This year, our first in our new home, I figured we should do something different, something special for the holidays. So I decided to put together a thrift store (second hand or previously enjoyed) advent calendar. Thus far, it’s been a really big hit!
We’ve all had those store bought advent calendars with the icky pieces of low quality chocolate behind each window, counting down the days to the holidays. Well, the thrift store advent calendar may count down the days to the holidays, but it’s WAY more fun, and really wasn’t all that expensive either. It may be a little late for you to make one for this year, but I’ll talk you through the process anyway. I have a feeling it may be one other kids would enjoy too.
Step One: Collect the Goodies!
Every kid, or kid at heart, has something little they really enjoy. For Lily-Ann I knew I could find a ton of little My Little Pony and Littlest Petshop items in thrift stores and from my fellow collectors at the MLPTP (an online forum). Used toy cars, and other collectibles would also be great, and for the bigger kids in your life I’m sure there are all sorts of things you could find – think about their favourite things and just go from there.
Step Two: Decide on Packaging!
You’ll also need packaging for your advent calendar. We went cute and inexpensive with these little craft baggies. I actually found them in the baking section at Michael’s, and they were only a few dollars a pack. I bought two packs, one in red and the other in green.
Step Three: Organize your Finds!
Next I poured all the goodies out on my bed and grouped them by theme. In the picture above you can see that a bunch of the LPS items actually made a pretty good “camping” collection. You can see how easy it would be for the girl to pretend that a kitten and a hamster head out for a weekend retreat with everything they might need. Arrange and rearrange everything you’ve purchased until you’ve got 24 (or however long your countdown will be) piles of goodies.
Step Four: Label the Bags!
Labeling the bags is the next step, and while there are lots of cute ways you could do this, I’m about keeping it easy. So if you feel up to it you can use glitter and glue, beads, or stickers, stencils or cut outs, and any number of wonderfully crafty-good items… but I simply grabbed one of the girls markers and wrote right on the bags. As long as you have one bag for every day of your countdown, you are good to go.
Step Five: Fill the Bags!
Deciding what goes in the bag for each day is a fun part. Well, at least I know I enjoyed it… I staggered things so every few days there would be a toy, and it would alternate with a crafting item, or maybe a dress-up item for one of her ponies, or collector’s cards. Of course, you could just dump any old thing in any old bag in any old order, but I had fun with it. LOL
Step Six: Close and Place!
Then all that is left is taping the bags closed and putting them around the tree, leaving them out to be pondered over and opened with relish and the joy of discovery. Enjoy your countdown!!!