How to DIY an Advent Calendar When You’re CHEAP & BUSY
Tis’ the season to be spending money and the last thing you want to do is break your budget with a DIY $45 advent calendar. Although it can be very tempting when you see all the adorable designs people have come up with. The ones I gravitate towards have simple rustic, yet elegant designs. Unfortunately I can’t justify $20 on boxes and even more for a large wood backboard. I guess it’s for the best, since my toddler wouldn’t respect or appreciate the aesthetics.
Or my husband, for that matter. I don’t get it… If a golf ball rolling across the grass is a sight he can’t peel his eyes from, why can’t he understand my admiration for clean white boxes, distressed wood and a little natural greenery to accent?
Don’t look at me like that. I’m not crazy…
So, in the spirit of toddlerhood and frugality, I managed to find colored favor bags at party city for a total of $4 for the 24. The colors will make it pop and I won’t be so worried about my son tearing anything up. More importantly, it’s quick. With all the holiday shopping, decorating, potty training and round-the-friggin’-clock breastfeeding, there isn’t much time or energy left. That being said, I have been looking forward to the day I could start the advent calendar tradition. Also, thanks to my brilliant idea to show my son last year’s Christmas photos and explain what happens (you know, to get him excited), he has realized that he gets presents on Christmas and is constantly asking if it’s “present time”. Each time, I have to pop his balloon by telling him that it’s not. So this should be a great way to hold him over.Not counting the cutting tools, everything here was about $13. That includes my Dollar Store poster board underneath it all.Click the image or download the pdf here.
I found most the goodies at party city, which meant one less store I had to drag the kids to. It would have been nice to keep everything Christmas-themed, but I really didn’t want to buy large packs of toys for my one tot. Thankfully, they have options of buying the single items instead. Girls especially have a lot of choices when it comes to goodies. Well, when it comes to anything.
Other options would be to use candies, cookies, symbols used to tell a story, or you can write down fun activities to do each day. The activities is my favorite option because it creates those great traditions and memories, but I’m going to hold out on that one for a bit.
Depending on how you display your treats, this shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete. Even less if you turn it into a family project. My guy helped by squishing the bags as I finished them. To distract him, I cut down a spare one and added some ribbon handles. He then decided to go “shopping”, drove to the store and picked up random tiny objects to put in his bag before driving home and showing me his groceries. I can’t describe how much I love watching him pretend like that. It sure takes me back.
To finish everything off, I glued clothespins to the poster board and made this tree pattern. Eventually I cut the tree out, reinforced the trunk section with the leftover pieces, and leaned it up against the wall. My son has been great about not touching it, but I won’t be surprised if I come around the corner one day to find everything torn apart… I’m kind of asking for it, aren’t I?
Blank spaces would drive me nuts so I’m going to be folding the bags flat and sticking them back on the board. To get a little more learning out of this, I’m also going to be showing my son the calendar (which has past days crossed off) and asking him what the number of today is. Then he can find the number himself. This way he will have to focus on the number while also becoming familiar with the concept of a calendar and how the days come and go.
I don’t know what I was thinking… See you all later, I’m going to go find a better location.
Have fun making your own advent calendar!
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