Craft Junkie: The 2021 Christmas Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar bags I made for Florida granddaughters this year… 24 brown paper packages of “Love“!

My Advent “paper bag” creation came from the idea of Kate at The Homely House... and in discovering it so late in my travel plans to Florida, I was only able to make one set. The girls in Florida were the lucky recipients of my first attempt. I had such fun in searching for gifts, chocolates and ideas in trying to be more creative. I am already planning new ones for both families next year,.. and I know the girls will enjoy what I’m planning. I have 12 months to plan out this idea… but often I keep saying I have time… and then before I know it… Christmas is here and I’m scrambling to finish! I hope I’m not the only one who procrastinates in that fashion! Follow HERE for the video of Kate’s advent bag how-to. If you’ve never come across any of Kate’s videos… you just might find yourself hooked! She’s also on Instagram and there is a group of followers on Facebook, where we share ideas and crafts and chat about Kate! If you’re a crafter… do join us on the Lime Green Sofa!

Girls here with their basket of Advent packages… waiting to open No. 1. Each day they open the days numbered package… counting down to Christmas!

“Day 1” brought hand-written letters from Me!

The Avon Advent “mouse” Calendar that hung in our home for years

Both Stephen and Melissa remember the Advent wall hanging we had for years in our home… a cloth wall hanging from Avon, which depicted a Santa mouse… and their job was to hop him from pocket to pocket… finally reaching December 24th! Today it hangs in Melissa’s home, where McKinley and Grace are now the mouse hopper!

So what’s in the bags?

I received messages daily from my daughter in law, Rose, in telling me what the girls received… and the list is below. It was exciting to be updated daily as to what the morning gift in the bag was… as I’d forgotten all I included… just wish I could have seen their faces as they opened!

1: A special Christmas letter hand-written to Ella, Ana and Nina. The girls couldn’t wait for Day 1 to arrive after seeing the basket the night before… and sadly to their parents deprived sleep, they woke the household up at 4:30 a.m. wanting to open No. 1.
2: Colored pens were the gift of the day… and if they are anything like me… who doesn’t love a new pen… and I’m still that kinda girl!
3: They pulled out jokes I wrote for them. While visiting, we constantly were hearing jokes and knock knock jokes… so what better gift to give them a few more jokes to enjoy!
4: Cotton Candy… who doesn’t love a little sweet before school.
5: Jingle Bell bracelets… I thought these the cutest when I discovered them while shopping… and I was told by mom that they jingled all day wearing their bracelets.
6: Candy Canes… to show them how sweet they are.
7: Marshmallow Santa… Santa arrived a little early to remind them he’s on his way.
8: Chapstick’s… even in Florida what girl doesn’t need a new Chapstick!
9: Pencil Sharpener… have to make sure they keep those pencils are sharpened… and I’m hoping for a letter soon. They all took them to school to show their teacher what the days gift was… as their friends ask daily what they received. Seems the Advent bags were a big hit!
10: M & M’s… a little sweet treat before school… if Mama says yes!
11: Chocolate Santa’s… don’t they need energy before school?
12: Ring Pop… who doesn’t like a sugar ring you wear?
13: Zipper Bracelets… I heard they loved them, and wore to school.
14: Animal Crackers… I am still a lover of these cookies,
15: Mermaid Stickers… they all love mermaids!
16: An “empty” bag. Now how did that happen? Mom reported that they thought it funny! I told her to leave a note from Bella (Elf) to say… “HaHa, I stole your treats!
17: Hair Barrettes… no girl can ever have enough!
18: Zipper Bracelets again… after all, you have two arms!
19: Hello Kitty notepad. If anything like me, you always love a new notepad!
20: Monkey Noodles. You’ll have to google these… they’re stretchy bands of fun!
21: Erasers… don’t we all make mistakes?
22: Cat Stickers… more stickers for mom to find all over!
23: Mini Clothesline with clothespins: The girls quickly ran away with theirs… Ana used hers to hang art drawings in her room… Nina hung Barbie clothes in her dollhouse, and Ella hung favorite family photos.
24: $20.00 cash… I know they squirreled that away from prying eyes! Everyone like Xmas cash! Ana later told me that she is saving hers with other money she received as she wants to save up for something really nice!

The girls utilizing their mini clotheslines!

If you’d like to make your own Advent “paper bag” packages for next year… it’s really quite simple and there’s no set rules… and a lot of fun to assemble! I had a huge roll of brown paper, so that’s why I chose to make my own paper bags. I began by cutting various size bags in anticipation of small and large gifts. Kate sewed around hers on the sewing machines… leaving the top open… but I chose to sew mine by hand using yarn… finishing around the top after stuffing the bags. I had thought of leaving a large loop and hanging the bags on a stick as Kate had, but then thought some were too heavy. which might cause the bags to rip off… so instead I gathered them in a decorated basket. Once you have your idea… there’s so many ways! You can’t go wrong in making it your own, but which ever way you choose… the recipients will love it! I added 3 gifts in each bag, so whomever opened it shared the wealth… and I’m sure it was Ana and Nina up early in opening those bags!

For next year, I have plans on each girl having their very own Advent box… but as I can’t give all the detail away here… that’s all I’ll say… as they often read my blog! All I will say is… Be very good girls… so GiGi brings you an Advent Calendar in 2022!

Love to hear your thoughts on creating an Advent “paper bag” Calendar… there’s so many things you can add… like drawing on each bag or printing out the numbers for the bag… I chose to write them this year. If you are not a fan of sewing, then just use regular lunch size paper bags you buy in the grocery store, or search out paper bags online or beg a few from a local store if you find ones you like; each bag could even be different, so just start saving ones you find during the year. I wish I could make them an Advent Calendar for every month… but can’t spoil them that much… or can I?

If you crafted during the holidays… are you pooped out like me in trying to finish and catch-up on your last-minute Christmas crafts! Note to self…. Start earlier next year! I still seem to be in my Christmas Crafting mode… but I really need to begin finishing up more of my WIP’s and begin the New Year with a clean slate!

What’s on your “New Year” crafting list?


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About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

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