I love the idea of an advent calendar. Aside for the wonderful feeling it builds up of waiting for the anticipated arrival of Christmas, and all that this holiday brings with it, it also gives a chance to enjoy something in small doses, one day at a time. Last year, my friend Susannah sent the kids the most amazing Jacquie Lawson advent calendar online. But then I got to thinking (and pinterest-ing) about doing a real advent calendar. Since our kids cannot really do sugar, the whole mini calendar with chocolates was out of the question. So I decided I wanted to do a hanging one with a wee present each day for them to open. In a way, it makes so much more sense as then they can enjoy the present each day rather than what it is like on Christmas day or birthdays when all the pressies come at once. The final presentation is so much better than I imagined in my head. I had envisioned pegging the pressies on a ribbon near the fire, but then I ended up making these amazing dangling garlands with the left over bits from our first ever proper Christmas Tree and hanging the numbered gifts on each of their garlands. For Ben, I decided to give him a wine advent calendar. My father is a master of wine and has the most amazing online shop so I rang him and asked if he could make a selection of special wines for various occasions from the casual dinner at home to the posh celebratory kind. So every day, the kids will open a gift, all more magical as they are brown paper packages tied up with strings (la de dah de dah). The best bit is for me... watching them and the wonder in their faces and the excitement of what is inside each. Such fun!
I used some paper that had wrapped some art I had framed so was recycling the paper and cut up old music paper with pinking shears for the numbers and used this glorious gold pen I found in an art shop. Three presents left to go and I ran out of the twine and had to race all around searching for something that I would have thought so very basic. I just love the rustic simple feeling of the gifts. Feels like an old fashioned Christmas.
There is something about sheet music that is so beautiful to me - perhaps if I could read it fluently, it would lose its mystery and romance, but as someone who hasn't taken music theory since I was a child, sheet music is more like art than writing to me - beautiful.
And the best bit is that the plug for the lights happens to be linked to a light switch so the kids can light up their calendars whenever they want. It just makes the room so magical - I am in heaven.
I actually started with Ben's number cards first. I knew I wanted to do hearts but thought the figures would not show up on top of the notes so I cut out 25 hearts with stiff pinking shears, and then had to match those sizes with the brown paper with the ever stiffer shears. I actually have a massive blister on my thumb from cutting out 100 tags. But worth it for they are so lovely and I now have romantic notions of doing this every year if they promise to keep their number tags.
Again, since Ben's were first, I decided to metallic spray his twine to for that extra something - bit silly really since you cannot tell at all and was just giving myself more work. Luckily learned my lesson for the kids' ones so theirs were more simple. But at least I didn't have to wrap Ben's bottles. Next year for the kids gifts, I am thinking perhaps brown paper bags instead??
So I am a bit sleep deprived at the moment. I had to wait until Ben had fallen asleep last night before I could lug up all the wine from its hiding place and set it out. I don't know why I bothered doing it last night as I was so excited for all their faces that I barely slept so I might as well have gone to bed earlier and just done it when I woke up before dawn.
I really can't say enough about how great my father was with the wine order. He was amazing at working within my price range and I cannot recommend him highly enough for all your Christmas wine orders - he just gets what we like and recommends such delicious and yet affordable wines.
So I had Ben bring the children in this morning after I had turned the lights on. He was completely surprised too which I loved and the kids were almost in shock at first, not really understanding what it was. But at bed time tonight, they couldn't stop talking about it and spent half the afternoon guessing what was in the packages.
Today they each received ornaments. The first few are for the tree since we never had one before this year so need a few larger special adornments. They felt so important finding just the spot to hang them. At the end of the 25 days, I will hopefully do a post of their gift every day - will see if I can manage to shoot them every time but fingers crossed as such a special memory, especially if this ends up being the first and last year I do it!
So happy count down to Christmas - I am so in the spirit this year, I simply can't contain myself! Happy holidays to you too xxx