Only a week to go until the advent countdown begins but still just about time to whip up a handmade advent masterpiece! Take a look at our "Kids' Christmas" image selection on Pinterest for plenty of inspiration. Clicking on any of the images should lead back to the source where you'll find more information or a guide on how to make the calendar in question.
Putting the bits needed for a little Christmas craft project or activity into the advent (perhaps along with the usual sweet treat!) is a lovely idea for making sure both you and your children enjoy the whole run-up to Christmas, perhaps too easily forgotten in the hub-bub of work and shopping at this time of year.
You could provide the materials needed to make and decorate a bauble one day, give a cutter and instructions for making gingerbread stars on a day you plan to do some baking, reveal the surprise of a visit to see Santa or a trip to go ice-skating, or provide a clue or map leading to the unwrapping of a Christmas book hidden somewhere in the house. All this requires is an advent calendar with pockets, boxes or drawers, of which there are plenty in the shops. Making one would also be pretty easy with a bit of thought and creativity along with an evening of time.
One easy but inspired idea, detailed on momenttomomentdk.co.uk, is simply to hang on clothespegs or ribbon a line of 24 small brown bags with handles (like the ones with twist handles many retailers use, readily available on eBay or amazon), each with it's number on.
Another lovely idea is to make a forest of Christmas trees, either by using upside-down cones of decorated or patterned paper, or by gluing tiny trees atop little numbered boxes. Or how about using baby socks as mini Christmas stockings (purchasing 12 pairs of baby socks in Christmassy colours), sewn onto a ribbon, numbered and filled with treats. You'll find these and some other lovely ideas on Talk Crafty to Me and Oh Happy Days. Another great idea just posted on Oh Happy Days is to make use of the giant Christmas Tree fabric available at Ikea this year. There's a tutorial for the Christmas tree idea on www.pinksuedeshoe.com.
Small treats wrapped in brown parcel paper, tied with nice twine, stamped with numbers and then popped into a little suitcase or basket, so there is a nice rummage each day for the right one, is a nice idea. Visit A Subtle Revelry for details of this one. Popping little parcels like these into the packed lunch boxes of school-age children is a great alternative to the usual advent at home, although does have the disadvantage that you won't be there to share the excitement as it's opened!
For a simple advent calendar that kids can help to make you could create little pockets out of toilet rolls by closing up one end of the roll, spray painting it and stamping or embellishing it with a snowflake or other festive design. They can be hung on a covered corkboard or similar. Go over to Maya*Made for instructions and images which show how effective this can look.
If that's whetted your appetite and made you feel all Christmassy don't forget to take a look at our "Kids' Christmas" Pinterest page for loads more inspiration!