Christmas is coming. And of all the traditions—tree trimming, gift wrapping, setting up nativity scenes— nothing ramps up the anticipation of Santa’s arrival as much as opening a door a day on an Advent calendar.
The first Advent calendars, made to mark the four weeks leading up to Christmas, were crafted by hand in Germany during the mid 1800s. Printed calendars were introduced in 1908, and caught on immediately, especially those pre-filled with chocolate.
Despite the continued worldwide popularity of machine-printed calendars, many American families still make at-home magic—and start a new holiday tradition—by creating their own Advent calendars.
On her designdazzle.com site, Utah-based blogger Toni Roberts shares her idea for a countdown calendar made from inexpensive socks stuffed with tags, each one listing a holiday activity, from popping popcorn to taking a drive to look at Christmas lights.
New-Sew Advent Sock Calendar
24 socks (from dollar or craft stores)
Ribbon or 5/8-inch twill tape
Mini clothespins, 24/package
24 round wood disks or hang tags
￼￼24 blank tags
Craft foam (enough to cut out 24 numbers) or self-stick numbers
1. With a cutting machine or scissors, cut out numbers from craft foam. After cutting out numbers 1-24, glue them to small, 1-inch wood disks (or use self-stick numbers).
2. Hot glue one wood disk to the front of each sock. If you would prefer to turn over the numbers as you count down days, use round hang tags instead of wood disks.
3. Stretch twill tape across the area where you will be placing the calendar to get a measurement of the piece. Mark it and take down. Don’t cut yet.
4. Lay the twill tape on the floor or counter. Arrange the socks in the desired order. Clothespin the socks to the twill tape.
5. Print and cutout the activities you’ve chosen, and paste onto the blank tags. (Or skip the tags and print the list on cardstock instead, cutting out each activity into a square piece.) Place one tag (or cut-out square) inside each sock. Remember to check your calendar to match activities with the best day to do them. You can always switch things around if necessary.
6. Grab a helper and hang up the twill tape and socks over a doorway, fireplace mantle, etc. Cut off excess tape.
For a selection of over 100 downloadable activity templates, visit communitytable.com.