Looking for a quick way to make an Advent calendar, to count down the days to Christmas?

Here’s an idea —

Decorate up a 24-pocket shoe organizer — the fabric kind that’s made to hang on the back of a closet door is best — with iron-on fabric appliques, tinsel and glitter, Christmas scrapbooking stickers, festive red and green bows, or tiny Christmas ornaments.

Twenty-four pockets, get it?
One pocket in the Advent calendar for every day, from the first of December through to Christmas Eve.

Christmas stickers A decorative number on each pocket will mark the days – Christmas stickers or holiday-theme scrapbooking stamps will do nicely for the numbers, if you’re not steady of hand for writing on the numbers with fabric paint or permanent marker; or fun sparkly iron-on numbers (rhinestones!) will do just fine, but i find the cost can add up unless you’ve had a chance to plan ahead and get them on sale.

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Then, just slip a small surprise gift or treat into each pocket. Night by night, the young ones in the family (or your significant other?) can reach in and pick out the surprise package for that date. One nice idea is to hide special Christmas ornaments in the pockets, to pull out and add to the tree night by night. One family I know puts a different super-tasty bedtime snack into each Advent calendar pocket, like packets of flavoured hot chocolate drinks and single-serving cookies or sweets, things the kids don’t normally get for a bedtime snack outside the holiday season.

When the holidays are over, put the shoe organizer to work as a shoe organizer… or use the pockets to sort and tidy away all those small toys and craft supplies. Next year, just pull it out and decorate it up to serve as an Advent calendar again!

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