Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Advent Calendar

Last year, I briefly described an advent calendar idea in my blog post here. This year, I've improved upon this idea and should be able to reuse this calendar for many years to come. Here is what I did.

1. I got a large wooden advent calendar with doors at Costco, sort of like this one.

2. I bought this 24 piece wooden puzzle from Amazon. It actually came with 3 puzzles, so I took out one and put the other two away for when Jim is older.

3. I painted the puzzle over with red acrylic paints. I had to do 3 coats, then afterward I sponged on polka dots and glitter. Afterward the edges where I took the puzzle apart were rough and made the puzzle difficult to fit together. I used a nail file on the edges to sand down the paint so that the puzzle would fit together flush again.

4. I used a white acrylic pen to write on each piece. I'll explain what I wrote and why below. Finally, I sealed it all with acrylic sealant. 

5. I wrapped 24 gifts and labeled them with either a number (for the date) or an outline of a puzzle piece.

Here's what I did:

Date:                      Piece Says:                               Package Says:                 Package  Contains:
1                            "Get a Christmas Tree"                "One"                             Candy canes
2                            "Write a letter to Santa"               "Two"                           Letter and Envelope w/candy
3                             "?"                                            Piece outline                   500 piece Christmas puzzle
4                             "Get a new book"                      "Four"                            A new book
5                             "Read Santa Mouse."                 "Five"                             Chocolate treats
6                             "Look at lights"                           "Six"                               Treats for the car ride
7                             "Go to Alpenrose Dairy"             "Seven"                          Treats for the car ride
8                              "?"                                           Piece outline                     Gingerbread house kit
9                              "Donate a toy to needy kids"       "Nine"                            Chocolate treats
10                           "Watch a Christmas Carol"          "Ten"                             Treats for the movie
11                           "Pick a story to read"                "Eleven"                         Chocolate treats
12                           "Make Cookies"                        "Twelve"                        New cookie cutters
13                          "Watch the Grinch"                   "Thirteen"                          Treats for the movie
14                          "Take a family photo"                "Fourteen"                       photo ornament
15                          "Happy Anniversary!"                "Fifteen"                   Gift card for Cheesecake Factory
16                         "Have hot cocoa by the fire"       "Sixteen"                Hot cocoa packets and candy canes
17                          "?"                                           Piece outline               Supplies to make ornaments
18                         "Pick a story to read"                  "Eighteen"                          Chocolate Treats
19                           "?"                                          Piece outline               Supplies to make Christmas cards
20                          "?"                                           Piece outline                Apples to Apples (new game)
21                          "Pick a story to read"               "Twenty-one"               Chocolate Treats
22                           "?"                                           Piece outline                 A new story book
23                    "Read the Night Before Christmas" "Twenty-three"                 Chocolate treats
24                           "?"                                            Piece outline             New pajamas for entire family

I looked at the pieces and realized that there were a total of 7 uniquely shaped pieces. Those were the ones that could be used to match up with a gift, and I matched those with the biggest and best packages. Otherwise, the piece simply had instructions and had a small numbered package to open as well. (I think the outlines rather than numbers add a lot of suspense!)

Merry Christmas!