The DIY Advent Calendar

'Tis the season and whilst I am a 20-something, I still get excited by the prospect of chocolate advent calendars. And just advent calendars in general really. So when I found out one of my friends had never had an advent calendar before it set off a lightbulb in my brain. One; because I'd been considering what to gift her for Christmas for weeks and two; because it just seemed so genius and obvious that it was going to be this. I have to give full props to Tara and Ellen from shopstyleconquer for the inspiration here. These ladies have made one another DIY advent calendars over on their YouTube channel for the past few years and it definitely made me want to join in on the fun. I have instructed my calendar recipient to stay off my blog for the month, so if you recipient, yes...you are here, get off my blog now! You have been told. Everyone else, here's how I did it.

I don't want to call this a full-frontal DIY because honestly it was pretty easy to compile and I cheated a bit design-wise. So if you're after the next level things, go to Tara and Ellen's channel. 

What You Will Need: *Presents/Items (more on this below), *a handy drawstring bag, *tape, *scissors, *notepaper (if you are like me and want to leave little notes to accompany gifts), *wrapping paper, *gold gel pen, *card for your number labels.

/ I made my calendar for two weeks. The idea being that the recipient can open it closer in the lead up to Christmas but also because let's be real, these things can get expensive. She also had the option to open it every alternate day but again, each to their own. 

/ I purchased this drawstring bag from Kikki K when they had one of their member sales. I think these are also designed to be like 'Santa Sacks' to leave out for presents. Did anyone else have those back in the day? Or the OG pillowcases? Sorry, showing my age... Anyway, I know this kind of detracts from the visual advent calendar aesthetic. It's not a box with windows but I saw this and the gold and navy stars and thought it was beautiful. Plus, it can be reused rather than thrown out/abandoned like cardboard more than likely would be. 

/ The notepaper is not an essential but because I like writing and also wanted to provide some notes so my friend knew why I'd included certain things, I just thought it was a fun touch. Initially I was going to make like Ellen and include some compliments/little notes for her but I actually over-allocated days. Next year perhaps!

/ Again, another lil' thing I borrowed from Ellen was the idea of cards labelled with handwritten numbers. Initially I was going to use stickers here but I couldn't find any that met my admittedly fussy standard. Plus I wanted to go for the handmade look more. This card with the gold painted edge is actually repurposed. I received these as part of a baking themed present and there were a lot of them so I measured them up for the days and then cut around them to use as the labels. 

/ As well as wrapping paper, I also used some decorative boxes I found at a $2 shop. I went to a few $2 shops for decorative ideas and if I do this again I will utilise them more. I particularly love the gold glitter box I've included, it's actually for Day 14 of the calendar as I wanted it to stand out. 

The gifts: As this was my first year making one of these things I tried to achieve a few things gift-wise. I wanted to include; things my friend could use for a bit of a pamper, some of my favourite beauty products, a book I had on my shelf to read so that we can buddy-read it, stationery and some Christmas decorations.

So without being too specific, though these images are spoiler-y enough-friend, please click away right now if you are here, here's some examples of what I included.

Beauty: A favourite lipstick of mine (shoutout to you Velvet Teddy, she's already opened this day so I can get away with it), micellar water (bit of an in-joke as well as being useful), face masks and my favourite mascara of 2018 (this one which I purchased discounted from Chemist Warehouse).

Stationery: I think it's a given with any gift I give; stationery will most likely be a part of it. I included some of my favourite pens (I need to get someone else on the Muji bandwagon) and also this teeny-tiny calendar because I just thought it was cute and would brighten up her work desk a tad. You will also see a notebook though that forms the crux of the calendar so I can't say much on it. Sorry! 

Miscellaneous: Chocolate, standard advent calendar inclusion really. I opted for Malteser Reindeer and also the Cadbury Mousse Snowman. Two of my favourites, plus I thought they were a bit more exciting than the standard wrapped chocolates you can buy any old time during the year. I also included a mini jar of Nutella. Side note; how cute are these!? Decorations: The glittery star you see is from Stella and Gemma and the glittery bauble was part of a set I already had from H&M Home.

So that's the gist of the advent calendar in a nutshell. If you've ever considered making one, do it. They are so fun to put together and wrap up and the rest. I honestly had the best time working on this.

I hope you're all having a lovely start to December so far! I will be back soon with another bookish gift guide for y'all so stay tuned. 

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