Easy Origami Advent Calendar

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Advent calendars have really become all the rage in recent years, especially for adults. You can find calendars filled with fancy chocolate, wine, gin, beauty products…you name it! For the past 3 years (alongside my fancy chocolate calendar) Rory and I have had a calendar full of Christmas-time activities to get us into the spirit of the season. It has lived in many forms, including a scrapbook and hanging ornaments, and needed a fresh face for this year.

I wanted something bold and pretty (geometric has also been my jam lately) but also very quick and easy (all honesty, I put this together 2 days ago). I was toying with the idea of origami boxes or the like, then Rory suggested folding ‘fortune tellers’ that we used to make in school. This would also make the calendar into a bit of a daily game and adding to the surprise of what we reveal each day.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

December snuck up on us quickly this year, so no judgement if you didn’t have time to make one of the many beautiful crafty calendars Pinterest can provide. This one is quick, easy and full of things that will bring you closer together with friends and family and fill you up with holiday cheer.

You can totally whip this up this weekend in an hour or so and you can join in on the fun!

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

You’ll need:

  • Christmas-coloured card stock (whatever Christmas colours means to you and your decor)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Pens
  • Hole punch

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Begin by refreshing your grade-school memory on how to fold ‘fortune-tellers’. I made sure to practice on a scrap piece of paper before moving onto the good stuff, but it turns out, it’s just like riding a bike. Each one will hold 4 activities, so for the 24 days til Christmas, you’ll have to make 6 of them.

This is an opportunity to play with your paper colour selection. You can make all 6 from the same colour, multiple colours alternating in a pattern, or sort of a gradient effect like I did. This is the most ‘design-y’ part of the project. (For me personally, finding good card stock in a variety of pretty, saturated tones was always a challenge, until I found this!). If you enjoy the simplicity of the folded lines, leave them as is, but if you’re all about the holiday bling – go nuts with glitter, ribbons and any other ‘accessorizing’ you can think of.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Once those are folded up, brainstorm 24 activities, treats and things to do each day that will bring festive excitement and merriment. Some of my favourites we use are “go out for tea”, “go tobogganing”, and “watch Christmas cartoons”. If you are bold, you can go for an activity each day, but I am not gonna lie, about 12 of our activities are “eat chocolate from the Christmas stash” because as delightful as these things are; December is a busy month! We’d be exhausted (and not to mention probably resentful of our calendar) if we forced ourselves to do something every single day. This is an unfortunate side effect of adulthood.

Once you’ve narrowed down your activities (and chocolates) it’s time to fill up your calendar. On the inside, on top of the flaps, write a word or symbol (Christmas related is preferred) that will act as the ‘door’ that will reveal your treat for the day. Underneath, write down one item from your list. Randomness is totally valid here, as your daily activity will be chosen by surprise chance. I did keep a bit of balance and wrote 2 activities and 2 chocolate treats on each one.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Once all 6 are filled in, you’re done! If you’re ambitious like me (and still have a giant stick from years past) you can punch a small hole in each ‘fortune teller’ and hang them on the wall, but these are cute enough on their own, or stashed in a festive bowl or basket.

Origami Advent Calendar // Boots and Cats

Now it’s time to play! If you remember playing these on the school yard, you’re ready to go. If your memory is a little foggy; it goes a little something like this: Hold the fortune teller in two hands, thumbs and fingers in each section so you can move it around, kind of like a puppet. For the first round, switch the sides the number of times as the date of the month (Eg. today is the 2nd, so we’d move it twice; once forwards, then again to the sides). Then from the two visible symbols (or words) on the inside, have your friend or partner choose one and count out again the letters of the word. Eg. Candy cane would switch 9 times c-a-n-d-y-c-a-n-e. From there, they chose one of the two visible symbols, then lift the flap they chose and voila! Your treat for the day.

I hope you all have a magical and crafty December. Cheers.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

Even though I tell myself that I have out-grown chocolate advent calendars, there’s still that part of me that longs for a special treat each morning in December. Last year, Rory and I set out with daily festive activities to be documented in our scrapbook calendar. In theory the idea was brilliant, in action though, we just didn’t have our schedules synced up enough to do an activity a day. We often hoarded a week’s worth of prompts and tried to bust it all out on the weekend. Technically it worked, but it didn’t always get us into the holiday spirit as intended.

This year, I decided to relax the rules a little, and have maybe 10 activities scattered throughout the month, with chocolates and treats filling in the other days. Less pressure AND chocolate, the ideal Christmas.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & CatsOf course the inclusion of 3D objects meant I couldn’t store the daily treat in a book and needed something a little more interactive. Inspired by the bevvy of beautiful and unique wall hangings and wreaths I’ve seen recently, mixed with the urge to break things open like a pinata, I came up with this hanging wall advent calendar that now hangs in my kitchen waiting for December.

This project requires only a few supplies, and almost all of it I already had on hand.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

What you’ll need:

  • 24 toilet paper roll or paper towel tube pieces that will fit your treats. (I cut 8 tp rolls in half and had one paper towel roll which yielded 6 good sized pieces)
  • Card stock for tube backing
  • Tissue paper
  • String
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Scissors and/or Xacto knife
  • Large, sturdy cardboard or wooden branch

After cutting my paper rolls into the appropriate sized pieces, I traced the size of the circle onto card stock, cut it out and hot-glued it to the back opening of the tube. This ensures my treats won’t slide out.

I then cut larger circles from my tissue paper. I went with traditional red, green, gold and white, but any colours will do depending on your decor. On the tissue paper, write the number for each day with white glue and dust with glitter (or simply use glitter glue and save a step!)

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

You are now ready for the fun part. Randomly fill each tube with an activity or chocolate (or both!) and seal inside by brushing white glue along the sides of the tube and covering with the tissue paper. Let dry.

To make hanging the tubes like ornaments easy (as I didn’t want to accidentally break them open early) I tied a small piece of string around the center and hot glued it on the bottom and sides so it wouldn’t slide about. I then tied the longer hanging string to the loop.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & Cats

For the branch, I traced out a tree-like shape on a cardboard sheet and cut out with an xacto knife. To keep it from bending, I reinforced the back with some popsicle sticks. I then made 24 small notches along the width and tied on my ornaments.

I am looking quite forward to breaking open the tissue each day to reveal the treat inside. Activities such as winter walks, Christmas cartoons, baking cookies, going out for tea and decorating await, not to mention all the chocolates hidden in there too.

Wall Hanging Advent Calendar // Boots & CatsNext year I hope to include a real branch for the support, and possibly add some greenery too, to bring even more life to the project.

Do you have a special holiday calendar for December? I love the variety of ideas out there. Tidings of comfort and joy to all!

Scrapbook Advent Calendar

Scrapbook-Advent-Calendar

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls, feel holly jolly and all that jazz. I love the holiday season and all the wintery activities that come along with it. This being my first Christmas not living at home, I wanted to start a new tradition for myself and Rory. Many bloggers out there have taken to creating really unique advent calendars in the past few years and I really wanted to take part. I didn’t want one stuffed full of chocolates and treats though, I wanted to make one with a little more depth. Taking inspiration from Oh Happy Day and her family’s activity calendar as well as from A Beautiful Mess and her December Daily Challenge Album, I decided to fuse the two and create an Advent calendar scrapbook! Here are the basic instructions to create your own this weekend.

List

First thing to do is to brainstorm a list of fun Christmasy activities that really get you into the holiday spirit. Rory and I have quite busy schedules so we made most of the activities range from about 30-60 minutes, with the occasional movie night or dinner date thrown in. We talked about including things like tobogganing, building snowmen or going snow shoeing but  those activities are quite weather-dependant. We didn’t want to throw off the calendar if it was too cold out and so we excluded them from the advent calendar but added them to our to-do list. (Winter lasts until April here anyways so we have plenty of time to get those things done).

slice

Next, get a scrapbook album to document the daily activities and some festive papers and stickers. I decided to get a smaller album so it would fit under the tree. At 20cm x 20cm I had to trim all my pages to fit, but it left me with awesome scraps for holiday cards.

Washi-and-Envelopes

Using washi tape from my collection that matched my scrapbook paper, I made mini envelopes that would hold the daily activity. (I used this super easy tutorial)

After creating all 25 envelopes, its time for the fun part.

Coloring

Using paint, glitter, markers, crayons, whatever you’ve got on you; decorate each day’s envelope. We decided to have some fun and decorate each day with a different motif. Rory even joined in on the decorating.

Calendar

It was actually a really good artistic challenge. After about 10 of them you have to stretch for ideas.

Write-notes

Write all your activities onto strips of paper. Shuffle them all up, (The 24th and 25th had special ones so they were a separate color paper) and start filling the envelopes and closing them with a sticker. Part of the fun is the surprise at which daily activity is going to be done. So no peeking until that day.

Pages

Once all the days are filled and sealed, anchor them (with double sided tape) onto the scrapbook pages. The rest of the page can be left blank as they will be filled in on each day. The plan is to include a photo from our activity and  a note about what happened or a funny moment or whatever we think of. This way, we can have something to look back on once this crazy whirlwind season is over.

Scrapbook-Calendar

And there it is! If you are doing a creative or different Advent calendar, tell me about it in the comments! I would love to hear about it (and maybe get ideas for next year 😉 )