Saturday, December 4, 2010

Best Mom Ever's Advent Calendar

When Chicken Little was, well...little, I made an advent calendar with small paper mâché boxes that I'd covered in wrapping paper and wall paper scraps.  I didn't have enough small boxes, so I improvised and the collection grew to include various decorative boxes that found their way into our Christmas decorations.  Here's a bit of the collection that I cropped from an OLD picture (the pink striped one is an example of how it started):

Every year I'd fill them with small gifts - mostly from the dollar store - or candy. I'd also include fun Christmas-themed things like pencils with designs on them, ornaments, or supplies for Christmas crafts.  As she got older, we continued the tradition and the gifts changed to things like lip gloss and earrings (vintage clip-ons from eBay at $1 or less/pair), with a few ornaments and candy still thrown in the mix.  I had as much fun figuring out what to put in the boxes as she did opening them. 

As I started to think about Christmas this year, I knew it was something we would both miss.  While this is a year of big changes, it doesn't mean we have to go cold turkey on everything.  I decided to ease our transition.  Even though CL's not home, I still wanted this to feel like Christmas for her (and, honestly, I'm not quite ready to give up on this fun tradition yet either).

This year, I bought some small tags and got crafty with some mod podge, scrapbook paper, rhinestones, and stickers.

Using stencils, stamps, stickers, and some freehand, I numbered each tag, 1 - 24.

Then I made a trip to the $1 sections at Target and Michael's...

...ok - so not all of this is from the $1 section, but you get the idea.  (I already had the little metal stocking and I have no idea where it came from.) 

Using envelopes, recycled boxes and wrapping paper scraps, I wrapped everything up, and attached the tags.

When it was all ready to go, I squeezed it all into a flat-rate priority mail box with some red and green tissue paper.  While she was home during Thanksgiving, I mailed it so it would be waiting when she got back to school.

As I'm sure you know, it's not about what's in the packages - it's mostly just junk - it's really about the tradition and having a bit of home with you when you're far away - and knowing that someone cares about you.

When my big, grown-up little girl checked her mail, she called me a wee bit teary-voiced and crowned me the "Best Mom Ever" - thank you very much.  ;-) 

I L.O.V.E. Christmas!

Linking up here and here and here and here - come on over and get inspired!