53 Days

October 31, 2011

Hello and Happy Halloween! Hope you had a wonderful day and evening! :) We had a great time chasing a very excited pirate around the neighborhood. And I ate a LOT of food. I mean. Lots.

Well, it’s about that time folks. It’s now November…uhhh, well it will be when most of you read this…so I’m allowed to say the “Christmas” word. I’ve actually been talking and thinking about it for a good month now, but November 1st gives me the go ahead to hide it no longer!

I’m freeeee!!

I’m a Christmas fareeek, so bear with me. And yes, I know a little holiday called Thanksgiving comes first, but I’m thankful every day, so I don’t get as excited about that one. :)

This time of year I’m always thinking about the countdown -- I love checking out all of the advent ideas out there. Because many of us love to DIY, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites (old and new) now so you’ll have plenty of time to get crafty. (OR pull out the bank card and order one – I feel ya.)

Click the pics to see more about each one!

Pottery Barn never fails with the countdowns – this snowman advent is too cute!:


The price is not…but there’s gotta be some way to DIY this! I just can’t think of one right this second. My mind is a mush of Halloween candy. :)

This one is adorable and could be knocked off for sure:

Felt cut into stockings and glued on – love it!

This is an oldie but goodie, and SO doable. I searched for mini buckets last year to do this one and couldn’t find what I wanted (for cheap). I even asked the folks at Logan’s Roadhouse and they wouldn’t sell me some – boo!:

Anyone seen mini buckets at a good price?

I love this advent pillow at Ballard Designs:

And I know some of you crafty chicks could pull this one off! I on the other hand, am still working on the sewing a straight line thing.

I found this one at Meijer the other day:

It’s just a round metal sheet and there’s a magnetic glass piece that goes over the numbers and magnifies them. I think it was $10? Super cute!

I’m always blown away with the handmade ideas I see every year. I used cardboard boxes, paper and stickers from the craft store to make these years ago:

They have held up great! I used to fill each one with small toys or treats, but we need more itty bitty toys in this house like we need a poke in the eye.

So I loved these simple activity cards with holiday themes instead:

Sooo doing this! Along with a few treats and toys…just a few. ;)

I’ve found a few more ideas on Pinterest over the past few weeks – love these little felt envelopes!:

Oh, they are too precious!

These Christmas trees are something different, and would be SO easy (and cheap!):

Wouldn’t they be fun across a mantel, in all different sizes? They’d have to be up high in this house – little hands wouldn’t be able to resist peeking underneath. :)

This one is simple and lovely:

Just clothes pins glued to a board, decorated with a bit of ribbon. Clip the little treats up each day – too sweet! I may have to try this one.

But my favorite yet is this idea:

OH my…the cuteness!! This one WILL happen at our house. Just adorable. And it doesn’t involve treats or presents…just one-on-one crafting time with the kiddos for a few minutes a day. LOVE.

Do you have a favorite advent or Christmas countdown tradition? I’d love to hear! If you’ve blogged about about one, feel free to leave a link in your comment. And I promise not to mention the C-word again for at least 24 hours.


Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! Jingle all the way! Yay!!!!

  2. Instead of mini buckets you could try mini wooden flower pots you get at the craft store. Paint them colors you want....

  3. What about the mini buckets at the Dollar Spot at Target? I saw some today $1 each...but if you wait for the clearance, you can do it for the next year. they have the cutesy Christmas prints all over them, but you could spray paint them for sure :)

  4. Garnet Hill has a really cute felt stocking advent garland. It would be pretty easy to do something similar.

  5. I love the clothes pin one! My kids had a ball with the jar filled with ideas we used last year. They're already talking about it for this year. So much fun creating new traditions!



  6. We love our Christmas countdown! We have 24 children's Christmas books and I wrap each of them. The kids get to pick one each morning and open it and we read it together. You can put them under the tree and then the kids feel like they are opening presents all month long! I have collected the books over the years from thrift stores, garage sales, school book orders, gifts, hand-me-downs from my mom, after Christmas clearance, etc. As the kids get older, I am replacing the younger kid ones with more older kid classics. I like books much better than toys or candy and they can be re-used each year (just need to buy more wrapping paper).

  7. Ok, on my way home tonight from trunk or treating I saw someone with all their Christmas lights up!! I know! I have already seen someone knock off the pillow. And another great idea I saw somewhere is 25 wrapped books, read one each night,love that idea! I used to be a preschool teacher and know a really cool countdown for kids that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. I need to dig it out and share!

  8. Cheap tiny pails you ask? I have just the thing. =)
    We're using them to plant saplings in for our wedding favors. They're 1,000,000 times cuter in person!

  9. Being not such a big fan of Halloween I have been IMPATIENTLY waiting for this day to pass so my favorite crafty bloggers can start posting some Christmas things! Thanks so much for being the VERY FIRST in my reader. It's still Halloween here but seeing your post warms my heart!

  10. I love it that you are talking Christmas. I wanted to start talking about it myself, in fact, I posted on FB about trying to find tinsel and needing it soon! Thanks for hearing Christmas calling you too.

  11. Idea for the snowman advent... Well, just a part of it. What about styrofoam balls in those sizes and covered with white felt? Or wooden balls, maybe. Just an idea :)

  12. I love that book idea! I am soo doing that. I just need to get some more books. The unique advent calendar is something I've never done, but would like to. I can't even really begin to think about Christmas though. This year I think we might scale down, spend only $50 on each girl, and have them both buy two gifts to donate. They really don't need ANYTHING and I'd like them to learn the importance of being grateful for what you have and helping others.

    Anyhoo, that's my two cents. Happy crafting, Sarah! Can't wait to see what you come up with over the next two months. =)

    ~ Catie

    Oh btw, you should check out my candy corn sugar cookies I made. I know you will love them! ; )


  13. I've been listening to the bah humbugers boo hoo any Christmas talk pre Dec 1. I am saying it loud and proud, I love Christmas, and I love that you're posting about it! WOOT! In Canada, we have Thanksgiving in oct, so I'm in the free and clear, and plan to make the most of it, starting this week. From one fellow Christmas nut, to another....BRING IT!

  14. Mini buckets can be found in the wedding aisle at the Dollar Tree: http://www.dollartree.com/party-supplies/Wedding-Bridal-Shower/Tin-Bucket-Wedding-Favors/207c345c345p301323/index.pro

    53 days... Gotta go!

  15. I said the "C" word in my Halloween blog post too! I totally can't wait!

  16. What great ideas. Yet again another reason to wish I was crafty!!

  17. You have to start early in order to get it at least half way done by the time "c" comes around. I can't believe you couldn't find those buckets last year. If you still want to make it let me know, I have seen plenty of them here (in the tin version though, but could be painted)

  18. Im tryin to make one this year, we'll see if it gets done in time. as for the buckets I know the dollar tree here has the white mini buckets in the wedding section. Or you could try etsy.com and searh under supplies. :)

  19. I found em! Three for $1 here


  20. http://www.etsy.com/listing/63493997/christmas-nativity-advent-calendar?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=nativity+advent+calendar&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_ship_to=US&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade

    My friend created and sells this pattern for a nativity advent calendar. I made one with her when I lived next to her, and it turned out SO cute. I'm so excited to pull it out this year.

  21. To make a snow man you could use foam balls you get in the floral craft section cover with felt and use little velcro circles to attach his accessories. What do you think?

  22. I also mentioned Christmas in my Halloween post!

    You better watch out, you better not cry....


  23. Last night at Goodwill there was a wooden tree on a stand - tabletop size. There were 24 small nails, and I just knew it had been used as an Advent calendar. I walked away because my kids are grown. sigh.

  24. I may or may not have been listening to Christmas music since the middle of October, and my husband may or may not have prevented me from getting the Christmas tree down early. :) I don't know why, but this year I can't wait to start decorating for Christmas! Planning on doing a lot of DIY projects.

    This year for Advent, we are thinking about doing the Jesse Tree. I think it'd be a great idea to use our existing Christmas tree and hanging up the special ornaments each day.

  25. Oh I love this time of year!! That Christmas tree advent is so easy & cute! Love the Santa's beard craft - I will have to save that for when I have kiddos :)

  26. Trés cute ideas! I have the stuff to make an Advent calendar, but haven't pulled it out yet. I'm just not quite ready to go all Christmas yet, and it is my absolute top favorite holiday. I am one of those girls who has to get her Thanksgiving on before I can commit to full-on Christmas freak action. ;)

  27. When my children were little we had an advent pocket banner that I bought from Avon. It had a screen printed picture of Mr. & Mrs. Claus sitting in front of a fireplace and you put a stuffed mouse in the pocket. The children loved it .... it bugged me cuz it was this weird color of green and the red was somewhat orange.

    Now I have a Hallmark magnetic cookie sheet that was sold a couple of years a ago. It has numbers and I add an adorable magnetic cookie (that came with it) each day!

    Yippe for Christmas!!!! I need to start reading my
    Christmas books I have collected!

  28. When I was a kid we always did the Santa beards with cotton balls. We made them from construction paper and then wrote out the numeric countdown on his enmpty beard and then covered a number each day!

  29. Mini bucket help: Joanne's had Halloween pumpkin buckets. Perhaps they still have them and they're discounted?

  30. These are so cute! I think you could make that round metal one with a baking pan or a burner cover (do they still sell those?). Love the Santa beard- fun idea!

  31. http://www.orientaltrading.com/mini-buckets-a2-52_55-12-1.fltr?Ntt=mini+buckets

    or maybe Save On Crafts (.com?)?

    We use an advent calendar from John Piper's ministry- each night we read the part of the Christmas story and there is a piece of the picture to put up. The previous days' stories are repeated each night until the whole thing is read on Christmas Day. It's burlap and has wooden figures and plastic animals. :)

  32. ahhhhhhhh!!! i knew you would talk about christmas today, and you didn't let me down!! : ) i totally feel you, day after halloween = fair game for christmas talk. i'm so excited, and you just made me about 12000 times more excited!

    i love all these ideas! have you checked ikea for cheap little buckets? they may have some in the kid section or in the plant section. i got some cheap plant containers there before so maybe those could work somehow?

    yay christmas!!! : )

  33. sweeyt ideas , not sure which one I like best but I could see my grand babies doing a lot of them lol

  34. Bet you could paint some plastic or paper cups and add a little wire or string handle to make those mini buckets for really cheap.

    Our advent calendar has a little book for each day. Each book is another piece of the First Christmas story, and has a little loop with which to hang it on the tree after reading. I love how it daily reminds my kids of why we celebrate Christmas.

  35. I LOVE the one using the little pails. I've seen them as wedding favors on Amazon.

    When my child was little, we had a wooden santa cutout that I painted. Where his belly was, I put 25 little cup hooks. I painted little red hearts with numbers on them and attached gold embroidery thread so they could be hung on the hooks. I also did one little wooden Christmas tree.

    Each day she would put the appropriately numbered heart on a hook, and on Christmas day she got to put the Christmas tree up.

    Every year it was the decoration she looked forward to hanging up the most.

  36. Instead of mini-buckets maybe you could use mason jars & some twine? A case of mason jars aren't took expensive & I love the classic look they provide. :)

    In other news, I am SO excited that you posted a Christmas post! Hooray for Christmas!!!!! I didn't realize it was November so this totally made my day! Thanks!

  37. I liked the idea of mason jars instead of mini buckets.

  38. I LOVE advent calendars and these are the cutest things I've ever seen - especially the snowman one.


  39. I'm glad someone else is already in the Christmas spirit (I'm 1/2 way done shopping for the kiddos)!
    Love the ideas. Definitely need to try some of them.

  40. Oh, Sarah - that last one? I can imagine the logic: If I sneak an extra cotton ball now and then, Christmas will come that much sooner!! You'll have a really full beard by the time Christmas actually comes! LOL!

  41. Christmas!!! Yay!!! I love the little snowman advent. I actually made one last year, really easy! I used styrofoam balls from Michaels and fabric. So fun :)

  42. I don't even want to think about the Christmas holidays yet but love your pictures. While at a festival over the weekend I seen a count down Santa that was almost identical to the picture you posted. They had made it from and old chenille bedspread and it was adorable. Maybe this will inspire you.

  43. Say Christmas all you want! Im in the same boat, I can't wait to get decorating!! Ive been thinking about it for months! I love all your cute ideas! keep up the greeeattt work!!

  44. I am SO glad someone else out there loves Christmas as much as I do!!! This'll be my first one away from home (and out of the country too!) But rather than being depressed or scared, I'm excited!! I have a whole new apartment to decorate!!!

  45. I got tiny little buckets (prob about 2" tall) at the dollar store of all places! They were packaged as "wedding favors" ... There were like 3 in a pack for $1

  46. Ikea has mini buckets. They are stainless steel, but i'm sure you could spray paint them. Not sure if you have an Ikea near you or not...

    - Rachel

  47. I know Oriental trading has mini silver buckets, and then you could spray paint them. OT tends to be super cheap also!
    Cute ideas!

  48. I think I saw purple and orange mini buckets at Target Dollar spot. With some ORB spray paint, they would be a near perfect knock-off!

  49. I LOVE that you're already in the holiday spirit -- I'm totally there with you, sistah!

    "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

  50. Please, please, please post your list of all the activity ideas you used in your activity advent!! :)

  51. Love the mini bucket one! If you have a Dollar Tree (where everything is a dollar), they have white mini buckets in their wedding section ~ 3 for $1.00.

  52. I jumped the early gun on a Christmas post too . . . when you make stuff yourself you need PLENTY of time, right?


  53. Last year I wanted to create something for my mom that would allow her to enjoy every single day leading up to Christmas. So, I came up with a new twist on an Advent calendar and made her a Christmas Countdown Gift Holder. It was made from a plastic 24 pocket over-the-door shoe holder. You can check out my photos and find the DIY instructions here.
    The gift holder was such a hit with my mom and all her friends, I making more this year. It is a great way to make each day in December specail.

    I hope you enjoy my project.

  54. I've seen white mini buckets at Dollar Tree (packaged two for a $1) in the wedding favor section. Peat pots would be a great option. They're package 10/$3 at Walmart in the gardening section.

  55. i'm so excited for christmas it's crazy! we have a HUGE christmas craft fair going on in our city this weekend, and you can bet i'll be there bright and early, lined up and ready for some serious shopping!

  56. When my sister and I were little my Mom would put out advent calendars for us. I remember 2 beautiful ones illustrated by Tasha Tudor. We loved opening the little doors and seeing the pictures behind them. I still love Christmas and my favorite thing is the tiny Christmas tree I get every year for my tiny NYC apt. I buy one as soon as they start selling them on the street near my apt. and keep it into January, as long as I can, until all the needles start falling off and making a mess.

  57. Love all these..feeling inspired to make some knock offs!

  58. Oriental trading has a great selection of mini buckets and I also found another craft project


    -Marisol Vazquez

  59. Just discovered your blog last week. LOVE IT! I have a large home and little ability and money for decorating. I AM INSPIRED! I just bought a new comforter set for our master bed and think I am going to go with pumpkin, burnt red, greens, chocolate, ivory colors. Told my husband I wanted to paint the wall my bed is against a pumpkin color, he freaked out a little.
    Jaime from Idaho

    I don't know of your religious beliefs, but have you heard of the Jesse Tree for an advent, so wonderful! My son is 3 and I want to do it with him, there is a book out there that has the stories to go along with it, and the children get to unwrap a Christmas ornament and hang it on a special tree that goes along with a Bible story, it leads to the Christmas Story.

    Also, on your icon for on the home page for fall where did you get the wall pocket that is hanging on the door?

  60. You're a gal after my own heart. :)

  61. Last year I was able to get an ADORABLE mini bucket advent calendar from Garnets Hill. I was watching some of the couponing websites and a deal came across for one for like 9 bucks shipped! It's soooo cute! I wouldn't be surprised if deals like this pop up from now until well after Christmas, so keep your eyes peeled for them!

    I am having my husband get all my boxes down from the attic to start decorating this week...and I can't wait to see that advent calendar again!

  62. I found small pails at Archivers (http://www.archiversannex.com/Small-Tin-Pail-WTSTP/default.aspx?PageID=21&CategoryID=87&ProductID=38773&RootCatCode=11450). I'm not sure if they're the size you want!

  63. Love the advent calendars and even though we have one already I can't help but be inspired to make on this year. My mind is swirling w/ideas on how to make that adorable snowman one.

    I even looking at all my kids stuffed animals, but "not" one snowman in sight. I am going to have to hunt a cheap one and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks for all the inspiration. I love reading your blog, it keeps me motivated to get on track and do things that I actually have on my "to do list".


  64. i bought some iron-on calendar labels from an etsy shop a couple years ago and made a cute calendar that is not quite finished yet. it has a christmas tree on the top with red buttons sewn on to look like ornaments and in each pocket is a tiny wooden ornament that you hang on the buttons on the tree for each day. it's a similar idea to the way this one works: http://www.etsy.com/listing/82681749/biblical-christmas-countdown-advent

    i just went to etsy to see if the iron-on labels were still available, and they were!


    i'll post the link to my blogpost when i finish the calendar. and speaking of etsy, there is NO shortage of cute ideas when you do a search there for "advent calendars!"

  65. Lee Valley has watchmaker cases: http://www.leevalley.com/en/gifts/page.aspx?p=44948&cat=4,104,53208&ap=3

    That are clear covered, but some paper and glue can fix that. You can add magnets to the back and place it on a board or refrigerator. We used these for goodies at our wedding and I was sent one back crafted up for our anniversary which hangs on my fridge. Now that I have posted this, I am off to buy and craft!

  66. I made these last year, very simple, but I love them!


    Thanks for all of your ideas! I learn somethin' new everyday :)

  67. I love all of the ideas for advent calendars. I am a teacher and order from Oriental Trading pretty often, and as I was browsing today I saw mini buckets. I don't know what is considered cheap (almost anything is cheap to me because I live in an Alaskan village). Anyway, they have them in various colors/designs for as low as $9 per dozen.
    Btw... LOVE your blog! :)

  68. I have advent calendars every year for the kids , but now that they are older and off at university I have to be a bit more creative. Last year I used envelopes and a wrapped box for the advent calendars (you can see it here http://gracie-senseandsimplicity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-advent-calendars.html). This year I've made Advent blobs - I'm putting my post up about them on Thursday, Nov 10th.

  69. I was going to say Dollar Tree has the buckets in the wedding section, but looks like a few people already beat me to it!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!