Happy Friday + 2016 Advent Calendar


2016-adventcalendar2Happy Friday! We’re 9 days deep into the Advent Calendar and as always, I went with the handmade option. I was tempted to simply use the faux leather fortune cookie version I made for Sewing Happiness:

winter-adventcalendar-28181 winter-adventcalendar-28214And though they’re super cute and would have made this year’s start of the holidays a snap, for reasons beyond rationality, I felt compelled to create something new. I don’t know, using the already made fortune cookies seemed like cheating somehow. Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune next December.


However, “simplicity” is my new life motto, so I wanted to keep the construction process as easy and quick as possible. My solution? Glittery stars. Here’s what I did:

  1. Bought three sheets of glitter wrapping paper from Paper Source (champagne, silver and gold)
  2. Made a star template in Photoshop. You can easily find a template by googling “star template” too.
  3. Using the template, I folded the wrapping paper in half with right sides together, and traced 9 stars per color and cut them out. I figured I would mess up so I might need a couple of extra.
  4. With wrong sides together, I sewed along the edge of the shape, leaving one pointy edge unstitched. Ta-da! A little star pouch.
  5. I filled each star with a numbered strip of paper with an activity printed on it (e.g. donate 2 pairs of shoes, go ice skating, etc.)
  6. I added a little punched circle with the number of the day, hole-punched the unstitched point of the star and secured with baker’s twine that I then hung from the ceiling with masking tape

Okay, when I type it out like that it seems a lot more involved than it actually was. The whole thing took me less than two hours to make, which has not been the case for my other advent calendars to date.


They’re so fun! I hung them right above the piano so K can play “under the stars”. The overall effect is very festive and every person who has come over has loved this year’s advent calendar.


K won the indulgent parent lottery so she gets something daily. To balance things out, however, she also has to donate a lot every other day. On odd days, she gets a little gift (there’s a heavy unicorn theme going on this year) and the slip of paper in the star includes an activity, such as making ornaments together.


On even days, she gets a book and is instructed to donate something specific (stuffed animals, clothes, and such). I have to admit that the donation portion of the calendar isn’t going over too well, but I’m persevering and standing my ground. Instead of the scavenger hunt element, I mixed up the stars so she needs to look for the right day. It was tricky keeping up with the scavenger hunt last year, and even though K had a blast looking for the books, I’m glad I took the lazier route this year.

2016-adventcalendar10 2016-adventcalendar1

This might be one of my favorite handmade advent calendars. It was simple and thoroughly enjoyable to make, looks fantastic, and I love love love that I didn’t include any candy this year. I feel like I’ve finally come up with a combination that blends giving and receiving and meaningful family activities. Happy happy.


Wanna see calendars of yore?





So much satisfaction! This is my main Christmas gift to K every year, and it’s such a relief to get it done so early in December. Now onto other holiday gifts…

Have a marvelous weekend, all! It’s a rare snowy day in Seattlle today and school is delayed for a couple of hours. We might have to start the morning with some hot cocoa to warm up!

K adores her stars

Such a joy to create one

Every single year


10 thoughts on “Happy Friday + 2016 Advent Calendar

  1. Wonderful! I love that you give her books and include activities and donations and not simply presents. Sounds like a great way to get your child to think about the holiday season.

    1. Thanks, Em! K told me that she informed a friend of hers that the holiday season isn’t just about receiving but is also about giving — not sure that the friend appreciated it, but at least I feel like my attempts are bearing some kind of fruit?? 🙂

  2. Sanae, thanks for all the info re the stars! I’m determined, but definitely challenged computer-wise. & have figured out how to use all those wonderful Christmas images online by mostly experimentation–takes a long time.
    I’m still playing with Christmas images for printed tissue paper. By any chance are there any Christmasy hedgehogs somewhere on your blog?
    Are both you and K unicorn lovers? Have you seen the unicorn on “Ally McBeal”? Loved that episode and may have a VHS recording stashed away for old times sake.
    Probably before your time but the main character was a dreamer and a very strong woman.. If either of you are interested, I bet it’ll come out during spring house cleaning. Haven’t seen the tape in years & it definitely was NOT high-tech; but drop me a line, if you’d like it. Unicorns are immortal. Merry Christmas!

    P.S. FYI. Viewing might require some parental attention. Some relationship/ sexual scenes but still a great show.

    1. I remember Ally McBeal! I haven’t watched too many episodes and don’t remember the unicorn one. I’ll have to check it out, I bet it’s on Netflix or something :-). P.S. I sent you some hedgehog cuteness, hope you like it and that it works for the tissue paper experiment, which sounds wonderful! Thank you, Li Ann!

    1. Aw thanks, Tammy! The giving part is a little more challenging than the receiving I’m finding but we’re slowly working through it…;-)

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