Paper Bag Advent Calendar

December 1st around here means opening the advent calendar.  James always gets me the Lindt one, which I love.  Unfortunately I’ve never been able to find one for him that is both something he would really like and affordable.  Now if Reese’s started making one, he’d be all over that (hint hint, Hershey’s people!).  Up until now I’ve been hiding chocolates I’ve bought in a Hallmark ornament that is a little mailbox, with a flag so the person knows when something is in it.  The problem is that sometimes the mailbox is too small for whatever treat I want to put in there, or I would get busy then forget to put something in it at all.  Which meant feeling bad as I’m scrambling to grab the chocolates, which kind of kills the mystique, you know? So this year I was searching google and Pinterest and came across some ideas that wouldn’t require a fortune or an apprenticeship in carpentry.  So when we were at the dollar store on the weekend, I picked up brown paper lung bags and clothes pins.  James was pretty confused, haha.  Monday night he walked in the house, then past the darkened dining room, noticed something on the wall, flicked on the dining room light and said, “Ohhhhhh!” and then laughed and hugged me.

James advent 2014

I used red ribbon tied to two 3M hooks, and clothes-pinned the little bags to the ribbon.  Then I took some snippets of artificial garland and berries I had, and covered the hooks. I originally thought I would just put the candy in the lunch bag, clothes-pin it to some string like I had seen, and ta-da!  But then I realized it would require a LOT of free wall, or a very large empty picture frame, none of which we have. So I was sitting with all my supplies by my sewing machine, and decided I would try making little pouches instead.  I cut off the bottom of the lunch bag, then flattened out the ‘tube’ that was left.  Then I used red thread and zig-zag stitched each pouch, then just trimmed the excess paper.  I finished by writing the numbers in black marker.

advent close up

I wanted to do something fancy with the numbers but ran out of time (I wanted it finished before he got home, and we had an appointment to get to).  Next year I might make something in fabric so it can be used year after year. *Update: After the 3M hooks coming off the wall 4 separate times and having to get up on my step stool to fix it, I got fed up and screwed cup hooks into the wall.  So far they’ve held brilliantly, and the holes left will be small and easy to fix after Christmas.


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