I'm just popping in for a minute to brag. We are so on top of things this year! The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, even the outside lights are up! This is not the way these things usually go down around here in Procrastinationville, let me tell you! I'm pretty impressed with our efforts so far.
And check out the cute little Advent Village on the mantle! We got it a couple years ago and have only used it for decoration since Lincoln was too young to know what it was for. This year I decided that I wanted to paint it glossy white and jazz it up a little bit so we could really enjoy it. And, since everything I know about Advent could fit in one of those wee drawers, we're really just kind of making things up as we go along.
Lucky for me, "The Christmas Elf" has remembered to deposit a note and a bit of chocolate inside the appropriate drawer each day of December so far, and Lincoln is thrilled! The notes serve as instructions for various ways to find holiday cheer, including things like: select the very best tree from the tree farm, help Daddy hang up the lights outside, and sing a Christmas carol in the car on the way to school. I like the idea of an activity-based advent, so I gathered a few craft supplies and we'll try to coordinate with the Christmas Elf so we can use this excitement to get a few things crossed off our list in the process.
As for the village itself, it's made by roost and I picked it up at a sample sale when I worked in the showroom. It was plain unstained wood with tiny engraved numbers on each drawer. I liked that look, but I thought for a house with kiddos we needed something a little more fun.
I sprayed it with a few coats of paint, then used a 1" round punch to cut some circles from holiday papers and glued it to the front. Since the numbers were really small and hard for toddler eyes to find, I put the paper over the top and added the numbers again. I used these plastic scrapbooking numbers, because I wanted a little dimension and can't trust my handwriting to write or paint the numbers on myself. Also, they were the only numbers at JoAnn that contained enough 1's in the package to even come close to completing this project without needing to purchase fifty million sets. Incidentally, they did not contain enough 2's, but I didn't figure that out until about 10pm on Friday night, when I was putting this all together. We're still missing 21 and 23, but I figure I have about 15 days before that's going to be a problem.
And since Lincoln's list of favorite things includes: glue, puff balls, and counting, I thought I better go ahead and make this cute little Santa's beard advent calendar too. It's a free printable that I mounted to a piece of chip board and strung a ribbon through to hang. The puff balls are .75" balls found in the weird craft section of JoAnn where all the pipe cleaners and feathers and random crap like that is found. I initially purchased 1", but they were a little too crowded, so in case you would like to try your hand at this I would recommend smaller. Little cotton balls would work too, obviously.
It's kind of hard to read in the picture, but it says:
Santa's beard is very bare. On his chin there is no hair. So each day add a puff of white. When they are all on, he'll come that night.I thought this was so clever and unique, and I've never seen anything like it before. A quick Google search turns up a million variations of the same thing though, so perhaps I'm just a little behind the times. I still think it's adorable, and as predicted, Lincoln LOVES gluing the little puff ball on each morning and counting the empty spaces that are left.
I was actually thisclose to taking the time to make something similar up out of felt, so we can use it again and again, but I stopped myself. I'm trying to reign in the need I have to MAKE EVERYTHING in sight. Sometimes, I just need to work with things that already exist. No one will suffer, and I'll possibly enjoy my life a little bit more. These are important lessons that I'm trying to learn. But next year- you watch this space for the new and improved felt advent. It's going to be awesome!