This year my girls both get that Christmas is coming and they are so excited. I wanted to feed their enthusiasm and add to the anticipation with a countdown calendar. I’ve been searching online for DIY options and found a matchbox advent calendar from Martha Stewart. It is perfect for us because it is small enough to pack when we travel and I love that as you pull out a numbered box and turn it around a picture is slowly revealed. The trick (if you, like me, are not artistic) is to find a picture that you can replicate. I googled easy snowman coloring pages and copied (to the best of my ability) one of the designs at Kids’ Turn Central. I drew it in chalk first, then painted and then added the black permanent marker outline and hat which helped cover up any mistakes.
For the most part I followed the instructions at Martha Stewart but I did make a few changes in the hopes that this will last for a number of years. I put ribbon on both sides of the boxes (instead of just the numbered side) to make it easier to turn them around again for next year. It would have made more sense to glue one length of ribbon across the bottom of the box but I didn’t have quite enough ribbon for that so I used two shorter lengths. After making the chest of drawers I covered cardboard from a cereal box with fabric and used that to cover the sides and back in the hopes that it will be a little sturdier. I didn’t put the numbers in order because I want it to take as long as possible for the girls to guess what the picture is.
The matchboxes don’t hold a lot and I didn’t plan ahead but we have tons of sticker gems that I have been cutting into pairs and calling earrings. Two pairs fit nicely in a drawer. This backfired on me the first day because I forgot that Boo had asked for earrings the last time she saw me wearing them and I told her I’d have to bring her to the doctor’s first to put holes in her ears and that it would hurt a lot. She was in a panic until I explained that these were pretend earrings that don’t hurt. Now she is all about them and doesn’t understand why anyone would put holes in their ears when pretend earrings are sooo beautiful. I’ve also been leaving little notes – today was “let’s make Christmas cookies and eat too many!” My mom sent some Christmas gifts that we won’t be here to open on Christmas day so one day will be a lot of fun when the note tells them to skype Mom Mom and Pop Pop and they also get to open some presents.
I procrastinated in making this, and then last Wednesday I realized that December 1st was only a few days away and I really had to do something. I’m so glad I made this calendar. I think I love it just as much as the girls do. Yesterday the note was a hint as to where the girls would find a “special surprise” and Kooks was off running before she even heard the hint. It is so much fun to see how much joy this pretty simple home made advent calendar is bringing my girls and an unexpected bonus is that Boo is getting a lot of practice with recognizing double digit numbers. I can’t wait to see how they react when they realize there is a snowman behind all those drawers. Today it was 39° C (102° F) in the shade so this in the only snowman I expect to see for quite a while.