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How to Make Your Own Christmas Calendar

Another year is over and Christmas is just around the corner. As in many parts of Europe, people in Switzerland enjoy the tradition of counting the days until Christmas eve. This is usually done with an Advent Calendar (advent is the season of waiting and preparation before Christmas) also called a Christmas Calendar which counts the 24 days from December 1st o 24th or an Advent Wreath that counts the last four Sundays before Christmas.

Every department store and supermarket in Switzerland has a selection of ready-to-use Christmas Calendars on sale - most of them in form of a wintery picture with one little door or window to open every day. Personally, I prefer homemade calendars but then you might not be lucky enough to receive one every year so a store bought one can be a solution. This way at least you'll get to enjoy the suspense and surprise as to whats hidden behind a window. Some actually have little chocolates hidden behind the windows.

Milka Christmas Calendar - Steffis Shopping Blog
Homemade calendars (and ready-made calendars where you have to supply the filling yourself) work the same way: starting on December 1st you open a bag or box of some sort and find a little present in it. It can be chocolate, a ticket to the movies, a toy or anything really. Obviously, the contents need to be adapted according to who you are making the calendar for - no point in putting a scrunchy in your boyfriends calendar or a tiny bottle of whiskey in your daughters. The basics are the same for all calendars though you just need a bit of creative, time, handicraft items and the fillings of course.

Now, you might not receive a Christmas Calendar this year but you can certainly make one for someone else - for your children, your husband or a good friend. It's not only a fun way to enjoy Christmas time but will also make a beautiful Christmas adornment for your home.

How to Make Your Own Christmas Calendar

1) Decide on the form of your calendar (if you're going with a store bought version you can skip this point). You'll need 24 containers of some sort and a way to arrange them nicely. Some type of containers can be reused another year! Some ideas for containers to use and how to arrange them:
  • small cardboard boxes wrapped in gift wrapping paper, arranged in a small pile on a shelf
  • individually wrapped gifts, hanging from a string or put in a decorated basket or bowl
  • up-side-down decorated plastic cups or paper cones on a Christmas themed sheet of paper
  • envelopes that you'll drop in the mailbox every day (works great for vouchers, letters, love notes)
  • beer or soda bottles in a case of 24 (great for boyfriends and husbands)
  • small felt or cloth bags hung on a string or attached to a Christmas tree shaped cardboard
  • colorful socks hung on a string
  • jam glasses wrapped in gift wrapping paper and put on a shelf or table
  • use the cardboard part of toilet rolls and turn them into Santa Clauses and Christmas trees, arrange on a shelf or table
  • match boxes stapled on top of each other and glued into a pyramid or cube, make sure you can still open all of them
2) Decide what to put in your calendar. This depends greatly on who'll receive the calendar. Some ideas and suggestions:
  • In general: chocolates, sweets, candy, Christmas cookies, snacks, cookie cutters, chewing gum, lollipops, pictures or photos, etc.
  • Children: small toys, stickers, voucher for favorite meal or an outing, tiny books, glitter pens, etc.
  • Husbands/boyfriends/male friends: tiny bottle of liquor, ticket to a movie, voucher for favorite meal, different selection of beer bottles, socks, cigarette lighter, toy cars, etc.
  • Girlfriend/wife/female friends: small versions of beauty products (tester size) or perfumes, candles, nail polish, decorative items, ticket to a movie, invitation for dinner, jewelry, hair accessories etc.
3) Put together your calendar. Randomly fill the 24 containers with the little gifts you prepared. Label them with the numbers 1-24 and arrange them as you planned. If you're bringing the calendar along as a gift it might be easiest to just put it in a box and assemble it once it has reached its destination (if you can't do it yourself instruct the recipient).

I collected a few pictures of different types of Christmas Calendars to inspire you! Happy Christmas Calendar making!

Individually wrapped gifts on a string (my design for this year)
Paper cones on cotton wool - Uwe Wagschal  /
Individually wrapped chocolates in a glass bowl
Gifts on stripes of cloth - Maria Bosin  /
Stuffed stockings - Martin Schemm  /
My neighbors version of a Christmas Calendar

An older and shorter post on the same topic: Christmas Calendars 2011



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