Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent Calendar

I have an unexplained fascination with Advent calendars. Maybe it’s because I like To Do Lists so much, and Advent calendars are a physical way to cross something off a list. To me, opening another door in a countdown box is like getting mail on a Sunday!

Years ago, a friend had a LEGO Advent calendar for her kids. I bought our first one in 2010. They are expensive (about $40), but who doesn’t like LEGOs? The problem is I have two kids, and I’m too cheap to spend $80 for 24 days of fun. So in 2010, I also had 24 Christmas books that we read each night after the kids took turns opening a door in the LEGO calendar.

In 2011, I still had the plastic insert from the inside of 2010’s box. Click here to see what I did with the plastic insert last year, in addition to buying the 2011 LEGO calendar.

This year I used the same plastic insert, but made it Better! Than! Ever! and had to share.

Last year’s insert was transparent. Even though it was covered in tissue paper and wrapping paper, it was too easy for peeking eyes to see inside. So this year, I started by spray painting it red. That helped!_MDS2499

I folded 24 pieces of paper into origami half-boxes to fit the top of each hole. It sounds crazy, but I figure if I do it once I won’t have to do it again. Since the lids are snug in the holes, I decided they needed a handle or a knob for pulling them out. This is my brilliant addition:_MDS2505

I took spherical thumb tacks and poked them through the center of the box lids, then put a pencil eraser on the pointy end of the tack (the underside of the box lid) to hold them on._MDS2501

I punched circles out of matching paper and wrote the door’s number on it before gluing the circle to the box lid and sticking it in the appropriate day’s spot._MDS2498

What’s inside the countdown doors? Little globes with Ickee Stickeez inside (Squinkies with suction cup bottoms) that I found on clearance, plus a gluten-free chocolate coin. (I realized too late that white chocolate coins have gluten, so Katie had to open the odd numbered doors with the white chocolate coins and Jackson opened the even numbered doors that had regular chocolate coins.)_MDS2500

I bought the regular LEGO Advent calendar again this year so the kids could take turns opening both calendars. Turns out the kids loved my homemade one way better than the store-bought one. Next year, I’m planning to skip the $40 price tag and turn this year’s empty into another winner!_MDS2496

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