Make It Yourself: Matchbox Advent Calendar

I’m not really all that crafty.  I know that crafty often goes along with thrifty, but honestly I rarely can find the time to finish a crafty project from start to finish.  And I hate having unfinished projects lying around.  I’m also not a fan of kitsch, but that’s a discussion for another time.

So, why am I making an advent calendar myself?

Answer: Because I’m hacked off.

I’m irritated off that every grocery and drug store I have visited in my city (and trust me, I have tried plenty!) somehow doesn’t have an advent calendar depicting the REAL reason for advent.

Contrary to popular belief, we are not counting down the days to the arrival of Santa.  Let it be known: I am not anti-Santa.  He’s part of many traditions.  Fine.  But he’s not the whole POINT of the advent calendar.

I don’t think it’s important to discuss Santa every day from the first to the twenty-fourth of December.  And my kids are not old enough to understand that though Santa is in the picture on the calendar, he’s not what Christmas is really about.

It’s Jesus, folks.  And so there should be a manger scene somewhere on the calendar.  Last year, Santa and the village Christmas scene shared face time on the calendar.  I’m fine with that.  But not this year.  No Jesus-y advent calendars to be had.

Neutral advent calendars are fine, but the cheapest I could find one of those was 10 euro.  TEN euro!  For chocolates?  No way.

Whatever.  I guess it’s time to get crafty.

I loved the advent calendar that Simple Mom made.  Unfortunately, I just can’t get those kind of supplies here, so that design was out.

I had a look around Pinterest, and found two advent calendars I liked that were age-appropriate for our ferocious beasts boys.  Doc Sci chose the matchbox one, made originally by Gracious Rain.

I bought my matchboxes at a craft store, so they are white, not brown like the one on Gracious Rain.  I probably should have bought regular matches (see photo below), but I didn’t feel like hunting around.

I spent about 5 euro for the boxes, wrapping paper, and a glue stick.  I already had the other supplies, including the candy.

You can follow the directions from Gracious Rain since it’s her design, but it’s easy and one time through is all you’ll need.

I made a few changes (of course) which you can see in the photos below.

My matchboxes came from our one and only craft store. They were much harder to open than regular matchboxes. I'd go for those next time since at least I'd get matches out of the deal, too.

I taped the boxes together in 3 columns of 8 each, using packing instead of masking tape. I think 4 columns of 6 each would probably look better and be easier to tape together.

I wrapped the back like a Christmas present, and selected two shades of green paper for the drawer labels.

I alternated light and dark green strips of paper on the front of the "drawers," light green for even days and dark green for odd days. This is to alleviate any fighting of who gets to open the drawer each day.

I found it's best to tape the ribbon loops close to the front of the "drawer" if using cheap Scotch-like tape. Cut off the excess so it doesn't get stuck when opening/closing.

I added a white bow using some ribbon I already had. This is the rear view of the finished product.

All assembled and ready to fill!

Simple Mom’s advent calendar is all family activities.  I love that idea.  But, it’s just not a reality for my family.  My boys are too young for many of the traditional Christmas-y activities.  And, let’s face it.  I don’t have the energy to do something every single day.

So, I filled mine half-ish with activities and half-ish with chocolate.  One smartie (M&M) for each boy.  Generous, eh?

The whole project took me maybe two hours start to finish, less if you don’t have OCD tendencies when it comes to cutting and taping.  You can definitely make this in the few days left before December 1!

Does your family do an advent calendar?  Have you made one yourself?

9 thoughts on “Make It Yourself: Matchbox Advent Calendar

  1. I love your version of the Matchbox Advent Calendar. It’s just beautiful. Thanks for the link! Oh, and I’m totally with you on the real “reason for the season.” :}

    Happy Holidays~


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