CHRISTMAS PREP {still} continues...The Last Minute Advent

Christmas Prep week(s) has been sponsored by Consumer Crafts -- my favorite online craft store! 
 These holiday posts could not happen without their support and your visits. THANK YOU!

So like most plans, our Christmas Advent Calendar has been thrown off course a bit.  

So we have our WEEKLY Activity Advent Calendar , and while we have been doing a few Christmas things here and there, I forget to actually take the tags out of the burlap bags and make it an EVENT.  oops!  We were also blessed to receive a GORGEOUS felt hand sewn Jesse tree from the boy's Aunt Kate.  I am so super excited about starting this with the boys (even though we are a few days late!!  OOPS!)  You can see the tree HERE on Etsy where it is sold completed, in a "kit" form or as the pattern on pdf.  

The point?  Advent shouldn't be about stressing over a calendar.  It should be about celebrating the birth of Jesus, celebrating JOY and all the traditions surrounding Christmas and taking a BREAK from business.  Think about it.  Christmas in winter is the perfect break from boredom when traditionally folks were stuck inside with nothing to do.  No farming, no gardening.  Just knitting, sewing and Christmas traditions.  Take a hint from the pioneers and capture THAT spirit for the holidays.  

You don't have to start Advent on time.  If you want to countdown the days until Christmas and focus on Christ's birth and Christmas traditions, just DO IT.  3 days, 10, or the full 25.  Your kids don't know the difference!  Sometimes things don't have to be pretty, they just need to get done.

If you need a LAST minute Advent calendar, I am here to help!  This simple little setup involves basically an envelope, some paper and creativity!  Add a little Christmas trappings to the mix and you are good to go!  Supplies listed are for the setup I will be showing you, but honestly -- you just need an envelope and paper!

Functional Supplies:

Decorative Supplies:

The most important supply for this project are these little metal envelopes.  I use ours as a mailbox where Santa can drop off each day's activity.  Simply fill out one of the little tags (FREE printable below!) with a fun Christmas activity and drop it in each evening.

Simply plop in the tag for the activity, story or gift each day from "Santa".  

Once you have the basic supplies for the project, you might want a frame system to pull it all together. I use this frame year round for drying herbs, but at Christmas, it is perfect for this "calendar" of sorts.  To create the base, simply attach wire to the back of the frame and stretch in a grid pattern (like tic-tac-toe).  Make the grid squares as small or as large as you like, then pull tight and secure to the opposite end of the frame with either a staplegun or good old-fashioned hammer and nails.  Frames like these can often be found on the side of the road (in the trash!) or at thrift stores for pennies.  Pick one up and give it new life with a little sanding, a coat of paint and a brand new purpose!

Sift through your toolbox, or hop over to the hardware store to pick up some curtain clips or small s-hooks that will hang on the wire.  If you are using curtain hooks, string them through the wire BEFORE nailing down the ends, but hooks can be attached any removed anytime and anywhere.  Ornament hooks will also work and are usually in abundance this time of year! To create the "JOY," I simply used chipboard letters, glued beaded Martha Stewart glitter onto them and then applied ModPodge dimensional magic on top for a 3D effect.

Once you've got the basic, functional supplies taken care of, it is up to you how complex you want to get with ornamentation.  I simply added a few snowflakes, my "JOY" letters and the garlands I had already made for our Winter Fairy Hunt.

Once the frame system is set up and decorated, all you need are the activities!  Be as simple or complex as you want!  I included basic family traditions like baking Christmas cookies, cutting down the tree and making cards, but also included fun craft activities with various supplies from Consumer Crafts.  To make the tags, simply print out THESE TWO PAGES on a thick, heavy cardstock.  Cut out the little squares and plop one in the envelope every night after the kids go to bed!

To download the FREE PRINTABLE, just click HERE!
Now have a Merry Christmas, why don't you?

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