Christmas will be upon us very shortly and it’s time for me to get involved in crafty decorations and ideas again. For me, the month leading up to Christmas is about finding clever ways to decorate, using handmade techniques and basic materials, like paper or string. One of my favourite Christmas traditions is the Advent Calendar. Traditionally, Advent marks the preparation of the Nativity of Jesus. A calendar marks four weeks till Christmas Day and can take many forms and styles. My Christmas style is quite organic and minimalist, and I designed 5 ideas for a Handmade Advent Calendar to inspire you.
Clay Stars on Vertical Tree
I created a 2-dimensional tree several years ago. Living in a two-bedroom apartment, finding space to display and store a Christmas is a challenge. I used to spend Christmas in the French Alps and we had the privilege of having real pine trees, which was lovely. In Australia, most of the green Christmas trees are made of plastic and it’s not my thing. For my tree, I nailed a Christmas tree shape onto a board, spray painted it white and coiled a long piece of string around the nails. It was quite a bit of work but I keep going back to this tree for my Christmas decor.
The basics of the Advent Calendar are numbers from 1 to 24 to mark each day till Christmas Day. Some calendars include a number 25. In France, most people celebrate Christmas Eve, so I have only 24 numbers in my calendar but this is up to personal choice.
My first idea for a Handmade Advent Calendar is to attach white clay ornaments to the tree, as you would with baubles. Making your own clay ornaments with baking soda and cornstarch is really easy:
I baked star-shaped ornaments and their appearance is a little rough. My handling of the star shapes needs some improvement but I quite like their slightly uneven look. I used a Sharpie to write the numbers, a little awkwardly too.
Glassine bags, Tags and Mini Pegs
The Advent Calendars I grew up with came from the supermarket, and had a chocolate or a small plastic gift in each window. Some of them were Disney themed and were absolutely garish… It was very much about what was inside the windows, remember? So I created a version of the handmade Advent Calendar to house a cookie, a chocolate or a small gift. It’s a very simple task, using hand-stamped round tags, mini pegs and glassine bags. I haven’t worked out what to put in the bags though, any ideas?
If you are curious about the Christmas Baubles, I have a blog post about it!
Clay Stars on a Tree Branch
The Tea-Tree branch is part of my home decor and I can vary the theme by hanging different things , depending on the season or holiday. I used clay ornaments again, but smaller, and a different type of string. The ornaments can be a little heavy for this type of branch but they can be baked thinner.
Black Board and Round Tags
This is an easy two-dimensional option. All you need to do is to hang a light wire across the blackboard, and hang the hand-stamped tags, easy!
Black Board and Gift Tags
Another option if you have a blackboard is to use gift tags. I’ll let you in on a little hack: I attached the gift tags and the leaves with Blu-Tack… I wrote the numbers on the tags with a grey-coloured marker but I need to improve my lettering style!
All these ideas are easy to create, very affordable and will add a nice touch of Christmas to your home for the holiday season. There are many different options for creating tags and integrating a Handmade Advent Calendar in your home decor, hopefully this will get you started. I also have some ideas for creating special Christmas wrapping and Christmas baubles. If you have any special ideas for Advent Calendars, please share them !