It’s that time of year again! Halloween is officially over, the jack-o-lantern is in the compost pile, and my mind turns to Christmas. If, like me, you're planning to make someone an epic advent calendar, you'll need to start thinking about it now.
Advent calendars hold a special place in my heart. There is something quite wonderful about the idea that someone you love wants you to have a little token or treat each day for nearly a month; a little something each day to remind you of them.
Up until recently, advent calendars have always been a thin cardboard box adorned with a festive scene, filled with a sleeve of waxy chocolates in various holiday-inspired shapes. Many years and lot of advent calendars later, I still get excited when I see those colourful boxes in the store, but similar to my childhood memories of Red Lobster, I know that though they seem like a good idea in theory, they are far from it in application. I can no longer derive pleasure from those awful little chocolates, so it's high time an adult alternative was offered.
Below are three different kinds of advent calendars that I have attempted over the last few years, along with how I made them. I hope you are both delighted and inspired to make one for someone special this December. If you’re crafty like me, you’ll enjoy the process as much as giving it away.
Beer advent calendar
An old beer case (24 bottles) is an ideal base for this project. Either fill your case with a variety of beers or mix it up by adding a few small bottles of alcohol to the surprise.
Another box made of thinner cardboard – cracker or cereal box
24 beers, or 24 bottles of whatever
1. Cut off the top flaps of the beer case. Arrange the beer inside in a random order.
2. Cover the top of the beer case with the thinner cardboard and tape in place. With a ruler and a marker, measure and mark the tabs for the beer bottles. Then use an exacto knife to cut the flaps. Note that when I cut the flaps for the beer, I also removed some of the cardboard at the bottom of the flap so that it would be easier to break into.
3. Wrap the entire box in festive paper and use a sharpie to randomly mark the advent numbers.
4. Refrigerate for best results.
Homemade treats advent calendar
This advent calendar was developed for the foodies in my life. I got all the supplies for the containers at Micheals craft store.
String or ribbon
Stamps and ink
Little bags – for the treats
A variety of homemade treats – I made peppermint patties, truffles, gingerbread caramels, chocolate dipped orange peel, whipped shortbread, cranberry jellies, chocolate dipped cranberry jellies.
I measured and cut large boxes and small boxes depending on the size of the small bags I purchased and how many of each treat would fit in them.
Then I folded, stamped, and numbered each box.
I punched holes in the top of the bag and the boxes, so that I could string the bags into the box, both to secure them tougher, and also so the box would stay closed. Also, it just looked nice.
12 Days of Christmas advent calendar (does that make sense to say?)
If you aren’t going to get the chance to see the person you want to give the calendar to until Christmas day, you might want to consider the idea of a 12 day advent calendar, instead of a 24 day one that leads up to Christmas.
A box big enough to fit your bottles, I think I used a wine case.
Another piece of box for the top
12 bottles of choice
Cut off the top flaps of the box you’re using for the base. Arrange the bottles inside in a random order.
Cover the top of the box with another piece of cardboard and tape in place. With a ruler and a marker, measure and mark the tabs for the beer bottles. Then use an exacto knife to cut the flaps.
Wrap the entire box in festive paper. Carefully cut away the paper from the flaps and tape the rest of the paper in place.
Using a marker, write the numbers 1 through 12 in random order on the flaps.