Thursday, December 1, 2011


Every year I say I'm going to make an advent calendar, or at least buy one. I grew up with the kind with that resembled a little house, the kind with tiny, perforated windows that required mom's long fingernails to jimmy before we ripped them open. Each day brought us closer to Christmas. Each number revealed was likely one less aspirin mom needed to take to stave off the incessant WHEN IS CHRISTMAS? IS IT NOW? IS IT NOW? questions. (You know the calendar was invented by the really, really tired parent of cranky children. My theory.)

Every year I have good intentions. Every year I also have an empty riddling rack I picked up on an excursion to Napa. Every year I try to justify keeping the ridiculous heavy, so not babyproofed space taker-upper.

And then my a-ha moment! (Not the kind where I get sucked into a black and white sketched video. That would be way cooler)

Wine bottle holder = unexpected advent calendar!

A quick trip to Michaels, some stenciling and closepinning, and voila! A budget friendly calendar.

The dilemma was what to put inside them. I'm not really keen on the idea of treats or presents inside. There is little left of the meaning of the holiday beyond the gross commercial aspect, and I didn't want to encourage it anymore than necessary. Leave it to my artist daughter to happen upon an elegant solution. She sketched some holiday-themed drawings and tucked them inside the pouches. Caleb and I pledged to do the same, so that each day we will open up someone's work of art, a story, and we'll have a countdown that hopefully puts a little more love and closeness into the season.



Here's day 1 with Harlow's Christmas elf. And possibly an incarcerated frog.

How does your family acknowledge the holiday season?


  1. That's so beautiful. This year I broke down and bought three (fair trade :P) chocolate advent calendars for my three little ones. We had big plans to make one, but didn't quite get there. I too dislike the treats thing. At least this one has the story that traditionally came along with the religious ones I had as a kid.

    Being that I am now completely agnostic and secular, I have a complicated relationship with any holiday that is mixed with religion. This is made far worse by my desire to not raise consumerist children. Christmas is probably the hardest tightrope to walk, that and the allowance thing. (I'm still trying to figure that one out. it is definitely in trial-and-error zone now.)

    But I really really love what you are doing and I am inspired to get back onto the horse. On Sunday we are going to start a "reverse" calendar, where we mark every day with a story, poem, artwork, whatever (how about a note about what we did that day?), until we hit Christmas day. I'd start tomorrow but ... tomorrow is too crazy!

    So thanks. What a lovely idea you, and your beautiful daughter, have spawned inside of my brain.

  2. this is so sweet. what a great collection of drawings you will have! (in addition to the ones she's already made you :)) make sure to post pics of the parents' artwork too!