Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thrifty Living's Advent Calendar

Now that our daughter is old enough to understand about Christmas and get excited, we wanted to have an "official" advent calendar planned for the month of December. Thanks to my Christmas board on Pinterest, I've come across a ton of different ideas for homemade advent calendars. 

My favorite is this Kaisercraft Advent Calendar. It comes plain, and there are so many awesome decorating ideas. I really like the colors and decorations in this one.

I recently found this advent calendar from Target, and I love it too! 

But, both of these are a little pricey ($25 and $40, respectively), so I'm going to check after Christmas to see if I can get one on sale.

Instead of buying something that I didn't love while I try to find a good sale, I decided to use jars that I already had on hand. I easily came up with 25 beautiful glass jars! Most of them are Ball 4 oz canning jars and 1/2 Pint canning jars that I've been using for homemade yogurt, along with a few odd baby food jars, Herlocher's jars, and a spaghetti sauce jar.

I wanted to have us read through the Christmas story as we go through our jars, so I divided it up from the Gospel of Luke. This way we only have one verse to read each day. Depending on how it goes, we may read the previous verses as well as the new day's verse all together. I printed them out and cut out each verse, gluing them to colored construction paper.

Pinterest also helped me to find a ton of Christmas activities to include in our jars, but most of them didn't seem quite right for our family, so I ended up making mostly my own list there also. This was a lot of fun because I got to really personalize our advent calendar!

Here's the complete list of our advent activities:

Decorate the tree
Make paper snowflakes
Sing carols at home
Make handmade ornaments
Bake cookies
Make a popcorn garland
Dance to Christmas music
Watch Elf
Make hot chocolate
Read ‘He’s Here!’
Read ‘The King of all Kings’
Merry Christmas! Open gifts!
Pray as a family
Build a snowman
Write a letter to Santa
Go see Christmas lights
Go get the Christmas tree
Deliver cookies to neighbors
Read ‘The light of the whole world’
Make Christmas cookies
Color a Christmas picture
Read ‘The night before Christmas’
Wrap gifts

I am so excited for how the advent calendar turned out and can't wait until tomorrow to get started opening our first jar!

Here are some close-up peeks at a few of our jars.

(This jar is full of marshmallows and toothpicks...our snowman building materials!)

The Christmas Day jar.

Do you do an advent calendar with your family? I'd love to hear what you do!


  1. We have three adorable and beautiful houses that we got at Costco a few years back and we put our little treats in there. I think I will use some of your ideas and put an activity in there as well. We used to go through a verse or two of the Christmas story in Luke as well and then the kids would open the doors of the houses. I am sooo excited to do the Jesse tree Advent this year with the daily ornaments to go on our little tree and the more in depth devotionals since my boys are a little older. We started last night and we all really enjoyed it. We are also doing the 25 names of Jesus paper chain as well. Thanks for sharing! Love this time of year and we anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Savior!

  2. My kids love making "Count Down" calendars for almost every holiday. The favorite so far (and simplest) was a Christmas tree cut out of green poster board. We numbered the tree from the bottom all the way up to the top of the tree. Each day we pasted a hand-colored paper ornament on until the last day when we colored stars and pasted them on top. Our "Christmas Tree" was ready for Santa Christmas Eve.
    We also did a fun one for Thanksgiving. We glued turkey faces to paper plates and cut construction paper to look like feathers. The feathers were numbered and glued all around the plate. Every day we plucked a feather until our "turkey" was ready to cook (at least pretend cook!)

  3. I love your ideas! This is really great! I think I will do my own type of advent this year, to keep track of activities and to remember the importance of this season :)

    Hope you all have fun going through each day!

  4. Hey Beth Anne - I am brand new to your blog via The Frugal Girl and was paging through your posts. I absolutely LOVE this idea for advent!! OMG, my little baby boy is only about 6 months old and I'm already planning on how we can do this when he's big enough! I guess I better stop and enjoy this time now with him on his little blanket on the floor and start planning later LOL But, I do really like your ideas and will definitely keep stopping by! Thanks - Ellen

  5. Thanks so much, Ellen! You'll have a fun Christmas this year with your little man!


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