Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Go ahead, Pin It.

This will be our 8th Christmas together, and our 6th Christmas with kids.  We are still forming our traditions and figuring out how Christmas works for us. (You know, like which of our family's traditions we should keep, which ones we should make fun of, and which we should throw out.)

One thing I have always loved about Christmas is the decorations.  I always looked forward to my mom turning on our Barbara Streisand record and opening up the gajillions of boxes of decorations and finding places around our house for each one.   I loved a set of stained glass candle holders that we set in the window sill that looked so pretty to me when we lit the candles at night. I especially loved a little ceramic music box house with a tiny Santa Clause that could stand on the chimney.  But one of the best parts of Christmas were the advent calendars.  We usually made strands of candy garland with saran wrap and individual pieces of candy (carefully rationed to each of the 6 kids, if you know my mom).  It was sad to watch the candy disappear, but that just meant Christmas was getting closer!

A few weeks ago I saw a Scandinavian type Music Box Advent Calendar with little doors that open for treats.  It seemed like all of my Christmas dreams in one giant $150 dream!  Well, not quite.   You see, I have a problem buying a special keepsake like that at Costco.  I want it to have a memory attached.  Like buying it at Leavenworth on our First Anniversary (like the snowflakes on my Christmas Tree) or ornaments from our trip to Disneyland with the kids (also on our tree).  And, at this point in life, I am not spending $150 on an Advent Calendar from Costco.  (P.S.  Don't hate me if you bought it at Costco. I will still be jealous of your cool new toy.)

Since I didn't have $150 or the desire to buy a memory-less keepsake I took matters into my own cheap hands.  I went to pinterest and saw a cute felt tree that you could make for toddlers.  My kids love felt story stuff.  And suddenly I knew what I could make into an Advent Calendar! (oh, and now that I just copied this to my blog and actually went to the site it was from --- because you know on pinterest you never actually go to the site, you just repin the pic, right?-- it turns out they already had a felt advent calendar on the blog.  Apparently I did not invent this concept. But I totally made it cooler!)   And thus the creative juices began flowing....

(Apparently she knows how to take good pictures of her crafts and her clean hardwood floors)

I ended up deciding to combine the idea of the Felt Advent Calendar with a family tradition we have had of reading scriptures about Jesus every night before Christmas.   I think it helps us remember that the Christmas Season is actually about Christ and not Santa and Rudolph. And that we aren't just counting down to presents, but to the most Sacred Birth ever.

So here goes my Not So Tutorial.  (Because this isn't actually a craft blog and I don't do the whole tutorial thing.)

These are all of the "ornaments" I cut out.  One for each day counting down to Christmas.  They each have a scripture or short activity (written on the outside of the envelope) to read that night.  I just used felt and some little bling.  (It isn't a Christmas Tree without some bling.)

(check out my clean caret)

Here are each of the envelopes with the ornament inside.  Then each night a child picks one, we read the verses and talk then hang it on the tree.  (At first I tried to think of a way that they could each do one every night to avoid the fighting over turns.  Then I realized kids need to learn how to wait for their turn- delay of gratification -  and anyways, what's the Advent Calendar without some sibling squabling??)

I should have thought about taking pics of this before, so that I could write it in really adorable handwriting... or maybe with vinyl lettering.
Here is what it will look like with all of the ornaments on Christmas Day.

I don't know how the side got curled like that for the pic.  Maybe because I was wrestling 3 kids away from the finished product so I could snap a shot and they were excited and I was tired and the tree took the brunt of it.  I promise it is symmetrical and not all funky.

Here is what it looks like right now, having only had 3 days (and ornaments).

My photography skills are impressive.  Don't be jealous, you probably have other talents that I don't posses.  Like doing hair. (Oh wait, I rock that too.)  Or being really cool. (Yep, another one I own.) Ok, Ok, you just have to be happy with your own talents and not always jealous of me.

Here is a list of the cut outs and their Scriptures.  Although I totally recommend coming up with your own - since half the fun was looking up scriptures about the Savior and His birth that I think our family will love.  But, if it is the 4th of December and you didn't buy the Scandinavian Music Box Advent Calendar and you need to hurry and get something so your kids know when Christmas is, and you want to whip it out today during nap time because you have a 40% off coupon at Joann's that you don't know what to do with, and you don't feel like reinventing this, you can use my ideas.  (This is a Not So Tutorial after all.)

In no particular order, although I am trying to order mine a little.

Crown:  Psalms 47:7
Dove: 1 Nephi 11:27
World: 3 Nephi 1:13
Heart:  John 3:16
Manger: Luke 2:7
Candy Cane: Shepherds- Luke 2:8-17
Candle: John 8:12
Gift: Wiseman- Matt 2:1-2
Angel: Luke 2:9-14
Donkey: Luke 2: 1-6 (for next year I think I might lose the donkey and do one about Mary, we'll see)
Peace Symbol: John 14:27
Drop of Blood: D&C 19:16-19, 23
Tree:  Read the book Three Trees (my fave)
Stocking: talk about how Santa is nice to give us gifts, but the point of Christmas is the pure love of Christ and His birth
Hand (I traced Macie's hand for this one! so cute): service- Mosiah 2:17
Bread: Matt 26: 26-28
Cross: Matt 28: 5-7
"W": for Wonderful Isaiah 9:6
Star: Matt 2:9-10
5 Circle Ornaments:  each one is one of the people in our family, when they open that one we will play the I Love You Game and talk about why they are special to us and why the are special to Christ.

So, Scandinavian Style Music Box Advent Calendar purchased on a memorable occasion with spare money I have laying around, you will just have to wait.  This year- we are going with felt.


  1. i love it katie! that is so cool. here's how uncrafty i am....i wondered how may of those 8x11 sheets of felt at walmart it took to make your tree. then i realized they probably sell it on bolts at the fabric store :) haha
    i totally want to make one of those!

    1. Don't worry, I only recently discovered felt in bulk! lol, we can be Non-Crafters together!