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Frugal Living: DIY Advent Calendar

Posted: 12/01/11 6:00 AM (Modified: 12/02/11 11:59 AM)
MSQ staffer, Aja, is sharing a fun and frugal DIY Advent Calendar in today's 25 Days of Frugal Christmas Gifts. This is super cute to make for your own family or a friend. Be sure to submit your frugal Christmas gift idea with pictures and you'll be entered to win an $1100 diamond from Gold Buyers Express!
{Do It Yourself Advent Calendar}
I'm so excited for the first Christmas that my daughter will (hopefully!) remember. She's so much fun right now and I can't wait to start all sorts of fun traditions with her. An Advent Calendar was definitely on my list to make to kick things off. 
After scouring Pinterest for ideas, here's the one I made:
What do you think? I kind of love it. 
Here are some quick and easy steps on how I did it. But it was so easy, I think it's pretty self-explanatory :)
First up, buy a canvas or repurpose an old one laying around your house, like I did. This one had the alphabet painted on it in a range of blue hues. A pre-pregnancy nursery project that never quite made the cut. You can score these at Hobby Lobby or Michaels for around $5 with a 40% Off Coupon.
Find some fabric or wrapping paper you like and attach it to your canvas. I snagged some metallic linen in the remnant bin at JoAnn's a while back that was perfect for this. I just stapled it to the wooden frame of the canvas. You probably wouldn't want to staple wrapping paper.. would you? I don't know. It might rip. But your trusty glue gun would probably do the trick. :)
Make some little paper envelopes for each of the 25 days. I used some craft paper that I found underneath a roll of wrapping paper! FREE! But you could use card stock in any color you like. I used tacky glue to hold the envelope together.
*Make sure you do a little measuring before you make these, to see how big they should be. Mine were around 2 x 2.5 inches, which worked with the size of my canvas. 

Next, grab a sharpie and get to numbering!

After I had all my envelopes numbered, I laid them out to see how they looked. Fan-flippin-tastic. 
I like things to be lined up correctly, so I did some more measuring and used some painters tape as a guide when I started gluing these to my fabric (more tacky glue). I seriously would have had to throw this out or rip them off and start all over if they ended up crooked. But I'm weird like that.
Put some heavy books on top while they're drying, then start on your activities! 
As I've mentioned before, I didn't want to do presents for each day. I really want to create memories with Evie, so I came up with things that we can do together and for others. 

I used tags that we use to price items in our booth, so half my work was already done. These are tea or coffee stained (thanks Mom!), which gives them an aged look that I really like.

And finally, I just tied some twine on each tag! Easy peasy. I wish I had some fun red bakers twine, so that may get switched out down the line.. 
What do you think? I didn't do any extra embellishments or anything, because I want to use this for years, and don't want it to start looking dated (though I'm sure that's inevitable). Plus, I'm a simple kinda gal and this look really appeals to me. So there.
Here is a list of the activities I included on our Advent Calendar (in no particular order):
  • Draw/color a Christmas picture
  • Visit the Christmas Train (a local event)
  • Watch our favorite Christmas movie
  • Make a snowman
  • Make a Christmas treat for a neighbor or friend
  • Buy a gift for a child who needs one (Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, etc)
  • Gather toys and clothes to donate
  • Make a gift for someone special
  • Call our grandparents!
  • Make Great-Grandma's coffee cake
  • Make a garland or an ornament
  • Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights
  • Decorate Christmas cookies
  • Make a Christmas card for our grandparents
  • Sing Christmas songs
  • Visit Santa Claus!
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Read Luke 2
  • Deliver a treat to daddy at work!
  • Read Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Wrap a gift for a friend
  • Make and deliver a Christmas treat to a nursing home
  • Make a list of 10 things we're thankful for this year
  • Take a family picture by the Christmas tree
  • Read a story about the birth of Jesus
Will you be making an Advent Calendar this year??
Thanks, Aja!

Old to new | New to old
Dec 1, 2011 03:31 pm
 Posted by  sarah.coates

It's beautiful!!! I love the few ideas you have that I can see, would you be willing to share some or all of your ideas? The bring a treat to daddy is great and I would have never come up with that. Also call our grandparents is great too! :) Thanks!!

Dec 2, 2011 11:34 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Sarah- Sure! Let me get them together and I'll add them to the post!


Dec 2, 2011 11:35 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Sarah- Sure! Let me get them together and I'll add them to the post!


Dec 3, 2011 12:15 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I just made this! That you for the great idea! I added "Decorate a gingerbread house"

Dec 3, 2011 09:38 pm
 Posted by  sarah.coates

Awesome! Thanks!

Dec 2, 2014 10:20 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Thanks you so much for sharing this!! After agonizing over pinterest to find an advent to do, I was overwhelmed....because I didn't want to spend my whole life making an advent calendar for my three girls...!!
But then I found yours!! With it's simplicity, now they can make it with me!! An extra joy and it can be used for many years to come!!
We are very excited to make this!! :)

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