Well...I have to confess. Last year we did not have an Advent Calendar. SHOCK. I mean, I grew up with one that was an integral part of my Advent experience so I'm quite ashamed to admit that there was not a calendar here. Usually I would buy one at the Catholic book store and open the windows on the picture of the nativity scene, but last year we didn't even have that (of course...we were in the midst of unpacking from moving).
I decided that this year I would make one. My dear hubby and I went back and forth with a few of my ideas I'd gotten from other fellow bloggers online and finally we settled on something that is a variation on different ideas. We are doing boxes...but not in a stationary box (as we have no shelving space/table space for said box) but as ornaments on our barren tree (we decorate it Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed). So here's what we did and how to do it...only a few pics as I've been frantically trying to finish this and didn't take time for many pictures. Most of the ones I took were after the fact!
What you need:
Itty bitty boxes from a craft store (we used stars for 1st, 2nd and 4th weeks and circles for 3rd week)
Acrylic paints (I didn't seal them...as they'll only be out briefly once a year, but you could buy a modge podge or other finish to make it glossy)
String/thin twine or thin elastic to make the ornament loop (Hubby suggested just using ornament hooks but I was concerned about the little guy getting the hooks)
an old paper window Advent Calendar for Scripture quotes (or type/copy/print your own)
a nail to poke a hole in the box
Box fillers (stickers/candy)
1) Paint all the boxes/lids and let them dry (I'm laughing b/c I didn't do it this way...but it's the way you SHOULD do it...lol). We used purple for most of it and pink for Gaudete Sunday through the third week of Advent. You could use any color you like.
2)Poke a single hole in the box where you want the loop to go through. Thread the string through and make a knot to hold it there. You should have a knot inside the box and the string coming out the top in a straight line. Wrap the string around itself and knot it at the top of the box to make a loop. The knot should be close to the box. I accidentally learned how to make a slip knot doing this...a slip knot works well too.
3) Cut out and glue your scripture into the lid of the box for the appropriate day (this can vary...I just used the days as marked on my old calendar)
4) Write (using your marker) the number on the front of the lid AND inside the box.
(Once the box is opened you can leave the lids in a pile and watch the stack grow! Also the unopened boxes stand out counting the days to Christmas!)
5) Fill your box with goodies (we used marshmallows/swedish fish/stickers and the last week we used nativity stickers plus goodies...we'll use the nativity stickers to make a mini nativity that will hang in their room)
6) Hang them on your tree! We started near the bottom...not at the bottom since we're hanging Jesse Tree ornaments on the tree too...but starting with 1 at the bottom moving all the way up to the top is the ideal (following the star!). This Advent there are 26 days and then Christmas Day. So we made 26 boxes numbered 1-26...I also made extras numbered 27 and 28 in case there are more days another Advent. I'm trying to avoid doing this all over again! Can you tell? My hubby mentioned I probably will only ever need 27, but it's good to be prepared. :)
7) You can have a "Christmas Box" which is what we are going to do. I will refill the Christmas box every day of Christmas. Either with a mini present or a goodie/treat. On Epiphany I'll try to do something special related to the Wise Men. If you are patient (unlike me) you could wait and have them stick the Wise Men stickers on the nativity scene on the feast of Epiphany.
I had fun coming up with this! I'm glad that it is easily modified from year to year. Perhaps one year we'll put Jesse Tree symbols IN the boxes or have a mini nativity with the little pieces in each box...the possibilities are endless!