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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Craft: Make Your Own Advents Calendar (Or Fancy Modern Art Project!) This Year

(This is an image of a typical advents calendar filled with chocolates, sold by amazon)

I grew up with "Adventskalendern" in Germany. These things where you get to open one window every day during the month of December until Christmas, you know.
When I was a kid, most of them were simple and filled with chocolates.
Nowadays you can find them in all sizes and shapes, filled with toys, candy, little books, or you can get them empty and fill them up yourself. 
Even though I'm not religious, this tradition has grown to me (or is it grown on me??? Whenever I'm tired my English is leaving me...) and I still love getting the calendars every year (I have to remind my husband, otherwise I'd be disappointed :-)

And of course I want our kids to enjoy them as well. But I refuse to buy the calendars and then, after one month of use, throw them out. Too much waste, money, and resources involved in that.
So I thought about how I could make my own. And one that looks interesting enough to be noticed and loved by our 4 year old boy.

And this is what I came up with:

Voila - our "hanging boxes from a snow-covered branch advents calendar"

It looks really pretty and our son was psyched when he discovered it hanging in the morning. Unfortunately I wasn't able to capture the real look of it - the pictures just give a slight idea of how it really looks.

This is what I used:
  • Dry branch from outside (about 3 1/2 feet)
  • 2 balls of white yarn (I usually stock up at garage and house sales whenever I see some nice yarn)
  • Cotton balls 
  • Illusion cord (optional)
  • Scissors
  • 2 ceiling hooks
  • 24 paper boxes (made of old holiday cards - click on the link to see the post with instructions)
  • Needle
  • Glue
  • 24 little surprises (get creative!)

This is how I did it:

  1. I wrapped the branch tightly with the yarn
  2. The ends that were still visible I covered with cotton balls
  3. I hang the branch up on two ceiling hooks (put in place by my husband) with illusion cord (yarn will work just as well)
  4. With a needle, I made holes in the lid of each box and threaded illusion cord (yarn will do just fine) through them
  5. I then hang all the (filled!) boxes on the branch
Depending on how old your kids are they could get involved in creating it. I had a lot of fun doing this project, and I hope you will, too!


  1. hi manuela,

    this is fantastic!! i totally want to do this. any hints on making boxes?

    great to see you this weekend,
    sarah fronhofer kim

  2. hey sarah,
    same here!

    did you look at the "box post"?
    it's the post before the calendar with pretty good instructions (at least so I think :-)
    otherwise you might have to stop by and watch me do one - it's really easy once you get the hang of it.
    have fun!