Calendar Focus

By Kate Riley October 26, 2009

I recently browsed through the latest Garnet Hill and couldn’t be more smitten with these:

Buckets of Joy Advent Calendar, $48

buckets of joy advent calendar

Hats and Mittens Advent Calendar, $78

mittens advent calendar

I’ve always wanted an Advent Calendar, and I am thinking of creating one in the upcoming weeks.  Do you follow this tradition ?  Have you ever made an Advent Calendar ?  Know of any other great DIY links to get me inspired ?

Finally, I give you permission to slap me for discussing Advent before Halloween has come and gone.  I’m officially as guilty as the retail stores.  But CG is known to plan ahead . . .


  1. I love advent calendars! I have only had ones when I was little from church, but I would love one of the ones like you posted. They would be such a joy to bring out every Christmas. It’s a great ritual to start with kids, I think. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I absolutely love advent calendars. My mother used to buy my brother and me the ones with the chocolate inside. I’ve wanted to do one with my boyfriend where we write fun things to each other, but I haven’t thought of precisely how to package the whole thing. Target sells some great pre-made Advent Calendars, but it’d be so fun to make my own. I’m looking forward to seeing what people suggest on this one.

  3. SLAP! But I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with! :)
    I was on the hunt for an Advent calendar (a long-standing family tradition) for years, and ended up buying a not-too-cute one from Lilly Vernon. Of course, a week after, my mom gave me ours…the one she made when we were babies which is beautiful…a big sheet of burlap, sewn with felt pockets and numbers with little felt shapes cut out and a baby Jesus figurine at the end. You’d take the felt figurine out of the pocket and stick it on a big felt Christmas tree with a little crib with hay underneath. (Of course we used to fight over the baby Jesus…because who could possibly remember who got to put him in his crib LAST year?) I love the ideas that don’t involve toys/candy…just because our kids all get enough of that anyways…maybe a cute little “duty” for the day that involves sharing/giving/helping.
    That’s my two sense…can’t wait to see what you discover.

  4. Oh, I can’t wait to see what you end up doing! I’ve been searching for a pre-made Avent Calendar, but I either haven’t like them or I haven’t liked the price.

  5. Years ago I made an advent calendar for my children. They look forward to it each year, and are excited to introduce their baby sister to it this year. They really are wonderful to do with kids.

  6. CG- It is not too early to think about Adent Calendars because if you wait too long then you will find yourself starting the Advent late….
    I love them and have created several over the years. My most favorite SIMPLE one. Gather the treat…Windmill cookies, or gingerbread men are my favs…. lay out celophane or plastic wrap a bit longer than the length of the 24 treats…. place the treats in a long row on celophane…. wrap sides of celophane over treats….. tie a ribbon, twine, or yarn between each treat…. Snip off a treat for each day with scissors. Fun Thanksgiving activity to do with kids.

  7. My mom always had a very special advent calendar for my sister and I. It was a tradition and we loved it. This year I have 25 Christmas books I am wrapping and putting under our tree. Since my boys LOVE to read books at night they will alternate opening one every evening and we will read it before they go to sleep. I can hardly wait to continue the tradition.

  8. Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made posted an awesome DIY tutorial for an advent calendar that becomes a scavenger hunt earlier this month! (You’ll have to search for Advent Calendar, because I can’t seem to get a direct link.) LOVE her blog! :-)

  9. Love the idea of the buckets. Does get the juices going doesn’t it. Hmmm…I have a picture tree that I was going to start re-vamping for each season. Change the photos for Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Maybe I can do something like that in the Winter. A cute pic of the kids each year with a # and item for that day they can get after reading a Christmas book or scripture together. Better get working on it. Come on by for a visit. Holly at

  10. I made an advent calendar (I’ll have to see if I can dig up a picture) using scrapbooking paper. I made it into stocking shapes and hung them on a giant tree branch. I”ve gotten so many compliments on it and I love it!

  11. Totally cute bucket one!!! Love it! I made one last year that is made out of a mini muffin pan. (It has 24 small spots) You just get magnetic sheets (i got mine from the dollar store) and then cut them to cover the holes and make the tops all cute.
    There is a picture on this blog post.
    Since they are small holes, we are using our advent calendar a little differently. It will have the name of a children’s christmas story that we will read each day and a coordinating kids craft to go with it. Does that make sense AT ALL? hahahaha
    Love your blog! :)

  12. I love advent calendars and we always had one for the boys when they were little. I think I got mine at a Christmas bazaar one time. It was made from a long strip of burlap and had 25 pieces of red yarn on it. I tied a piece of peppermint candy on each yarn piece for each day of December. And guess what happened on Christmas morning? Instead of racing for the presents under the tree they would race for the last piece of peppermint candy on the calender. ahhhh….love the memory of it.

  13. I love advent calendars! We have a big one that is a house. There is a door for everyday in December. The hardest thing about it is finding things small enough to fit in the doors without being candy everyday! And last year we also did the advent calendar from Uppercase Living – put it on the fridge, and my 5 year old LOVED being able to put a “sticker” on the tree everyday.
    Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  14. I LOVE advent calendars. We were raised with the chocolate calendars and last year for my kiddos I bought a wood one that has 25 doors on it. It is super cute and was so much fun watching the kids open a “door” every day. I love both of these ideas and can’t wait to see what you come up with.


  15. Those are so cute! I have a ton bookmarked from last year that I wanted to try. I actually have mini buckets already…hmm…

  16. We always had one when the kids were home. I usually found the kind with chocolate behind the doors and the kids loved them. I can’t see doing it just for us…we are very aware of how fast the time goes!


  17. We did one years ago in MOPS, and I still put it up, my kids are now 16 and 20! I will have to look for the pattern. It is all out of felt and it is a tree with the 25 different ornaments, using velcro for them to stick on. Took a lot of time but glad that I still use it.

  18. I love these versions of Advent Calendars! My sons will be a tad disappointed that the LEGO Advent calendar didn’t end up in our home, though!!!

    They would be so easy to make on your own, too. Thanks for sharing :O)

  19. I LOVE this one. I am totally on the same page as you. I have always wanted to make one, so I need to get on it right now (along with the quilt I want to make as a gift, and the quiet book for my baby….)
    I saw this a few days ago and really want to do it. The last few post have been about her advent calendar progress. She is going to make a tree (and this is what I want to do too, it looks really intense though!)

  20. These are both adorable. The mittens one could easily be made…if you could collect enough child/baby sized mittens and hats–numbers can just be stitched on with yarn. I have a friend whose mom made a fabric calendar featuring Santa with 25 tiny, numbered drawstring bags over his back. Her mom would put tiny toys or candy in the bags. Thought this was a fun idea.

  21. I think that is a great idea and I can’t wait to see what you come up with! My grandparents did this for us for a couple of years and I was so disappointed when it stopped! I loved it and I can’t wait to do it with my kids!

  22. We love having an advent calendar as part of out Christmas celebration! I am planning on making a new advent calendar this year and have been searching for good inspiration too! I recommend checking out the flickr advent calendar photo group. There are some really amazing ones on there.
    I look forward to seeing what you decide to make!

  23. Hello sweet Kate – I love, love those advent buckets! Too cute. Might have to come up with something similar for our mantel this year. Thank you for sharing!


  24. I love this post! I have looked everywhere for a plain advent wooden box calendar and cant find one. I wanted to decorate my own. I love all the ideas you and the others are giving. I’m not so sad and I am excited to do something different.

  25. What!? The department stores here in England have had Christmas stuff out since September 1st. You are way within the boundaries of human sanity my friend!

  26. I love the one we have. It is a large box with tiny Christmas tree ornaments behind individual doors. It came with a small tree, so each day my girl can decorate her own miniature tree. So much fun!

  27. I use to have a calendar when my son was young and he got to pick a piece of candy out of it for each day until Christmas. Of course at 15 yrs. old, no more traditions like that. I won’t slap you for talking about it before Christmas. I love to plan ahead too:) But remember, I just want to skip Christmas this year since I will be moving in 2 weeks. LOL

  28. My MIL made the most beautiful felt Advent calendar for her niece’s kids a year or two before I had my oldest. I remember asking if she’d make one for our family when kids came along. My oldest will be 4 in Dec. and still no Advent. We’ve just been buying one of the chocolate ones in Halmark every year…I think I’ll have to make my own too. Please let me know if you find anything cute. Hers had a different “character” for each day made out of different pieces of felt. Very detailed and just plain adorable.

  29. Oh my, those buckets are adorable. I have to admit, I’ve never done the advent calendar thing, probably because I didn’t want to spend the money on the fancy options, and never took the time to make one. These are inspiring.

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