I'm so excited to share today's Mommy idea with you- an easy DIY advent calendar that is so flexible and cheap! I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I found it on Pinterest. There are lots of people who have done different versions of it but I was first inspired by this picture.
The basic idea is to use a mini-muffin tin (which happens to have 24 cups) as a fillable advent calendar. Just stick something in each cup and cover them up, and it's just like those paper ones that you open up each day to find a little chocolate- EXCEPT IT'S REUSABLE! Genius.
Of course, you know me, I loved the idea but wanted to put my own spin on it. I'm not a huge fan of giving out candy, but I am beyond excited about starting some fun family traditions and really building the excitement this advent season. Last year the girls were approaching 2, so they definitely did understand some of the build-up to Christmas, but they didn't really have the ability to think about something happening the next day, let alone 24 days away, at that age. This year they are about to turn 3 and IT IS GOING TO BE AWESOME. I decided I wanted to try to have some kind of little activity related to advent/Christmas to do each day to really help us focus on family and enjoying time together rather than on gifts or Santa.
I made up a list of things that I want us to do together in December- everything from decorating the tree and baking cookies to reading a new Christmas book and making cards for other family members. I included some simple crafts, some outings, and also several really quick activities (like a book, or a phone call to a distant relative) to take into account their sometimes-busy schedule. Then I went through and figured out when we could do each activity based on our schedule, and made some little notes for each activity with a picture (to give the girls a clue). I just used random clipart and made it in Word:
Next up was the covers for each cup to show the days. I really wanted to do something that had the characters from the nativity story, since I wanted that to be our focus. I looked at a lot of pre-made templates that others had used for their own muffin tin advent calendars, but couldn't find any that I really liked, so I decided to make my own. I found this cute clipart on Etsy from songinmyheart, added the numbers to show each day, and printed those off as well.
From looking at other templates it seemed like most people had done 12 to a letter-size page, so I figured I would just do the same (aka I was too lazy to measure my muffin tin and figure it out). I wish I had made each one a bit smaller but I figure slightly too big is better than slightly too small?!? Oh well.
After printing them off I stuck them on my handy-dandy adhesive magnet sheets that I have been using for everything and LOVE. Cut out the squares and bam!
I love this calendar so much. I love that I made it, I love that I had an excuse to buy a mini muffin tin, and I love that I can use it for years to come and hopefully keep it as a family tradition. I can't wait for the girls to see it this morning! I will update on facebook with their reaction :)
What holiday traditions do you most treasure in your family? Share your thoughts below!