Countdown to Christmas
Earlier this week, I shared some of my favorite Advent Calendars from across the interwebs. Today, I’m going to share a meaningful activity that will inspire the whole family to focus on the spirit of the season.
Thanksgiving has passed, and it’s now socially acceptable to begin the count down to Christmas. But let’s be honest, you’ve secretly been waiting for at least a month. One of the best ways to celebrate the most festive month of the year is with an Advent calendar. Instead of buying a generic version at the grocery store, craft your own calendar,and put it on display. I’ve pulled together a list of 15 of my favorite DIY Advent Calendars to inspire you.
Years ago I hand sewed a Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, which has become such a sweet tradition for our family. Ever since I was a young child, I absolutely loved Advent Calendars – usually the perforated paper variety in our home – to count down the days until Christmas. The anticipation was overwhelming each year.
I wanted to have that same tradition in our family – and I wanted to create something we could use year after year. I stumbled across this sweet calendar by Stitch Craft Creations. I fell madly in love with this idea and got to work, using her calendar as my guide.
Growing up, we didn’t really “do” favor bags. I suppose that’s why I’m really into them when planning parties for my kids. Presents for everyone, just for attending?! I wish grown-up parties would adopt this practice!
I wanted to do something fun for these Star Wars birthday favors, with at least a few items that would get used beyond the ride home from the party. But, of course, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
To create the actual bag, I used inexpensive white paper bags from the grocery store. I searched for the keywords “storm trooper silhouette” and found an image I like. I downloaded this free Star Jedi font and added the words “You’re a trooper” to the 5.5″x10.5″ template I created in PhotoShop. Read to the end of this post for the free printable!
I printed the image directly on the bags. To do this, you need to go into your printer settings and create a custom paper size and paper texture. I used a small piece of painter tape to secure the base flap to the bag so it wouldn’t jam in the printer. It took some trial and error before I felt like they were printing a clean image, without a lot of extra printer ink. I was going for inexpensive though, so despite a few rough printouts, these captured the look I was going for.
Here are the bag contents:
Knowing all the boys are really into Legos at this age, I really wanted to include some. I explored a lot of avenues, but almost everything was going to be a budget buster. I’ve heard of some creative moms creating their own little sets using the Pick a Brick section at the Lego store, but at $14.99/bucket, it was going to be a little more than I wanted to pay, and I wasn’t even sure if I could really build a believable spaceship.
I found my solution on ebay and Amazon: there are tons of people looking to unload Star Wars Advent Calendar kits or individual toys. I was able to score a lot of 11 for $1/each including shipping. Even better, each little kit came with building instructions – far better than what I would have been able to do myself using Pick a Brick. For those of you who have messaged me about being unable to find these deals on ebay, you can still find them here for less than $2 per favor!
I created my own hangtag using the same Star Wars font with a message from Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try” along with a thank you message.
In addition to the goodie bags, we had a Jedi Training academy. We gave each little guest a Jedi vest made with an unused bed sheet we didn’t need and clothesline rope.
We also created the pool noodle lightsabers that are all the rage on Pinterest. We cut pool noodles in half using a serrated bread knife and decorated the ends with black and silver duct tape. Each little guest was given one to defeat some balloon storm troopers and then take home.These were the biggest hit of the party (literally, there was one bloody nose incident!).
No party is complete without a little craft, so we also had a Build A Droid work station that they seemed to enjoy. But not quite as much as the pool noodle light sabers, of course.
I had a lot of fun creating a fun party all the kids would enjoy. Planning a Star Wars party for someone special? I’m sharing the free printable Storm Trooper Favor Bag Design to my subscribers!
Are you planning to use them for your upcoming party? Please take a moment to tell me about it, below!
As a kid, I absolutely loved Advent Calendars. You know, the little paper calendars with the perforated doors. Sometimes there was a Christmas picture behind the little paper door and sometimes a bible verse. It didn’t matter, I loved the process of opening on each day. I wanted to create an Advent Calendar tradition with my own children, but I wanted to create a keepsake – something they would look forward to getting out each year.
So, I went to the interwebs to find something to inspire me – and the pickings were slim. This was in 2008, a pre-Pinterest era, and there just wasn’t a lot out there I loved. Enter Stitchcraft Creations with her super cute felt calendar. With her pretty version as my guide, I embarked on “adventures in Advent Calendars.”