It’s that wonderful time of year – December is finally here! We’ve been overwhelmingly busy with final exams and packing for winter break, but decided to take a day off to craft and embrace the holiday spirit together before we leave for home.
Advent calendars are the most exciting Christmas decoration thanks to the sweet surprise that hides behind each day. Usually we get the cardboard ones where you punch out the chocolate each day, but this year we decided to make it more interesting. We loaded up on our favorite candies (pretty much all of them to be honest) and wrapped them up like mini Christmas gifts. The end result is so festive and cute, plus the wooden structure is sturdy and reusable so we never have to go back to the plain old cardboard calendars again. Because we were a little late starting this one, we embraced the excuse to eat five candies in one night, and there’s no shame in you doing the same!
- A long piece of wood
- White spray paint
- 25 nails
- Black acrylic paint
- A thin paint brush
- Wrapping paper (we mostly used tissue paper)
- 25 small candies
- String (we used the red & white twisted kind)
- Command strips for hanging
Use a piece of wood that is long enough to hold all 25 candies. We found this scrap wood at the UCLA sculpture lab – it doesn’t need to be fancy. Set it down outside on paper or newspaper and coat the wood with white spray paint. We only did one layer for a more rustic look but feel free to do another for a cleaner style. Allow to dry completely.
Carefully measure out where each number will go. It’s been a while since we took math and this took us a few tries, but it will look much better if it is evenly spaced apart. We marked each space with a small pencil mark. Then using whatever font you would like, paint the numbers over each dot. If you don’t have faith in your calligraphy skills, you could easily use number stickers from any craft store.
Next, hammer the nails into the pencil dots. You want them to be secure, but still protruding quite a bit in order to hold the candies (Note: doing this in a Christmas sweater will add to the festive vibe).
Pick out your 25 candy surprises. We opted for a large variety of things from chocolates to fruity chewy candies. Pick what you like, because you will be the one eating them! The goal is to find candy with small, easy-to-wrap packaging. Some things, like the starbursts, you can divide up into three separate days. We poured the skittles into little plastic baggies that would be wrapped into cute pouches.
Wrap all of the candy. Warning, this is not a craft for those who hate gift wrapping. This is probably what it feels like to be Santa Claus for mice. We used tissue paper except for the plaid gift wrap, and we used variations of gold ribbon to create consistency.
Cut different lengths of string (so that the mini presents will all hang at different heights) and tape them in a loop to the back of each candy gift.
Using command strips, attach the wooden piece to the wall. Hang the gifts onto the advent calendar in a random order. We tried to arrange them based on wrapping color and the length at which they hang.
Now relax, indulge your sweet tooth, and let the countdown begin!
-Kirby and Michelle