Not completely handmade.

I felt a little sheepish buying an Advent calendar instead of making one. Last year, we didn’t have a lot of spare cash and our gifts and decor tended to be 1) made by me  or 2) from the dollar store. And to be honest, it was a little stressful. Handmade gifts sound so pleasant to give and to receive, but at some point you encounter the fact that they take a lot of time and don’t always turn out the way you envisioned. I remember working myself into a tizzy last year when mom’s sewing machine developed problems when I was about to embark on a lot of Christmas sewing. I had presents to sew, no way to sew them, and no back-up plan. This, my friends, is the recipe for a very stupidly unhappy holiday.

Whipup had a good editorial a while back called “Giving of Gifts” in which they discussed the stress caused by trying to make too much stuff. It made me think, and if you’re tempted to try to be Martha-the-Holiday-Goddess every year, you might want to pop on over and read it. Trust me, your husband (or wife, or mother, or sister) will be happier if you decide to make less stuff and have less stress. Right, dear? 

(I have a whole ‘nother tangent about buying handmade, but I’m running out of time. So I’ll save that for later.)

Okay, on to the Advent calendar. 

Advent Calendar 1.

This is more like an “Advent string”, obviously…it’s basically a ribbon strung between two stars with a lot of little bags clipped to it. Yes, it would be very easy to make, but I found this version at La Bella Vita for $8.50 (which is a steal) and decided that supporting a local business is a very worthy cause.

Advent Calendar 2.

You could fill the bags with all sorts of things, and I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about making cards with little activities to do every day (my friend Alisha has really great memories about this sort of calendar). I filled mine with Christmas ornaments as a pleasant way to prolong the trimming of the tree. Many of these were given to husband by his mother, who used to give Josh and Esther a new ornament every year. After we got married, mom gave the box to us and I’ve had a lot of fun looking at twenty-something years of accumulated treasures.

Christmas Tree.

I don’t know that our mini-tree is capable of holding all the ornaments, but we’re certainly going to try!

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