shape. I even found some shiny sheets that worked out really well.

The next step was to cut, fold and glue 24 boxes and box covers. This was tedious but not difficult. I found a bit of time here and there and listened to a pod cast, watched some TV or just zoned out while working.

I didn't like the plain white box exterior, so I chose to cover mine in some old wrapping paper. I used number stickers to mark the boxes from 1 to 24 and added some snowflake decals because I can't say no to sparkly things. All the stickers came from the dollar store.

I picked up some split back grip pins from a crafting store and used them as handles for the drawers. I thought this would work better than gluing on buttons because the split back inside the drawer would anchor them.

Add a red bow on top and voila my DIY Advent calendar was finished.

The last step was assembling the boxes into a calendar. I saw a really cool looking one online in the shape of a Christmas tree, but it didn't look very sturdy. I decided to go with a simple stacked shape that could hopefully withstand anything short of an earthquake. I used paper craft glue to secure everything.

The fun part was going to dollar store and picking out gifts to place inside the drawers. I chose candies and gum, rubber bugs and frogs, fake teeth, stick on mustaches, small puzzles, and stationary items. These are all things I know Buddy will like and most of them came in packages that I split and used for two different days or as stocking stuffers.

I placed the items in the drawers and gave everything a shake-test to make sure it could withstand Buddy and probably a curious Grem as well. It seems like it should make it through this year and the next several, which will save me time and a bit of money in the future.

I am not a crafty person by nature, so I am pretty impressed with myself for being able to pull this off. All together it cost me about $30, which is much less than what we paid last year. I know that Buddy is going to love opening the drawers and counting the days of this special season.

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