Alternative Advent Calendar – Handmade Christmas

26 November, 2012

My sister’s chocolate advent calendar wasn’t long on our mantelpiece before I worked out you could undo the bottom flap and slip the whole tray out. She’d open the odd window and be like “THEY FORGOT TO PUT DAY 16’s MORSEL IN!!!”

It was a few year’s before my beautiful Nana caught on to the fact that her grandchildren would rather have meaningless, Christmassy Bartman themed but delicious edible advent calendars, rather than little windows depicting the arrival of Baby Jesus.Β  I suspectΒ  in her wisdom she knew exactly what kind of festive angst it could cause between greedy siblings!

For a 14 year old, I was pretty self controlled, and only ate a few of my sisters, but my whole tray was gone by Day 6. “WELL! CHECK MINE OUT! THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN EVERY SINGLE DAY! OUTRAGEOUS!!!”

I am not opposed to traditional or chocolatey advent calendars one bit but as part of my drive to instill some precious rituals in our family’s life, I have opted to make our advent a bit of a bigger deal. There are some gorgeous, crafty ideas out there, and I gathered a few, mixed it up with the thing I always do involving scrabble letters, and came up with this:

Instead of numbers, I have 25 pockets, with Joy, Love, Hope, Peace (for me these sum up the Christmas message) and Christmas spelled out on them. The pockets are held onto string with decorated pegs, and are meant to be in a bit of a Christmas Tree-ish shape. I found the pegs in a charity shop, the scrabble letters at a jumble sale, and the fabric is part of a vintage bundle that I have held onto for a while, waiting for the perfect moment to use it.

There were some lovely suggestions on the Lulastic Facebook Page, of how other people do advent, and I am totally pinching the ideas, like leaving little notes in the pockets for family members.

This week I am going to fill the pockets with things that will hopefully delight each of us – some sweets, a poem,Β a prayer, a task like “Make Ginger bread house” or “dance to The Boy Least Likely To‘s Christmas album”Β  – a brand new album I am loving by the way, like a festive, twee Pulp.

Christmas sometimes weighs on me. That we have this season, rooted in a story about a life of love, but yet it splays out in excessive consumption. It leaves the earth groaning with waste and debt.

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  • Reply TheMadHouse 26 November, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I love this. I made our calender from an old red fleece blanket and we have tasks for each of the days

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Oh awesome, will I find it on your blog?

      • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 2:23 pm

        I see you have linked up, eh, clever clogs hahaha

  • Reply Thinly Spread 26 November, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I love that calendar! We are advent mad here having gradually added to our traditions over the years – advent is now more important than The Day which is what I wanted. We have Christmas books, endless advent traditions, a snuggle sack on Christmas Eve, a family Christmas Eve show, we make Father Christmas bread and on and on (most of it is on my blog somewhere!) – this year we are adding a Pesky Pixie to the mix, he’s our English version of the American Elf on the Shelf, less bossy but possibly peskier πŸ˜‰

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Oh my DAYS, this is what I aspire to!!!

  • Reply val 26 November, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This is so cute πŸ™‚ I made ours out of felt scraps last year, hand sewn when I had to lie flat with a prolapsed disc πŸ™ It was a bit of a slog but the wee guy loved it, linky from last year here

  • Reply Liz Burton 26 November, 2012 at 1:50 pm


    I still haven’t finished my advent calendar – mostly because it involves sending the Old Man out to find a bit of tree, but I think you’re like it. I’ll share when it’s done x

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      I am SO intrigued by this, come on Simon!

    • Reply Liz Burton 26 November, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      ‘You’re’?? I meant ‘You’ll’! I wasn’t saying you’re like a tree :0)

      • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        Hahahahahaha *cries laughing* I am kind of rugged, and, um, do like being outside…. and things…

  • Reply Molly 26 November, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Yes yes yes! Now I can get my backside in gear and write up my Christmas chutney (in decorated recycled jars) gifts. Love your advent. Very cute. x

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Ah, hooray, yay! They sounds beautiful πŸ™‚

  • Reply Tamsin 26 November, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Love the advent calendar, really elegant, any thing with recycled scrabble letters gets my vote. I’m finally getting round to making an advent calendar this year (it’s been on my make list forever)

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      I know, me too (re. scrabble letters) even my “No Junk Mail” sign on our letter bos I crafted up using them!

  • Reply Jen Flannagan 26 November, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I’m so sad to be missing some much Christmassy tradition this year, coz I’m overseas from 9th december. Gonna think me up some thrifty Christmas cheer to take on my travels and share the love…

    • Reply lulastic 26 November, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      Gosh, yes, good luck over there Statside, with having a Christmas that is easy on the planet πŸ™

  • Reply Mel Wiggins 26 November, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    […] I’m linking this post up with Lu and all the other thrifty bloggers sharing some of their best recycled/crafty/upcycled/second hand gift giving tips this festive season! Come have a look at what others are doing here! […]

  • Reply Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill) 26 November, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Great calender, I will pop back if I have any outdoor crafty Xmas decs from Country Kids to add, I have a few ideas in mind!

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:53 am

      yay, fabulous, thanks!

  • Reply Hook, Line & Sink Her 26 November, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Very timely post- I’ve just this second posted about my home-made advent calendar. I’m counting it as recycling because some of the pockets are made from my old clothes πŸ™‚ xx

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Awesome! Want to see it πŸ™‚

  • Reply Claire 26 November, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    It’s beautiful! in our advent calendar as kids, our favourite number was always the one that had the first clue to a treasure hunt taking us all over the house to find the contents. I am going to make a calendar next year when millie is a little older and can’t wait to do the same. This year’s project is a stocking, hoping your excellent blog hop idea will help me finish it!

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Oh my GOSH that is SUCH a good idea! I am so going to add that in to our one xx

  • Reply Penelope 27 November, 2012 at 8:48 am

    This is such a beautiful Advent Calender! You have totally inspired me to make one of our very own, something we can take through my daughter’s teenage years (she is 12 now) as she has always ended up with a boring choccy one due to me having grand plans to make a fun, meaningful one but always being too rushed to get it together! But NOW i have no excuse, I will make one having seen yours….got to run only a few days left before 1/12/12 xox Thanks so much Lucy x

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Hehehe, thanks πŸ™‚ Did you get it done? xx

  • Reply Elena @ Randomly Happy 29 November, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I love advent calendars that are more about doing offbeat things (like dancing to The Boy Least Likely Toβ€˜s Christmas album”). My favourite, which I’m still hoping to add to someone’s advent calendar one day is to build a fort and have a picnic.

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Such a good one πŸ™‚ A Christmas fort!

  • Reply Thrifty Christmas gifts - homemade Sweet and Hot Dried Fruit Chutney 30 November, 2012 at 9:01 am

    […] and addition to my blog reading list – Lulastic and the Hippyshake. Check out the brilliant Recycled Christmas link up for more great ideas for thrifty and beautiful festive creations. And I’m linking to […]

  • Reply nyssapod (@nyssapod) 30 November, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Really cool idea for a link up – I’ve just joined in x

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Hooray thanks, love your cards!

  • Reply Butwhymummywhy 2 December, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Love this calendar! Of course any crafty thing with scrabble letters is a winner in my eyes. I am always trawling charity shops for Scrabble.

  • Reply Pippa 10 December, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    This is LOVELY. We’re doing something similar – each night I come up with a Christmassy treat to sneak into the next day’s pocket, like ‘Choose a Christmas tree’, or ‘Have a play with Nana and Granddad’ or ‘Go to a tropical rainforest and a winter wonderland in ONE DAY’ (that’s a trip to the Eden Project…).

    And we’re making simple cut out paper christmas angels and putting our wishes for 2013 on their wings as a family (and doing this at our next #somum Make Date) – will add a link!

    • Reply lulastic 11 December, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Ah fabulous, love the angels wings! Wish I could be a part of Wednesday night πŸ™

  • Reply The Best Advent Calendars Around - Linky | Tots 100 20 November, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    […] shows us a beautiful way to give old objects a lease of life with this thrifty idea for a homemade advent calendar. Again, chocolate is […]

  • Reply Mrs Fox 27 November, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Love your advent calendar and this year I’ve made one out of loo rolls. I’d love to link up, but think I may have missed the boat.
    Mrs Fox recently posted…Handmade Advent CalendarMy Profile

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