December is finally upon us, and so it is time to break out those tried and true traditions that we all know and love. As the bros mow their lip lawns and the ladies recover from black friday fights and brawls (was that sexist?), the brainstorming of winter activities and ways to spread holiday cheer sets in. One of my favourite memories as a child is opening up the cardboard flap of my advent calendar each morning to indulge in a sub- par chocolate santa pre- 8am. Sometimes I would invite myself to open my brothers for him too, it’s always nice to lend a helping hand this holiday season. He didn’t need the chocolate anyways. In fact, he would probably prefer a cigarette and a coffee hiding behind the calendar flap, not a mediocre sugar high.
So, with that thought, an idea came to mind. For my Mum’s bday (Dec 7), I would give her a homemade advent calendar. This allows me to customize the contents of each day, and give a much more personal feel to this old- school tradition.
The first advent calendar was handmade in 1851, and the tradition was so popular that by 1902 a Protestant bookshop in Germany was selling printed versions. Now i’m sure in 1901 the printed versions were pretty damn cool, but it seems that as everything else in the world has advanced, the advent calendar has just become sh*ttier. I mean honestly, the chocolate is underwhelming, the flaps definitely don’t open easily, and the selection is non- existent. Just the same santa shaped chocolate day in, day out. I’m starting to believe people only buy them so they have something to Instagram. The excitement each morning has become all about the chocolate, while i’m positive 100+ years ago it was about the element of surprise. Thus, a homemade advent calendar brings back the true essence of it’s christmas tradition, and allows you to eat all the Ferrer Rocher you’re gluttonous heart desires.
On top of this, it’s every child’s struggle to shop for their parents. They already have everything they need, and I know they feel bad when I spend my pocket change on expensive gifts that they can easily afford themselves. So, the past few years I have stuck to DIY crafts. Not only do they help me fuel my creative side, but I’ll also be able to make up for my bad behaviour this year and maybe rack up some ‘good girl’ points with Santa Claus before Dec 25. *sigh*
The hardest part about this activity was finding something to use as the shell of my advent calendar. I could build it myself, but I wasn’t in the mood to fall into a deep deep depression due to my serious lack of requitable handyman skills. I truly thought about buying the wood and taking on this project full- force only to laugh out loud and proceed to pour myself a glass of red. You can’t win them all.
I was originally going to use a tool box organizer thing and decorate it all festive- like. I also thought about using a box file organizer, but they don’t come with 24 compartments. Finally, after driving to maybe 6 craft and scrapbooking shops across the city, I stumbled upon the place I should have gone to first, Deserres. There, on the first shelf I passed by, sat a wooden christmas tree advent calendar ready to be dolled up and hit the town. It was perfect.
I also picked up some gems and flowers for embellishing, and most importantly a crate paper pad that i used to cut out squares to fit onto the fronts of each wooden compartment. I decorated as i pleased and then filled each day up.
I bought pre- wrapped chocolates and little plastic containers from Dollarama to fill with loose leaf tea. I also tried to fit in a lipstick, mints, and lip chap. All failed.
This is fun craft that is almost impossible to screw up, unlike painting. I showed K my first oil painting and his response was ‘aww’, before taking his shot. Yikes. It’s also a pretty cheap gift idea for December, whether it be for a birthday, a celebration, or just to make someone’s busiest month that much sweeter.
Okay, study time for me!