Advent on a Shoestring

Or perhaps some leftover ribbon in this case…

In recent years I had started a tradition of buying a Waldorf-y advent calendar. You know the kind I mean…beautiful watercolor illustrations, gnomes peaking out from behind trees, windows that glow most wonderfully when placed in an actual window….magical and lovely, and oh, so expensive! Money being what it is these days, I couldn’t even begin to justify the expense on something that would last us but a month. I looked a bit at some of the less expensive options, but all I could find was a hideous collection of tacky junk, most of which was full of chocolate…not what I had in mind.

Time passed…


Late in the afternoon of November 30th, it donned on me that the very next day was the first day of advent. This year, of all years, felt like one where this season of waiting and expectation needed to be recognized. And so, I came up with a quick little advent calendar of my own, using bits of things that I had around. Twenty-four little red and white felt stockings mark the days. A small felt star, placed in the opening of the current day to mark our progress.


The stockings are very, very simply made, with just a bit of contrast stitching or pinked edges as decoration. If I had had more time, I would have hand embroidered the days, but since that wasn’t an option, I used a combination of gold and silver scrap-booking pens to mark them. It’s not as nice looking as it could be, but it does the job for now and perhaps I’ll get a chance to go back and embroider them before next year.

::some of the most festive exposed studs around!::


I decided that I couldn’t possibly commit myself to 24 days of little gifts and sometimes large activities like I did last year, but that I could do a few very simple things here and there. So some days the stocking holds a small slip of paper with a note on it. To date, every day has had a note, but I’m sure there will come a day when that is not possible. I’m keeping things very, very simple and it’s working out beautifully!

Some ideas that I’ve used so far, or plan to use in the future include:
*Reading Christmas stories- I suspect this one will appear a lot! Laying and cuddling and reading, I can do!
*cut paper snowflakes
*bake cookies
*make spiced cider
*go caroling
*make paper chains
*get a tree
*decorate the tree
*make decorations and decorate the small living tree in the boys’ room
*hang special ornaments (each child has their own “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament that gets hung on the wall, instead of the tree, for safety’s sake.)
*visit a light display
*bake shortbread
*Watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ (for the older boys only)
*Watching the sunrise on the Solstice
*Decorating a tree outside with edible ornaments for the animals
*making white hot-chocolate

Very, very simple and easy things that I would plan on doing anyway, all inexpensive or free. I’m actually finding that there are a lot of benefits to *me*, doing it this way! One small thing a day, instead of a whole over-whelming holiday to-do list and every day our house is just a bit more festive, at a very pleasant and easy to handle pace. Most lovely indeed.

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6 thoughts on “Advent on a Shoestring

  1. taimarie

    We are doing the same sort of thing- with a little envelope for each day. Today’s was “pick up uncle M from the airport,” something that we obviously would have done anyway, but my guy was thrilled with. I think your stockings are super cute- and the star is great! Happy countdown!

  2. Lizz

    I too am doing things very very simple this year. Not unlike yours. It’s gratifying to enjoy oneself and not just ‘do’. I wish you all the peace and love right now.

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