It came to my attention recently that not all Christmas-celebrators know what an Advent Calendar is. I was very surprised. I had just gotten an advent calendar from the Christmas Tree shop. It's a wall hanging with 25 little pockets and you move an ornament one day closer to 25 each day until you arrive at Christmas. I had to explain to my boss that each day you move space to space the kids get a little treat.
Now I have two kids and having 25 days of treats gets a little ridiculous. Usually I just leave a piece of candy so my house doesn't get filled up with crap.
My sister has four kids. She has 2 girls, aged 10 years and 9 months. Her two boys are 2 and 4 and making them all take turns for an advent gift is what they call "logistically difficult" which is a euphemism for "wailing and moaning which grinds the household to a halt cause a two year old didn't get a treat". It's also expensive in a time of year when everything seems expansive.
So his mother, smart lady that she is, decided she would do a 12 days of Christmas countdown, thereby cutting advent in half. She also decided that she would do a sharing present like a book or art supplies. She mentioned that she wanted a festive bag to hang on a door knob.
I asked. Or begged. Or insisted...it's hazy now, that she let me make the bag. I knew right away what I wanted to make and I asked her what she needed. She said she wanted something about 12"x12" inches with a handle. I wanted to give her something homey and homemade that maybe over the years would become special to her and her family.
I had some scrap felt, some floss and a burst of energy and made her and her kids this:
Simple. Cute. Effective. I found a clip art graphic of a tree I liked and cut it out. I made a basic tote bag, embroidered the tree and glued it to the bag. Voila! I would have embellished it a lot more but I had about 5 hours to do the whole thing over two days so it had to be quick.
She likes it, I like it and the kids will like it. A perfect ending to a Christmas story :)