Channel your excitement about the festive season into making this simple and pretty project
Not that we need bribery, but the pleasure of opening an advent calendar each day is an extra reason to look forward to getting out of bed in December. The first commercially produced advent calendar dates to 1903 but our project harks back to the very first, 18th-century versions, which were handmade. This easy-to-make design combines natural foliage, a bit of festive sparkle and a little treat in each envelope to be opened in the countdown to Christmas. Who could resist? And, on that note, it’s as easy to adapt for grown-ups as children.
Envelope advent calendar
Makes 24 days of festive cheer
Wooden embroidery hoop 20cm (inner ring); try hobbycraft.co.uk
Beading/thin jewellery wire (hobbycraft.co.uk)
Foliage – long-lasting and fragrant, such as ivy, eucalyptus and rosemary
6 mini baubles (these are from dobbies.com)
Christmas character tree decoration (search eBay for vintage options)
24 small brown envelopes approx 6x9cm
60cm satin ribbon for hanging (uk.flyingtiger.com)
24 mini treats (see below for ideas)
Ink and brush
1 Gather two near-identical bunches of foliage and bind them together with wire. Attach the foliage bunches to the wooden hoop, securing at intervals with wire. Allow the two bunches to overlap slightly at the base of the hoop to hide the join. Any visible wire can be hidden with the addition of a leaf or two.
2 Take three of the mini baubles and string onto a piece of wire, twisting to secure and form a cluster. Repeat with the remaining three. Secure each cluster along the base of the hoop on opposite sides.
3 Remove any hanging loops from your tree decoration, then glue it securely to the
centre of the hoop base using a glue gun. Leave the whole hoop piece aside to dry.
4 Paint the numbers 1 to 24 on the front of the envelopes. Once dried, fill with miniature gifts and treats (see below for inspiration) and seal the envelopes. Using a hole punch, create a hole in the top of each envelope.
5 Thread a length of twine through each envelope hole and secure with a double knot. Secure the other end to the decorated hoop. It’s best to hang your hoop (using the length of satin ribbon) before attaching the envelopes to avoid tangles. Vary the lengths of twine a little, so that the envelopes don’t all hang at the same length. Carefully hang your advent calendar in its final position and let the countdown begin.
l Chocolate coins l Mini playing cards l Lip balm l Hair slides l Cinema tickets l Badges or patches l Bookmarks l Temporary tattoo l Teabags