DIY Advent Calendar

At the beginning of this Christmas season we had a talk about how to make this year more meaningful for our five year old, Kevin. He is young & very enthusiastic about gifts {which is perfectly ok}, but we wanted to help him notice all the other marvelous things about Christmastime. I’ve been seeing a lot of DIY Advent Calendars on Pinterest and was really intrigued by the idea of making one.

I have never counted down the days to Christmas in this manner or had one of my own, so I had to do some research. I noticed that some of the Advent Calendars had candy or gifts for each day, and others had a daily activity written on them. I really liked this type of calendar. Kevin is a “quality time” child and it was a good way to do that. He was always excited to find out our activity for the day & it was a bonus that it was also a good exercise for him to practice reading aloud. It was also a way to add more structure & discipline to our evenings. He knew that he needed to eat his dinner & be respectful so that we could do our daily activity. Rocky has been traveling a little more often lately, so it was a good way to keep busy with the kids while he was TDY. Some of the activity cards were geared toward helping others or giving, others told him to open a little gift {Swedish Fish or a small pack of Jelly Beans}. I used the birdseed favor from a wedding I photographed and we made a mini DIY bird feeder {one of our favorites}.

I wanted to design something that could be in plain sight of our home {match our existing Christmas decor} & that was large enough for my eclectic supplies. I ended up stealing the embroidery hoop filled with corkboard {my version of a memo board} from my home office & haven’t returned it yet! I used little odds & ends that I already had, sometimes borrowing from other pieces in the house. It was fun to make some of the ornaments & assemble this surprise for Kevin. Designing & creating this non-traditional Advent Calendar was a good pick-me-up for December & it was a fun way to help us celebrate Christmas a little bit every day. *

*We didn’t do it everyday & sometimes I copped out with a “let’s read a dollar store Christmas book tonight” card. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kevin wasn’t particularly excited about writing Christmas cards to deployed soldiers, but I was proud of him for doing it. This is a picture of his daddy {Rocky} from basic training. He has been deployed over Christmas in the past, so it was important to me to do this one.
He drew one of them receiving a present & getting “cheered up from it.”
The DIY Birdseed Feeder was easier than I expected & pretty cute! Kevin liked making it & playing with the leftover gel {from the gelatin packet}.
I made this reindeer ornament with a cookie cutter + sprinkles. Kevin is 5 and Damian {Ocean} is 18 months. Moments like these make my heart swell.

The icing on the cake, was that on Christmas day {after we drove up to see my family in Findlay, Ohio}, we took the boys to ride the Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation’s Polar Express {NWOR}. It’s a small “magical little train ride around our track decorated with sparkling lights and holiday decorations.” There is a little museum inside & lots of decorated Christmas trees + warm drinks. The staff was so cheerful & even had blankets waiting for us at the train since it was a cold evening. It was probably the best $6 {for all four of us} that we spent on Christmas! The boys had a lot of fun & it was the perfect surprise for them. You can find NWOR on Facebook, follow them for more information about train rides all year long!

Thanks for reading my Christmas flashbacks this weekend! I am really excited to post more weddings & engagements
in February {plus a special little DIY for Valentine’s Day}. Have a good week! โ™ฅ

 

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