I had been eying reusable fabric advent calendars on Etsy but hadn’t found one that I absolutely loved. I wanted something easy to store and in a simple, modern-ish style. Then, I came across the perfect one when I wasn't even thinking of them while browsing the beautiful Food52 shop (so sorry, they seem to be out of stock - check back next season!). I often second guess myself and hesitate before buying holiday decor but not this time. It even might have been a midnight nursing purchase which I have been prone to lately. I have no regrets!
When the calendar arrived it was a little bit smaller and the pockets more shallow than I was picturing. But after getting it ready for the season I found that it works just fine. I liked the idea of using the calendar as a way to make sure we fit in the holiday activities that we want to do including watching holiday movies and giving back to the community. To plan out what I'd include I made a Google spreadsheet with the date in one column and what the advent pocket would include in another. This helped me to be mindful of what day an activity would fall on. I scheduled more involved activities, like baking cookies, for a weekend day. Next year I can use the same spreadsheet and just create a new tab. That way I'll be able to reuse ideas from the previous year and not have to brainstorm from scratch.
I loved the way Food52 styled the calendar with sprigs of evergreen and tags peeking out of the pockets. As a not-super-crafty person this was just the easy inspiration I needed. I bought kraft paper gift tags and replaced the jute twine with more festive candy stripe twine. I bought mini candy canes and Reese's nutcracker chocolates to tuck into the pockets. I clipped evergreen sprigs from branches I bought at Trader Joe's.
Most days include a tag with a holiday activity. I wrote the activity on a tag then folded the tag nearly in half so that it fit in the pocket. When the tags were done I tucked in chocolates and candy canes evenly across the calendar and then finished with evergreen sprigs. I'm so happy with how it turned out. I hung the calendar near our kitchen with a clear command hook. The boys were so excited to see it when they woke up on December 1st.
Here's what our 2020 advent calendar includes:
1: Watch Klaus tonight and wear Christmas pajamas.
2: Write letters to Santa.
4: Donate your Share money to people who need it.
5: Buy a Christmas tree today!
6: Decorate the Christmas tree and eat cookies.
7: Read Christmas books by the Christmas tree.
8: Watch The Polar Express tonight.
9: Facetime with Aunt Elizabeth and show her the Christmas tree.
10: Tonight, put on Christmas pajamas and go look at lights.
11: Drop off donations for kids in need.
12: Get peppermint hot chocolates.
13: Bake cookies and deliver some to friends.
14: Listen to Christmas music and draw Christmas pictures.
15: Watch A Muppet Christmas Carol tonight.
16: Kiss someone under the mistletoe!
17. Send a Christmas card to a friend.
18: Tonight, put on Christmas pajamas and go look at lights.
19: Watch A Christmas Story tonight
20: Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas movie.
21: Have a fire and make s'mores tonight. (with s'mores chocolate)
22: Watch Home Alone.
24: Facetime with grandparents and show them our Christmas tree.
Happy holiday season!