Good morning CraftyStealers!

I know that Thanksgiving hasn’t happened quite yet, and I’m not a fan of Christmas decorations going up in July, however, I couldn’t help myself – today’s Sunday School does have to do with Christmas.  More specifically counting down to Christmas! Since advent calendars have to begin on the first of December, you need some advance warning, right?

Growing up, my mom had an advent calendar with little doors.  My sister and I would take turns opening those doors and eating the gumdrop or Hershey’s kiss that was hiding behind them.  I wanted to keep that special countdown going with my children.

Last year, during a discussion with my friends, and crafts we could do with our kids, we came up with the idea of a “giving tree” advent calendar.  Instead of pieces of candy, our kids would pick a good deed to do each day. 

What we used to make our trees:

  • Christmas Tree form (ours was made of foam and came from Target)
  • coordinating Christmas paper
  • punches/die-cutting machine (I used a snowflake punch and circle punch)
  • stickers or embellishments
  • small jar or container to hold the ornaments
  • low-tack tape

My friends and I got together and made a day of it.  We punched the circles from paper, and punched snowflakes to layer on top of those circles: 

Then laminated them (I used an a Purple Cow personal laminator that I LOVE!) and trimmed them.

We made a list of nice things our kids could do (they ranged in age from 3-5).  The list included things such as:

  • Make a holiday card for a friend and mail it.
  • Go through your toys and pick 5 to donate to a child who doesn’t have as much.
  • Pick an angel from the angel tree at church.
  • Call grandma or grandpa and tell them you love them.
  • Make holiday bookmarks and put them in library books to brighten someone’s day.
  • Ask Mom or Dad if you can do a chore to help.
  • Go to the park and pick up 5 pieces of trash.
  • Give your sister or brother a hug.
  • Make cookies for a neighbor.
  • Say a prayer for someone sick.

Using a dry-erase marker, I wrote one good deed on the back of each “ornament”.  I didn’t use permanent marker because I know that as my children grow older, we can choose different good deeds to put on the ornaments.  I had my children decorate a small jar to keep the ornaments in. 

Every day, starting on the first day of December, the kids would pick an ornament, read the deed and place the ornament (using low-tack tape) on the tree. With two small kids, I also made extra ornaments (laminated square and Christmas die-cuts) so that each one could “decorate” the tree with an ornament of their own.

My kids loved waking up every day to see what they their good deed for the day was – and I loved getting to teach them that doing the little things to brighten someone’s day is just as important as the big things.

Have any of you made or started to make an advent calendar for your home this year? We’d love to see them! Post a pic to our Facebook page or a link to your blog post about your project in our forum, the Craft Room!

Have a great day, and make sure to “steal” some time to get some crafting in!