I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and that December is in two weeks! I’ve been so excited to pull our advent calendar together, I haven’t even started “regular” Christmas shopping yet. I had better get on that! But on to the point of this post: our BEAUTIFUL Large Gathre Advent Calendar!! I apparently signed up for text updates just in time to get early access to these babies, and I fell in love with the Knoll color. With six kiddos, I knew I had to get the large size if I were to even have a chance of getting something for everyone in each pocket.
I also love that I’ll be able to keep reusing it each year, so it was definitely worth the investment! I had a general idea of how I wanted to fill the pockets, but it took some time to pull it all together so I’m glad I started early! Hopefully if anyone else is in the same boat this will help save some time.
I knew I wanted to include some sort of daily advent printable, so I started my search on Etsy. While browsing their many amazing options, I came across these adorable PDF Advent Calendar houses! There were many adorable varieties of advent house listings, but I loved the simplicity of these and that they included little activity cards for each day. They took some serious time to print, cut, assemble, fill & seal up, but it was so worth the effort! Plus I love that each day after we take out the treats, we can hang them as ornaments.
*Note: The “Old Fashioned” bagged candy pictured next to the twine was not what I used to fill these – those went into pockets all on their own! Everything I used was individually wrapped: the Starbursts and Rolos seemed to fit the best from what I bought.
Next up we have some crafts! I snagged most of these during Hobby Lobby’s 50% off sale (which, at the time of posting, is still going.) The little packages came in sets of 6, 12 & 24, which were the perfect ratios for my 6 kiddos. (I broke the 12 pack into 2 days, but the 24 pk of puzzles were all the same, so I left that as one day). The little Sweater Garland kits I found in Targets “Dollar Spot” – unfortunately they were in a set of 5, but I got 2 and now Wes and I can join in on this craft! I have no intention of making the garland, but comparing our sweaters should be fun!
I was having a hard time finding puzzles that I thought would fit in the pouches, so I was super excited to see these $3 puzzles also in Target’s Dollar spot. Unfortunately they were still just a little too big, so I ended up using a cute little black metal basket I also happened to have grabbed from the same section. I also came across an amusing looking game & threw in some Play Doh for good measure.
Most everything in these two pics was from Target. The candy canes were technically a Hobby Lobby purchase, but Target for sure has them too. I didn’t actually fill the hot coco tin with coco, but it was a cute pairing with the marshmallows and we’ll break out the real coco on that day. The socks I split into two different days, and I love how adorable they are!
I couldn’t bring myself to buy more board books, even though there were a ton of cute options, so I grabbed a handful of ones we already owned and wrapped them up ha!
The LovePop Nativity Advent Calendar actually showed up in an Instagram advertisement, and I thought it would be perfect. I was pretty hesitant about the $39 price tag to be honest, but I loved that each day told a little piece of the story of Jesus’s birth and includes a pop up to assemble.
Of course right after I had purchased the lovepop calendar (which I’m still very excited about!) my friend Amy with Zenzaco shared her Nativity Unit Study she personally created! This 6 day, 43 page unit has lots of fun and engaging content like stories, coloring pages, recipes, nativity scene cut outs, music, and links to extras. I printed the unity with the 2-per-page layout so i could fit in in the large calendar. Definitely worth checking out!
Once I had gathered/purchased all of my materials, I laid everything out by day on my closet floor. This helped my make sure I could mix up the activities and treats well, and alternate my wrapping paper. The adorable wrapping paper and ribbon were from Target, as was the garland I didn’t end up using. I was originally planning on stringing it across the whole calendar, but it ended up being so full, it definitely wasn’t needed!
Here is the afore mentioned basket that holds the puzzles, as well as “day 25” for the lovepop & house advent calendars. The Nativity Unity technically fit, but it seemed less crowded to pull it out anyways.
I also had to use some little clothes pins for a few of the houses that didn’t quite fit in the pouches with the extra goodies. They look pretty cute anyways! Finally, I wound some buffalo plaid + burlap garland (Hobby Lobby) around the the hanging string as a finishing touch.
The kids are SOO excited to get to start seeing what all the little packages are, I almost feel a bit bad for having it up two whole weeks early! But I wanted to be able to share what we pulled together in case anyone else was still looking for ideas, so hopefully this helps!