Five Ideas for Making Quick Advent Calendars Right Now

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With the first weekend post-Thanksgiving quickly approaching, will you be pulling out your crafting supplies and making some fresh new holiday decorations? This year, it appears that one of the most popular items to craft is a fresh and charming Advent Calendar.

The advent calendar tradition can be traced back to Germans -and in a similar stroke the Scandanavian countries- in the 1800s, where the calendar was a physical representation of the days of Advent. Today many of these calendars are of a more secular nature -and used with children to count down the days to Christmas. One piece of the "calendar" can be added, changed, or revealed each day.

The basic of the advent calendar, then, is to create 24 similar items that can be displayed in some way.  This makes the calendar a perfect format for crafting in a variety of methods.  Let's look at some of the best crafty calendar tutorials offered this year:

1. Theresa McFadden created a quick and simple cookie sheet calendar.  Using an inexpensive cookie sheet (check your dollar stores) decorated with pretty papers and a variety of craft store and recycled findings- she created a simple calendar.  Glue magnets to the back of the findings and store them on the back of the cookie sheet calendar.  Then, each day bring another one forward to add to the calendar.  This can be as whimsical or planned as you would like.

2. Ellen Luckett Baker offers a simple printable  calendar at AlphaMom.  It would a great way to get young children involved in creating their own "count-down" calendars.

3. At The PURL BEE, a new collection of wool felt inspired an Embroidered Felt Advent Calendar with small pockets to hold trinkets, candies, or -as they showed- notions for the crafter.  Wouldn't this be a fun little gift to give or receive? After choosing your felt colors, this would be an easy item to craft in an afternoon at the sewing machine.

4. SweetPaul's charming Matchbox Advent Calendar has been the talk of Twitter this week.  Using empty matchboxes wrapped in pretty papers this is not only a quick calendar to make but one so unique that anyone would be charmed with finding the treasures inside.

5. Another fast, unique and charming way to count down the days is Heather's Quick Candy Countdown Calendar at Dollar Store Crafts.  Using tinsel chenille stems, ornament hooks and wrapped candies (I love the idea of the pinwheel mints), Heather formed the stems into glittery swirled trees, dangled the candies from the bases, and strung them either on a tree or on a mantel filled with greens.

Two other Advent Calendar ideas which -while charming- are perhaps to time-consuming to construct for this year.

6. Pam Harris admits that she's been planning this gorgeous traditional Advent Calendar for 10 years!

Martha started it all with her Advent Calendar using Christmas cards as the scenes behind the windows. I have been smitten with the idea ever since! I started collecting beautiful Christmas cards right away!

My calendar, which is nearly 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, is the result of allowing my creative spirit complete freedom to inform and inspire the process at every step.  There was no game plan, no predetermined guide, just creative instinct, some dumb luck and a bit of serendipity thrown in here and there!

I am sharing how I made this calendar, but by no means is this a step by step tutorial.  Although I am sharing a few techniques, mostly I hope to satisfy your curiosity.  Most importantly I hope to inspire many of you to get busy and make an Advent calendar!

7. I LOVE these colorful South-of-the-Border inspired Mini-Pinata Ornaments, again designed by Pam Harris. For this year, they may be enough time to craft a few to hang upon a christmas tree, but the drying time alone means as a Advent Calendar, they are really an idea that would have to wait.  Crafted with paper-mache bases, covered with fringed layers of tissue paper, and filled with one tiny treat, these are the most unique example I've seen this year. 

Debra Roby blogs her creative life at A Stitch in Time and her journey to fitness at Weight for Deb.

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