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One of the Christmas traditions my children look forward to every year is the Advent calendar. Many years ago, I bought a pattern and made a calendar with a tree at the top (looks like it is quilted onto the fabric) and put 24 pockets under it labeled with the numbers. Each child is assigned numbers and they can find anything from a small ornament to hang on the calendar tree, to candy, to a very small gift. To this day, my 18 year old still loves to find out what her surprises might be! In this article, I hope to give you some ideas on how to craft some things that may make waiting for Christmas a bit easier.

If you like to have something a bit different, why not make a mantel decoration that is also an advent calendar? You could hang 24 stockings or decorate 24 small packages and place them along the fireplace and fill each with candy, fruit, nuts, small gifts or ideas to share with others. One of the things we do with our advent calendar is to designate special days with certain items. For instance, St. Nicholas Day is designated with a stocking ornament. This reminds my kids to check their stockings for their St. Nick gifts of candy and fruit. If we have a special event for an evening, like a play or concert, the tickets for that event will be in that dayís pocket.

I remember one year, my sister had an Advent calendar that was so simple. It was a red, green and white braided rope with 24 small candies tied onto it. Each of her children had one and they were allowed to take/cut off one piece of candy each day. Iím not so sure this would be good for those who canít exercise some control over taking the candy, but Iím sure you could substitute some small gifts or other things and it would be just as much fun. Iíve added a link at the end of this article for a calendar that is similar, but does not use yarn, it uses plastic wrap and candy. Along those same lines, you could create a paper chain and number them. Each child could then remove one link per day until Christmas Day. If you like, you could write something on each link, or even have an activity such as send a card or call a friend, for each day. That way, you are encouraging the spirit of this holiday season. Even though you need to make one of these each year, it could set up a family tradition that promises a lifetime of memories.

Some of the ideas I found were really cute and easy to do. One is the help make Santaís beard ďgrowĒ during December. It seems very simple to make and younger children would love to help Santa get ready for Christmas. DLTK has a page with several different ideas on making advent calendars. It is worth stopping by and seeing some of what they have done.

I hope you have a very enjoyable time crafting ways to welcome this holiday season. Please stop by the forum and share your ideas on counting down to Christmas!

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