Friday, November 7, 2014

Personalized Advent Calendars

I like to make advent calendars for my kids ... and by kids I mean young adults who are 20 and 22 years old. Crazy, I know. I can't help myself though. I really love being creative and especially when that creativity means giving little treats to younguns that are off at university and working hard. 

Every year I think of a new advent calendar to send them.  I could make the same one every year, but where would be the fun in that. So I thought long and hard about what to make this year. The few non-negotiables were that the advent calendar must be able to be mailed since both Kate and William are away at university; the treats would be chocolates because in our family treats=chocolates; and it had to be suitable for someone in their 20s.  

After some thought I came up with the idea to make personalized advent calendars so they would suit the individual child. I used toilet paper rolls cut in half for both advent calendars. They were the perfect size to hold the chocolates and were the right price. 

Personalized Advent Calendar #1
Kate was overseas for the first half of this year studying at the University of Bath and doing lots of traveling. I decided to make her advent calendar with little sketches illustrating her year as it unfolded. I started off with our home with the Christmas tree up and then her flight to the UK and then her time in Paris etc. I cut out small rectangles the size of the half toilet paper rolls and sketched and then painted the little scenes to fit.  I either used Kate's photos or searched online for some inspiration as to what to draw because believe me I'm not able to draw without looking at a picture.  I then glued the little scenes on the toilet paper rolls which contained the chocolates. The little chocolate packages were then taped to three rows of ribbons which were attached to a branch.

Personalized Advent Calendar #2
William has been studying hard and learning not one, but two languages - both French and Chinese. I really admire his perseverance. He has taught himself enough that he has read French philosophy and the Tao Te Ching in the original languages. So I thought his advent calendar could help expand his vocabulary to include Christmas-related words, you know words like 'candle', 'joy', 'sheep' - things that might not show up in a philosophy book.

Fortunately I had the help of our eldest son (who is also learning Chinese and French) and our daughter-in-law. It actually took some managing to get the Chinese character drawn with the corresponding French word (done the right way up) on the back. I was the translator and director (and photographer) and Malcolm drew the Chinese characters and Christie wrote the French word in calligraphy. It was definitely a team effort.

I assembled the calendar by putting the chocolate inside the half toilet paper roll, stringing a piece of twine through it, and taping it shut.

And then I packaged them up and sent them off to the hard-working students. The countdown begins!

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  1. What clever ideas. I love how each advent calendar relates to the person it is going to. And love your kid's names.

  2. Wow! I don't think a toilet paper tube has ever seen such education, lol. What a thoughtful and lovingly made gift! Wonderful for the receivers and a special memory for the three of you.

  3. Brilliant ideas. I am just getting ideas together for my grand daughters first advent...thank you!

  4. What thoughtful, beautiful calendars! Great idea!

  5. Wow! You are very creative. Love both of these and I'm sure your kids will be thrilled to receive them.

  6. That's just brilliant- I especially love the way that you reused the toilet paper rolls. Recycling, and creative, and thoughtful - you've got it all! thanks for sharing

  7. I absolutely love these!!! I'm actually starting work on an advent art journal. :)

  8. Really sweet and so creative! Love them! Makes me wish I had someone to make an advent calendar for. =)