Paper Bag Advent Calendar

I know, I know – I promised a lot more Thanksgiving posts, but the truth is, I was too busy getting ready for Thanksgiving to post about it.  I’ll try to do a better job next time.

Easy and potentially free paper bag advent calendar.  Instructions and printable locations found at ThisLittlePigStayedHome.comI will also try to be a better blogger during Christmas.  Who am I kidding?!  I’ve got 16 people coming to my house during the holidays.  I will barely have time to put a new roll of toilet paper in the guest bathrooms each day.  They may have to stare at an extra large bag of double roll TP stacked up beside the toilet.

My oldest Piggy loves to look at our family calendar!  He especially likes when I draw pictures on special days so he can count how many more days until so-and-so is coming, or such-and-such is happening.  Christmas has been an awful wait for the poor lad.  You would think I was withholding his daily grool the way he has to pine for the next day to arrive.advent calendar 3

I decided that this would be a perfect time for an Advent Calendar.  Since I decided on it just yesterday, I had to think of something quick and potentially free!  I took to Pinterest!  Thankfully, there are some very crafty folks that have no life, like me lots of great ideas they put online for the rest of us poor schmucks.  I found lots of things I liked, but I needed something FAST!  And did I mention easy?

Here’s what we came up with…  I used our art wall as the Advent Calendar.  I hung up some extra garland I wasn’t using to decorate this year and just needed to add the bags.  Perfect!

advent calendar 2Here’s how I made them:

1.  Luckily, I had lots of brown sandwich bags in the pantry.  I counted out 24 of those and put them on the counter.

2.  I needed numbers for the bags and thought these were adorable.  I found them here! I cut those out and glued them to the front of the bag.

3.  Now I needed something to go inside.  I wanted a scripture, because after all, that’s what we need to focus on during the season, but some that I’ve encountered have been too hard.  I found this site that is basically the story of Christmas broken down into individual verses and easy for children to understand.  I printed those off and put them in the bag as well.

4.  The next thing I wanted to include in the bag was a family activity.  I found two that I couldn’t decide between.  I printed off this one, and this one.  Both had great ideas, but I needed to omit some because of their age, or because Billy works at night and I wanted to make sure he could be included in as many as possible (or they were things that would be easier with 2 adults).

5.  I printed off this calendar to help me keep track of what activity I would be doing each night.  I like this part!  It allows me to look ahead and panic the night before when I don’t have the ingredients to make gingerbread cookies.  No sweat!  I can take out this activity and switch it with another if I need to with no toddler the wiser!

advent calendar 16.  Together, Billy and I looked at our own schedules, when company was coming, what days he has off work, and chose activities that would fit in with our life.  The best part – THEY CAN’T READ!  If all else fails, I can tell them that the card says that we have to pick out a Christmas movie to watch, and they’ll be as happy as ever!  In fine print it will also say that Momma needs to have a hot toddy to go along with the movie, but they don’t need to know that.  🙂

7.  Next, I wanted to add a treat of some sort.  I didn’t want it to be big or expensive or time consuming.  I raided their Halloween candy and dropped some chocolate in about 1/4 of the bags.  I also pillaged through their treasure box and put little hotwheel cars into another 1/4 of the bags.  The final bags are waiting to be filled with some things I ordered.  You can make the treat part as elaborate or cheap as you wish.  I bought very cheap stuff – the kind of stuff they get out of the treasure box at school that goes into the garbage (or recycled into my own treasure box) immediately the first time they’re not looking!  I did find these cute little nativity rubber duckies, though.  I got them both a set.  That will take up 1/2 their days.

8.  Finally, I folded over the top of the bag, punched two holes, grabbed some red organza ribbon that I had in the craft drawer, and tied up the bag.  The ones that are not completely tied are the ones that need treasure once my package with goodies arrives in the mail.  I made sure this week was covered!  Also, because the calendar itself is decorating that wall, this morning when they opened the bag, we took out the treats, put the scripture back inside to read next year, and I clipped the activity card at the top of the bag on the outside so we can see what we’ve done (and what day we are on next).

I think it turned out great!  It took about 3 hours from the time I sat down to look on Pinterest until the bags were hung.  Honestly, what took the longest was decided what activities to do each night.  If you have two adults at home each night, it should be easier for you.

advent calendar 5Tonight, this is my view.  “All is calm!  All is bright!”  (Because my kids are sleeping, and I’m dreaming about the advent calendar my friend’s family made for her.)advent calendar 4

It would be a whole lot calmer and brighter around here with THAT advent calendar!  Maybe Momma will make her own adult advent calendar next year. 🙂



Speak Your Mind