Ok, there are seriously so many good ideas out there for Advent calendars! I'm going to have to decide soon what I'm going to do this year so I can start working on it and not end up with a rush job like last year's calendar. My husband has actually put in a request: please don't make each day's container the same size. Hm, ok. So a lot of the following ideas won't work, BUT there's hope!
Aren't these amazing? 1) German lifestyle magazine Brigitte features a calendar where paper cups are decorated, filled, and then staple-gunned to a rustic plank. 2) All Sorts has this cute felt pocket calendar tutorial complete with template for sewing your own felt pockets. 3) Another example from Brigitte's inspiration gallery, this advent calendar is sewn onto a larger canvas with seams leading up to paper/fabric flags that fold back to reveal a message.
Love these! 4) is another Brigitte idea featuring decorated paper cups tied to a branch. 5) Cathe Holden offers a free downloadable calendar to use on vintage spools. Clever! 6) Brigitte really had a lot of cute ideas; here's another one featuring painted twigs and mini-presents.
I've entertained the covered matchbox idea (6) by German magazine, Wohnidee. We go through a lot of matches around here with tealights and tea drinking. They had another re-purpose idea to cover and decorate cans (7) that I like. We're pretty bad about making frequent recycling runs, so we have a nice little stash of tins in the pantry...
It Is What It Is blog provides free downloadable advent number templates to make their cute brown bagged calendar (9). Tina over at Flying House decorated envelopes (10) for her family-on-the-go. Pretty practical with those holiday travels! Eighteen25 makes pretty scrapbook paper cones to put over gifts (11). I think it would be tempting to peek, but it adds to the mantel decor! As you receive more holiday cards, you'll also make more room working your way through the calendar.
I love this Brigitte idea to paint old jars variations of a color (12) and add some simple number tags. I'm such a monochromatic person when it comes to decor, so this is totally something I'm thinking of doing! Another clever repurposing idea from Brigitte is to decorate old CD/DVD jewel cases. All sorts of flat gifts could go in here (movie tickets, treasure hunt clues, gift certificates, etc.).
If you're not up to making your own, here are a few fun examples of calendars you can purchase from the German catalog, Impressionen. A) Wooden elk/moose with numbered bags, B) red and white calendar with Lindt chocolates (yum!), C) Pretty galvanized magnetic board to hang little bags and decor, D) Red wooden tree silhouette with shelves for pretty boxes, and E) Numbered canisters to decorate, fill and stack as you please.
Lots of those to-purchase ideas look like they could easily been DIY'd, know what I mean? I have a feeling I'm going to do a combination of the jar (#12) and can (#7) ideas...I'll let you know.
What are you doing for your Advent calendar this year? Do you always do the same thing or do you try to mix it up? I have to say I didn't grow up with this tradition, but it seems to be a long-standing tradition here in Germany. I also have this feeling it's growing in popularity in general. What do you think?