Now that my son is 2, it feels like he is experiencing the holidays for the first time! I set up all my Christmas decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving and he has been super amped ever since! He can actually exclaim “WHOA! CHRISTMAS TREE!” every time he walks in the room and he has begged me daily to watch the old Frosty the Snowman show that I saved on our DVR. He loves the lights, ornaments, stockings, the nutcracker figurines and most of all… he loves the prospect of lots of new toys!
Now that I can see that he can really wrap his brain around this whole Christmas thing, I want to be sure that we start talking to him about the real meaning of the all the celebration. Christmas is full of lots of super fun and special things, but it’s really about Jesus and his birth. We celebrate Jesus Emmanuel (God with us) taking on human flesh and living amongst us, ultimately to die for our sins. Lucas’s ability to understand this weighty concept is pretty limited at his age, but I think it’s worth it to start the conversation.
I started brainstorming ways to introduce the concept and I thought of an advent calendar. My mom bought him a Wow Toys advent calendar and I thought it would be a cool idea to add to the fun by making a larger advent calendar that could include some Bible verses to read together as well.
The Challenge: To make a large scale advent calendar that would pique the interest of a 2 year old boy.
My Inspiration: I have already mentioned that my mom’s gift of an advent calendar inspired me, but I also took to the internet (as I always do..) for additional ideas. A quick Pinterest search showed me that there are about a million ways to do an advent calendar from using envelopes to shoe organizers, it’s all been done! I decided I would use whatever I could find at Hobby Lobby for the cheapest price.
I also found some free printables for an advent calendar at the Simple as That blog. I really love some free printables and her design was cool and modern.
Finally, I found the perfect (free!) printable Bible verse cards at Happy Home Fairy blog.
What I Need:
- 24 count Christmas themed treat snacks ($2.99 retail, 50% off at HL: $1.49)
- 2 Sheets of cardstock paper ($0.49 x 2 = $0.98)
- 24 count clothespins ($3.99 retail, 40% off at HL = $2.40)
- 2 spools (1 silver, 1 gold) ribbon ($2.99 each, 50% off at HL = $2.99 for both) – Not Pictured
Total Invested: $7.86
I also needed:
- Glue stick
- Printer to print the printable items
- 3M small plastic hooks (I had bought these earlier in the week for other X-mas decor)
- Random small toys, candy put in the bags (I spent about $15 at the dollar store on toy cars, stickers etc..)
Who is Helping Me: Random people on the internet for inspiration and providing the printables, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby
Who is NOT Helping Me: I had a little trouble getting the 3M strips up properly, but eventually I got it
How I Did It:
- I put my very busy, very nosy toddler down for a nap so I could focus.
- I gathered my supplies.
- I printed the advent calendar numbers on red and green cardstock and then cut them out individually.
- I glued the numbers on each bag with the glue stick
- I printed and cut out the daily Bible verses and then placed them in their corresponding bag
- I stuffed the bags with the toys/candy evenly so each day will be have an awesome surprise.
- I measured my wall and strategically placed the 3M hooks in 3 rows.
- I tied ribbon from one hook to the other in each row
- I clasped each bag randomly to distribute them onto the 3 ribbon rows.
- I said a little prayer that the 3M hooks will hold for 24 days.
Would I do it again: The evaluation of this endeavor will have to wait until December 1st when we open our first gift. I’ve introduced it to my son and he seems very interested so far. I’m really worried about the 3M hooks giving way so I may be making a early-to-mid-December Target run to pick up some stronger hooks. *fingers crossed*