My kids love advent – Christmas is coming; and, they usually get a chocolate advent calender. We gave up on those cheap cardboard ones years ago as the chocolate is not nice. Some years ago, I bought a re-usable calender with little felt bags that you fill with your own sweets. I have four kids so they normally take it in turns getting a few sweets in thier allocated bag every four days – we have a rota!
Last year I made my own. I bought the kids three new pairs of socks each and filled each sock with a full-size chocolate bar. We pegged the socks up on a string and wrote numbers on the wooden pegs. This went down well as you can imagine (they are always wanting socks without holes)! If your numbers don’t work out as well as mine, you can add days for parents/guests.
This year I didn’t have an advent plan but went shopping yesterday looking for sweets to inspire me. The cheapest way to buy a decent quantity of decent quality wrapped sweets remains a tub of Quality Street – £4 in Tesco. Well, the other tubs of chocs were the same price but nothing says Christmas quite like Quality Street. There were 81 sweets in the tub – nearly one sweety/child/day (I didn’t count them in the shop)! I bought a packet of mini lollies just in case (£1); so, with those I had enough sweets to give them one sweet each each day. Won’t they be happy.
I wanted to make little paper cones to wrap the sweets and started playing with a packet of doilies that a friend gave me as a gift on Thursday. I found that, if you cut a doily in quarters you can make a little cone just large enough for one sweetie. I wrote a number on each quarter, taped them closed and tied the top with a scrap of waste yearn. After making 24 of them I started to think about where I could hang them – flash of Inspiration – the dead bay tree I normally hang my necklaces on!
My Mum’s bay tree died about five years ago after moving from the Sunny South of England to Scotland. After it sat forlornly in the garden for several years, we sawed the roots off and screwed the trunk to a wooden base. I used it to hang decorations on at craft fairs. In between craft fairs, it sits on my dressing table as a jewellery tree. We are re-constructing our room just now so the tree was once again in the back garden.
I hung the paper cones on the tree but it was a little boring with just the white cones; so, I added the rest of the sweets as they were. I made little “S” hooks with some very pliable craft wire I had and for the lollies and sweets with no “tails” to poke the hook through, I stuck a yarn loop on with sticky tape. I used little squares of masking tape and a pen to add the numbers. I could have made it all a lot more sophisticated with curling ribbon and printed numbers but hey, it’s good enough to eat.
The kids were really excited when they saw it, they are very excited for tomorrow when they will get a sweet every day (unheard of treat). They even admitted I was a clever Mum – not acknowledged often enough me thinks. The wee man has spent much of today gazing up at it and thinks it’s very pretty indeed. He also thinks he has the advantage in that he gets up first and will get the first choice of sweets; but, he is already sad that it will get less pretty with each day. Maybe we can make something else to hang up later – gingerbread and/or popcorn garlands?