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Alternative Advent Calendar – Recycled Christmas Link -Up

My sister’s chocolate advent calendar wasn’t long on our mantelpiece before I worked out you could undo the bottom flap and slip the whole tray out. She’d open the odd window and be like “THEY FORGOT TO PUT DAY 16’s MORSEL IN!!!”

It was a few year’s before my beautiful Nana caught on to the fact that her grandchildren would rather have meaningless, Christmassy Bartman themed but delicious edible advent calendars, rather than little windows depicting the arrival of Baby Jesus.  I suspect  in her wisdom she knew exactly what kind of festive angst it could cause between greedy siblings!

For a 14 year old, I was pretty self controlled, and only ate a few of my sisters, but my whole tray was gone by Day 6. “WELL! CHECK MINE OUT! THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN EVERY SINGLE DAY! OUTRAGEOUS!!!”

I am not opposed to traditional or chocolatey advent calendars one bit but as part of my drive to instill some precious rituals in our family’s life, I have opted to make our advent a bit of a bigger deal. There are some gorgeous, crafty ideas out there, and I gathered a few, mixed it up with the thing I always do involving scrabble letters, and came up with this:

Instead of numbers, I have 25 pockets, with Joy, Love, Hope, Peace (for me these sum up the Christmas message) and Christmas spelled out on them. The pockets are held onto string with decorated pegs, and are meant to be in a bit of a Christmas Tree-ish shape. I found the pegs in a charity shop, the scrabble letters at a jumble sale, and the fabric is part of a vintage bundle that I have held onto for a while, waiting for the perfect moment to use it.

There were some lovely suggestions on the Lulastic Facebook Page, of how other people do advent, and I am totally pinching the ideas, like leaving little notes in the pockets for family members.

This week I am going to fill the pockets with things that will hopefully delight each of us – some sweets, a poem, a prayer, a task like “Make Ginger bread house” or “dance to The Boy Least Likely To‘s Christmas album”  – a brand new album I am loving by the way, like a festive, twee Pulp.

Christmas sometimes weighs on me. That we have this season, rooted in a story about a life of love, but yet it splays out in excessive consumption. It leaves the earth groaning with waste and debt.

This year, rather than getting ranty about it, I would rather celebrate how people are doing Christmas in an exemplary fashion! So here is a link up, a blog hop, for Recycled Christmas. A little spot where people can promote their blog posts on crafts they are making, gifts they have bought, decorations they are pulling out, all with a recycled theme. It will stay open until Christmas so keep adding anything you have! And then we can use it as inspiration for ever. Until the internet ends, anyway.
Link Up your posts here – click box below to see them. Please remember to visit other people’s blogs and leave a comment!

PS- As if this post isn’t jampacked enough, I have just ONE more tiny, little thing to mention. Another way to have an angelic Christmas. For five years now I have run an ethical Christmas Fayre in London – this year we have two! Over the coming weekends, the 1st December, on Oxford Street, and then the 8th & 9th December, at the Horniman Museum. There you will be able to buy fairtrade, eco, vintage, handmade and upcycled gifts for every single person on your list, all under one roof. I would LOVE to see you there! More info here. Please help me spread the word!

35 responses »

  1. I love this. I made our calender from an old red fleece blanket and we have tasks for each of the days

  2. I love that calendar! We are advent mad here having gradually added to our traditions over the years – advent is now more important than The Day which is what I wanted. We have Christmas books, endless advent traditions, a snuggle sack on Christmas Eve, a family Christmas Eve show, we make Father Christmas bread and on and on (most of it is on my blog somewhere!) – this year we are adding a Pesky Pixie to the mix, he’s our English version of the American Elf on the Shelf, less bossy but possibly peskier 😉

  3. This is so cute 🙂 I made ours out of felt scraps last year, hand sewn when I had to lie flat with a prolapsed disc 😦 It was a bit of a slog but the wee guy loved it, linky from last year here

  4. I LOVE THIS!!

    I still haven’t finished my advent calendar – mostly because it involves sending the Old Man out to find a bit of tree, but I think you’re like it. I’ll share when it’s done x

  5. Yes yes yes! Now I can get my backside in gear and write up my Christmas chutney (in decorated recycled jars) gifts. Love your advent. Very cute. x

  6. Love the advent calendar, really elegant, any thing with recycled scrabble letters gets my vote. I’m finally getting round to making an advent calendar this year (it’s been on my make list forever)

  7. I’m so sad to be missing some much Christmassy tradition this year, coz I’m overseas from 9th december. Gonna think me up some thrifty Christmas cheer to take on my travels and share the love…

  8. Pingback: Mel Wiggins

  9. Great calender, I will pop back if I have any outdoor crafty Xmas decs from Country Kids to add, I have a few ideas in mind!

  10. Very timely post- I’ve just this second posted about my home-made advent calendar. I’m counting it as recycling because some of the pockets are made from my old clothes 🙂 xx

  11. It’s beautiful! in our advent calendar as kids, our favourite number was always the one that had the first clue to a treasure hunt taking us all over the house to find the contents. I am going to make a calendar next year when millie is a little older and can’t wait to do the same. This year’s project is a stocking, hoping your excellent blog hop idea will help me finish it!

  12. This is such a beautiful Advent Calender! You have totally inspired me to make one of our very own, something we can take through my daughter’s teenage years (she is 12 now) as she has always ended up with a boring choccy one due to me having grand plans to make a fun, meaningful one but always being too rushed to get it together! But NOW i have no excuse, I will make one having seen yours….got to run only a few days left before 1/12/12 xox Thanks so much Lucy x

  13. I love advent calendars that are more about doing offbeat things (like dancing to The Boy Least Likely To‘s Christmas album”). My favourite, which I’m still hoping to add to someone’s advent calendar one day is to build a fort and have a picnic.

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  14. Pingback: Thrifty Christmas gifts - homemade Sweet and Hot Dried Fruit Chutney

  15. Really cool idea for a link up – I’ve just joined in x

  16. Love this calendar! Of course any crafty thing with scrabble letters is a winner in my eyes. I am always trawling charity shops for Scrabble.

  17. This is LOVELY. We’re doing something similar – each night I come up with a Christmassy treat to sneak into the next day’s pocket, like ‘Choose a Christmas tree’, or ‘Have a play with Nana and Granddad’ or ‘Go to a tropical rainforest and a winter wonderland in ONE DAY’ (that’s a trip to the Eden Project…).

    And we’re making simple cut out paper christmas angels and putting our wishes for 2013 on their wings as a family (and doing this at our next #somum Make Date) – will add a link!


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