December has arrived, and Advent has begun in our house. The countdown to Christmas is a tradition brought from my own childhood where we would be rewarded daily with a new picture to discover behind the flap of a paper Advent calendar. In an effort to minimize "stuff" - and inspired by Stephanie - we made a move to a homemade "experiential" calendar a couple of years back, where every night would bring us a new activity. Build a Fort. Take a Walk to look at the neighborhood lights. Have breakfast for dinner. Write letters to Santa. Lie in the backyard and look at the stars. We tucked these ideas, written down on paper, into numbered miniature stockings I made out of felt and hung by the chimney with care.
There are many great ideas for handmade advent calendars to be found. A few from flickr:
1. first, 2. advent calendar, 3. Baby sock advent calendar..., 4. Advent garland, 5. Advent calendar for the boy, 6. advento, 7. advento, 8. stockings 1234, 9. Advent calendar, 10. advent calendar, 11. stockings_1234, 12. advent calendar
and more at the Creative Advent Calendars group.
And this great pattern over at the Purl Bee.
Another source of holiday inspiration, the New American Dream website is chalk-full of ideas. I find myself rereading many of the articles this time of year. A good start here.