Advent is a big deal in our house. An exciting time of hope and anticipation as we start to decorate the house and count down to the big day. Two of my girls have birthdays in November and it has been tradition that a special advent calendar is one of their gifts. Lego was a firm favourite when they were little as they loved to gradually build a wintry model scene. Everyone in the house has an advent calendar – though the furry one is not especially impressed with hers!
Last year I was at the Creative Craft Show in Manchester and having never tried quilting before, decided that the pre-printed advent panels by Makower would be a simple introduction. Even the instructions are printed on the panel. It took me a leisurely weekend to create this for my husband.
Being me, I couldn’t help but add a few little embellishments.
By far the most difficult part was finding tiny presents for a man, beyond the obvious chocolate. If you need any ideas, here below is what I put in this year – but shhh, don’t tell him! Physical gifts are not necessary though. Depending on the recipient, a joke, bible passage, quote or little appreciative note may be more meaningful. This blog post, ’20 Gifts That Cost Nothing’ has some great ideas
After completing a lengthy commission recently, I decided to treat myself to a really special advent calendar. It had been some time since I’d bought any beauty products and this one, although expensive, from Look Fantastic, had a lot of full-sized products, and the value of the contents far exceeded the price. When it arrived I did actually squeal in delight.
Not just because of the contents you understand. Every crafter will appreciate that you don’t necessarily use something for it’s intended purpose and these drawers will make a great storage system in the bedroom to hide (sorry house) some creative gubbins. We’re due to decorate the room and the magical design reminded me of ‘Horton House’, one of our prints by my favourite local artist Kate Lycett and has inspired ideas for the new colour scheme.
There is an argument that these type of calendars are feeding consumerism. Crafters though tend to be natural recyclers and like Eskimos, we use every part of the animal! All those numbered boxes will be re-filled next year and I’ll find a new way to present them.
My plan is that everyone in our house (not the cat!) will have a refillable calendar eventually. I’m a big fan of Debbie Shore’s books and this year she has released Sew Advent Calendars that has plenty of ideas for using up festive fabric scraps. ‘Lace pocket calendar’ is the one I’ve chosen to adapt for my eldest daughter.
This time of year, our family tries to celebrate the season by finding a good balance between treats and giving. Also rising in popularity are alternative calendars like this one we’re following by Action For Happiness.
Burning our advent candle also helps us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I’ve just read this super little book, The Greatest Gift. When Christmas preparations are getting a little stressful, this is a great reminder of what it’s all about. However you are spending this busy time of year, I hope you find time to contemplate too.