One of the holiday traditions both my son and I look forward to each year is the advent calendar. He loves having something to open every day in December and I love watching his anticipation each day.
I'll admit that for the last two years, we’ve been using calendars that are store-bought and have a piece of chocolate behind each door. This year, I wanted to do something different. Something more personal. I know he likes the little treat every day and I am happy to still give that to him but I wanted to make sure he doesn’t grow up thinking that opening an advent calendar just means getting chocolate.
So, I decided to make a tag with pockets for each day. In each pocket, I put a card with a little message. Every night, he will take out the appropriate card and do whatever’s on it.
Here’s what one tag looks like:
My tags are constructed very simply. Since there are 25 days, I decided to pick 5 different color schemes for the tags and pockets and I repeated each five times. Here are the basic steps I followed for each tag:
- Take manila tag, adhere to background paper, cut.
- Ink edges with dark brown chalk ink.
- Cut pocket, ink its edges using the same ink.
- Stitch around the tag, stitching the pocket in place in the process.
That’s it. Simple as pie.
Here’s how they look altogether:
materials | papers and embellishments (The Girls' Paperie)
If you look carefully, you can see that the color combinations repeat but because I embellished each slightly differently, they don’ t look exactly the same.
Here is a closer look at each tag:
For the insides, I made a 2x2 square which says “ celebrate the season” in tiny font. (You can download it here. I then printed them out and punched out the squares. I stapled ribbon to the back of each
Finally, I wrote each day’ s item on the tag.
Some of the items are purely for him (like the one in the photo) and others are family-related like “give your brother a hug.” And yet others are more community-wide, like helping a friend at school.
Here’ s what the tags look like with the papers in them.
I’ll admit that this project was a bit time consuming, but mostly because I spent a lot of time picking the simple embellishments on each tag. I love the fact that I can keep the same system year after year and even use the same squares, or change them around as my kids grow up. I can even put two squares in one pocket so each of my kids can draw one.
Flexible, simple, pretty.