With 3 minxes, a full and cluttered house, and enough Christmas decorations to fill an entire street, the last thing we want is 3 chocolate-filled novelty Advent calendars. ‘Where would we hang them?’ I wail every year. ‘Think of the expense!’ moaned The Boss.
A few weeks ago I was planting some broad beans into toilet roll cardboard inners to protect the new little seedlings when they sprout, for planting and (optimistic) overwintering. We had loads of tubes left, and Maxi had the bright idea of making them into a Homemade Advent Calendar. Between the 5 of us, we came up with this (instructions below):
- The minxes stuck down little squares of tissue paper over the top of 26 toilet toll tubes.
- Then they mixed up some green poster paint and PVA glue and plastered it over the outside of the tubes.
- While it was still wet, they formed the tubes into the shape of a Christmas tree, then blew glitter along the sides. It dried overnight and stuck together quite well.
- The minxes wrote numbers on random tissue-covered rolls, from 1 – 24.
innards of the calendar
The Boss and I raided the treats cupboard and filled the numbered tubes with chocolate sweeties.
- He then used a hot glue gun to stick the tubes to a piece of cardboard that came off the back of a
lorry art-paper pad.
With the cost of the chocolates, I don’t think a homemade Advent Calendar is much cheaper than a shop-bought one, but it works for me: it uses up craft materials and chocolate we already had, and the kids had so much fun making it that it was (almost) worth clearing up the glitter mess afterwards!
Edwinn: butter wouldn’t melt…
I’ve spent the last few months distracting the kids from last year’s visit of Edward the Elf by: writing a letter to Santa asking him not to send us an elf this year; bad-mouthing how naughty he’d been all month; and exclaiming, “Oh, I hope he doesn’t come back!” In reality I’ve been crocheting another elf to visit this year alongside Edward, and getting just as excited as the minxes.
The day before the elves arrived, the whole family Trout plus in-laws were out walking in some local woods. One of the trees has a brilliant hollow that looks just like a fairy door. I spun a quick tale about it being the treehouse of a cousin of Edward’s – Edwinn –
and that the minxes would have to keep quiet in case Edward happened to be visiting and heard them, and decided to follow us home. As I’d hoped, the minxes yacked loudly and excitedly instead.
December 1st came. My in-laws gave the girls an advent calendar each, and gamely helped them unpack and hang up all the Christmas decorations. While they did that, I furtively plonked the 2 elves, a chocolate orange and box of bittermints in a plant-pot, alongside a letter from Santa introducing Edwinn: elf shelf letter 2013 2. Our house has lots of really old bells that link to the outside bell, so it was easy to nip upstairs and ring the bell for the girls to answer without giving the game away. Three overjoyed little minxes jumped up and down excitedly when they found the elves, whilst I successfully feigned frustration and grumpiness.
Mwahahahaha, let the fun commence!