Happy Friday + Advent Randomness


Happy Friday! Even though I’m sharing it today, I did, in fact, finish this Advent Calendar in the nick of time on November 30th, much to my relief. Compared to the last couple of years, it’s a more understated calendar, but I put a lot of thought into it. This year, I had some very specific rules for myself:

1. Construct the advent calendar out of what I already have on hand (the exception was the little gifts that are part of the calendar)

2. No candy or sweets

3. Include lots of books, because books are K’s favorite thing in the world

4. Must have an element of giving and not be just about receiving


I had all these left over metal tins from a misguided idea to sell magnets many, many years ago and they’ve been sitting in our basement forever. I thought I was being all eco and brilliantly repurposing (and the tins can still be reused!), but M pointed out that it looks like the attack of Altoids.


I printed numbers onto some copper paper from my infinite stash of pretty papers and used my circle punch and some twine and voila! Aided by the magic that is mounted foam tabs like these, we have a quick and dirty DIY Advent Calendar (okay, some of the tins have been falling off the wall and required reinforcement, but the initial effect was quite lovely). What makes this extra fun is that each tin contains a little note. On odd-numbered days, I included clues that lead K to a hidden little gift — a scavenger hunt! On even-numbered days, K is assigned a “giving” task (e.g. gather clothes to donate to her school’s Uganda program or make a video to send to Grandma and Grandpa), and she gets to choose a book from the “Advent basket”. The books are a combination of thrifted, bargain sales and a few new releases that I know she’ll flip over.


Although I spent some serious time thinking up the whole project, the execution took about an hour (mostly because I haven’t wrapped all the little presents yet since I wait until the night before to hide them). The verdict: “Mama, I can tell you worked so hard on this. You’re so so awesome!!” She practically squeezed the life out of me and I nearly cried the ugly cry — she said it in such a heartfelt, appreciative way.



The winner of the Sew Sweet Giveaway is Haylee, congrats! I always enjoy reading all the giveaway comments and now I’m hankering to learn multiple languages, take up woodworking, try my hand at spinning yarn!


Countdown has begun
but the anticipation
is the best part, no?

Wishing you all a lovely weekend! K has her first ever piano recital tomorrow – very, very excited!



12 thoughts on “Happy Friday + Advent Randomness

  1. Love this post. I’ve been waiting to see your advent creation. Giving + receiving idea is genius. I might just copy the whole thing next year.

    1. Lego Star Wars advent is way cool! If it weren’t for my weird masochistic pride, I would have quickly given into the temptation of an IKEA advent calendar, Tara!

    1. Thank you, Greta! I always feel an overwhelming sense of guilt that K gets so much every holiday — you know, only child syndrome…so far, the giving tasks aren’t eliciting too many complaints! 🙂

  2. i fully agree with K – you ARE so awesome, Sanae! Love the element of giving as well as receiving. I’ve been tinkering with a similar idea on this end – that of each of my kids putting in encouragements/compliments for their siblings rather than just receiving yet more presents from me. However, today is Dec. 5 and ask me how far I’ve gotten with it 🙁 Love you idea AND the fact that is was finished in a timely fashion!

    1. Aw, thanks Lucinda! It was by the skin of my teeth that I made it in time. I’m especially excited by the fact that I didn’t include any sweets this year. She hasn’t missed it at all, which is awesome!

  3. I think this is great, and so nice that they can be reused. I ordered some little boxes of Etsy that can be reused each year for an advent calendar because I knew otherwise it just wouldn’t get it done! And I love the giving back ideas. I put a little note in each box of an activity, but I like that some of your activities are about generosity. And the books idea- love that too. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. You’re very welcome, Elizabeth! So happy to provide ideas for others. 🙂 I may go the lazy route and re-use this idea next year, but who knows, maybe one more new idea is still lurking in my brain somewhere…

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mirabilys! She’s still getting the lion’s share in terms of receiving, but at least it’s a start, right? 😉

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