Katie’s Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar Wide

Tis the season to start pulling out your advent calendars! In my case, that means it’s time to start packing a million manila treat bags with scriptures, prayers, and LOVE, then clipping them to a piece of felt with tiny laundry clips….Alas. I wouldn’t have it any other way. [And if you want your mantle to look this diggity-dank, well….you shouldn’t either]

I here people say, “Pish-Posh* advent and Christmas are the same. Lay off.” Uh…Nope. Advent is the 24 days before Christmas. It is an ancient and established time of intentional slowing that flies directly in the face of the mass frenetics and consumerism that surround Christmas and Hanukkah. I LOVE it for me, and I invest in it for my children. *My friends say “pish-posh” because I live in a Bridget Jones movie during December.

There are a LOT of very cool Advent traditions that usher in this spirit of thoughtful intention, and we will get into those over the next few weeks, but I didn’t want to delay getting started with the calendar, which traditionally begins the first day of December. The calendar is a fun countdown that traditionally has a little piece of scripture and a piece of chocolate for each day.

Below, I provide links for the materials, and some printables/ideas for the things with which I do my stuffin,’ However, at the heart of this calendar is a simple vessel for a Jesse Tree ornament, a piece of scripture, and a fun activity slip. It might be time to take a trip to the hobby store (which is what I call Amazon after I have had a glass of vino).

Oh – and HUGE thanks to the ladies at @amenpapercompany for the beautiful typographical meditations. You guys need to beg them to print you some of these cards before its too late – or maybe for next year. Aren’t they lovely?

Raw Materials:

(I got everything here for 50% off at a ridiculous store called Hobby Lobby)

Tiny Clothespins

Blank Tags

Treat Bags – Look at these green ones!  I used the brown.

These awesome hand-lettered meditations – They are from Amen Paper Company 

Ribbon, Rope, or Felt to hang

Stuffins –

Daily craft, activity, compassionate act, or some other fun.

Jesse Tree Ornaments and Scriptures

In her post, Rima has an awesome list of Christo-centric, mostly New Testament scriptures that you can use. I use the Jesse Tree scriptures (download bobo scanned image here). It would not be hard AT ALL for a Jewish family to accommodate the Jesse Tree to build toward the Maccabees. These passages are more of a slow meandering through the Torah (first 5 books of the bible), the Prophets (those other ones), and the Psalms. They provide a picture of the whole arc of Christ, starting with the “Fall of man” and drifting through the big stories, prophesies, and sweet promises of the Old Testament. I will say more about the Jesse Tree later but as a bonus, each scripture has a cute corresponding ornament that you can either make or buy (try Etsy for a whole set). If any of you beautiful Jeweses adapt this activity for your family, let me know.

If you are an AFA newsie, I will email the list of activities I included in our calendar out later today. If you sign up now, you will get a link to a special page where you can find them.

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Rima Joy’s Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar Boxes

Rima Joy is back! – and this time she is bringing you a reusable advent calendar that you can make yourself. We love making an advent calendar, but having to do it every year can be tedious. Here, she is helping us get crafty and make something unique – and then we get to keep using it every year! She has shown you her special way, but I think you can do all sorts of fun things to make the bones of this craft especially yours. Take it away, Rima:

I’ve always loved anticipating Christmas. As a kid, months before any decorations were up at the mall, I would be scouring our toy magazines, circling items that caught my eye. My excitement only grew once the Christmas music, the decorating, the baking, and—in full disclosure—the present peaking began. I’m not sure why my mom thought the guest room was a good place to hide gifts. So obvious.

Well, now I’m an adult with my own children, and it’s time to get them excited for Christmas! I don’t think I’ll have a hard time getting my sons to follow in my footsteps. They were asking for Christmas music in October! But I don’t want them to only be excited about lights, snowmen, and presents. I pray that the time leading up to Christmas will help our sons grow in their excitement and understanding of the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, the Savior of the world.

Using an advent calendar is a great way to build anticipation and explore the mystery of the incarnation (God made man) at the same time. I’ve put together a list of 25 passages from scripture to use (along with chocolate of course!) in a handmade advent calendar for our family. Each passage focuses on a simple sentence about who Jesus is or why he came, and the last couple of passages focus on the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. We read one passage a day to help us celebrate the advent season.  Would you like to join in our tradition?

Click Here to Download Rima’s Daily Scriptures Printable

Supplies Needed:

  • 25 small favor tins (You can find these in the wedding section at craft stores.)
  • 2-3 sheets of Christmas cardstock
  • Numbers 1-25 (I found cute Christmas card stock with numbers on it and just cut the numbers out. You can also use numbered stickers or write/stamp your own numbers and then cut them out. )
  • Blue gel school glue
  • 12×12 shadow box
  • 25 small magnets with adhesive backing
  • Print out of scripture passages
  • Acrylic craft paint and sponge brush (optional)
Prepping the shadow box:
  1. If desired, paint the shadow box with the craft paint and allow to dry.
  2. Once dry, apply the magnets to the box. The magnets will hold the tins in place. To ensure that the magnets line up properly, I used the following process:
  • Place a magnet on the bottom of each tin (the adhesive side of the magnet should be facing out).
  • While the magnets are still on the tins, peel off the protective papers from each magnet.
  • Line up the tins in the shadow box, and press down firmly so the adhesive from the magnet sticks to the shadow box.
Prepping the tins:
  1. Cut the Christmas card stock into 25 5x5cm squares.
  2. Take the lid of one of the tins, and place 5 dabs of glue underneath the lid (see image). Place a square of cardstock underneath the lid, so that the pattern shows through on the front of the lid. Repeat the process for each lid.
  3. If you are not using stickers, cut out your numbers.
  4. Center and glue (or stick!) each number to the top of the lids.
  5. Allow the lids to dry overnight before placing them back on the tin.

Assembling the Calendar:

  1. Cut each day’s scripture reading into a strip. Fold each strip and place in the corresponding tin. We like to include a little piece of chocolate too.
  2. Put the tins inside the shadow box in order, and you’re ready to go!

Thank you so much for letting me share with you today! I hope you enjoy our tradition as much as we do.