DIY Advent Calendar in the “Nick” of Time – Happy December 1!

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I loved the Advent calendar when I was a kid – we usually had some type of disposable kind, and often it didn’t even contain treats, just a little paper door to fold open each day. It didn’t matter – just having a visual countdown of the days until Christmas was exciting!

When I started brainstorming for this project, I pinned several ideas, and originally my favorite was using a mini muffin tin like this one from Manic Mommies:

This is a FREE to cheap project that anyone can make relatively quickly. There’s no permanent damage to the pan, so just use the one from your cupboard. If you don’t have circle stickers, improvise! You could also use two 12 cup muffin pans. If you don’t have a muffin pan, check the dollar stores – I saw a cheap one in the holiday aisle at Dollar General for just $1.

But then I found this watchmaker tin idea at Twig & Thistle:

I already had several of these empty tins that at one time held eyelets, buttons, and other scrapbooking elements. And when I dug them out, there just happened to be exactly 25 tins – I considered that a divine revelation that this was the project for me. Smile

I  used scrapbooking papers, number stickers, rub on design elements, and other scrapbooking supplies that I already had on hand. I also happened to have a three inch circle punch that was just the right size to fit the lid (yes, I was a serious crafting hoarder at one time, and I may never dig myself all the way out of it). I laid the tins out on the floor to plan my design.

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I used a Glue Dot to adhere a neodymium magnet to the back of each container (which I ordered from ebay for another project a while back – about $3.00 for the 25 pieces I used). I like that the kids can pull each individual container down to get their treats. And they can be mounted in any configuration on any magnetic board, though I do like the Christmas tree layout!

I plan to fill each container one day at a time so that there’s no temptation to peek ahead. Some days will have a candy treat, some days will have an activity (“have some hot chocolate” or “sing happy birthday to Jesus”). I also have a couple treats that won’t fit into the tins, so I’ll turn them into a scavenger hunt instead (“there’s a gift for you in mommy’s shoe”).

I just finished this last night, so it’s not mounted on the wall yet. I’m actually not sure if I’ll hang it, or just prop it on a table or bench for this year.

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Do you use an advent calendar with your kids? What other simple, inexpensive December activities do you do with your kids in anticipation of Christmas?

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