For all you last-minute people out there: here’s a tutorial for a super simple advent calendar. You can easily make adjustments and make it as fancy or as simple as you want! All you need is paper (A4 size), some blank cards (A6=10,5×14,8cm), tape, printer/pen/other mark making method, mini wooden pegs, and some twine for hanging. And if you’re short on supplies you can skip the pegs and hanging altogether, and place the envelopes in a box or a bowl instead.
I made a grown-up version of an advent calendar by choosing a poem for each day, but you could hide any type of messages or drawings inside yours. The folded envelopes can also hold flattish treats. I used a typewriter with white transfer paper (the type used in transferring sewing patterns) sandwiched between black paper and a lightweight sheet of waste paper to create white text on black paper. This level of sophistication is entirely optional – you can use either lighter colour paper and print/write/draw on it, or use white gel liner pen on black paper, if you, too, are a fan of the white on black look.
I then printed the numbers 1-24 on some blank kraft cards. You can download a printable pdf for the number cards here, including that number 25 that’s unnecessary to us Finns, but feel free to skip the printable and just do the numbering by hand in your chosen technique (i.e. calligraphy, collage, papercutting, or simply write the numbers with a pen like any normal person not looking for extra difficulties would). Some printers can’t even handle cardstock, so don’t despair – just work around it. The number cards are reusable, so once you get them done, next year’s advent calendar is almost done (maybe not quite, but it’s a start anyway)!
The technique I used for folding the poems is the same I shared with you earlier in my folded envelope tutorial, with the flaps wrapping up the other way on this one. I made a quick instagram video to show you how it’s done, but for more detailed description view both the video and the written and illustrated tutorial and adjust the flaps accordingly. Use a sheet of A4 waste paper to create a mock-up and check how the numbers on your cards line up (or better yet, if you’re doing the numbers by hand, do them only after you’ve folded the papers, so you know exactly where to place them).
Once you’re done with folding your calendar messages, it’s time to hang them up in a nice row (or a messy one). As we celebrate Christmas on the 24th already, I got away with typing just 24 poems I like for one reason or another (it took me a while…). Had I chosen only short, small ones, I could’ve gone with half the size for a super cute mini calendar, and less than half the typing time. If you’d prefer to make the smaller version, choose A5 paper (14,8x21cm) and A7 cards (7,4×10,5cm).
At this tender age of 32 neither I or my dear V are impatiently waiting for Christmas, so this advent calendar is more like a 24-day-long Christmas present than a countdown to a magical day. Material gifts have become less and less important to us, and many others, making this type of advent calendar a great alternative way to celebrate the holiday season. Have you come up with ways to spend a grown-up Christmas while still perhaps holding on to some traditions? Who would you make an advent calendar for? Your kids, your spouse, your parents? What would you hide in their calendar?