This is the first year I feel like my almost 4 year old is excited about Christmas. He actually sat on Santa’s lap this year and he has been telling me all year what’s on his Christmas list. I wanted to make this time of year extra special for him so I did my own version of an Advent Calendar–numbering gifts 1-24, placing them under the tree and opening one every day until Christmas Day. My wake call each morning is “Mommy, can I open gift number 3 today?” “Mommy, can I open gift number 4 today?” He thinks about it all day long and I love to see his face when he opens the very small gifts and trinkets.
Many of the gifts were bought on clearance in the dollar section of Target or at Michael’s after halloween including Super Hero socks, a silly pen, stickers, a coloring book, and a Nerf gun that was 75% off. Now that he has the play gun I can get him dart refills for the rest of the year. Toys R Us also has a $1/$2/$3 gift section where I found some TMNT crayons and silly putty for a dollar each. But now that I know I will continue on this adorable tradition, the days after Christmas will be prime time shopping days for me. My hope is to get most of the 24 gifts for next Christmas while saving a few slots for after Easter and Halloween. You can get some ridiculously good deals at up to 90% if you are patient. Michael’s is notorious for that and occasionally you can use an additional coupon when they include on-sale items. Just. Be. Patient. Last year I scored over 200 pairs of socks for .10 each. Yes!!! TEN CENTS EACH.
Here is what you will need:
- Paper Bags- Decorative or plain– (After Christmas, the Christmas Tree Shop slashes their prices on gift bags and wrapping paper. They have sets that include both and these decorative bags (think brown paper lunch bags) are included.) You could add your own touch like a holiday stamp, ribbon, or whatever you like…
- Paint Marker
- Numbers stencils
- Small gifts and trinkets to fill the bags. (I highly recommend purchasing these gifts throughout the year after a big holiday–Easter, Halloween, Christmas etc…)
Gifts that were too big for the paper bag were wrapped with kraft paper from the Dollar Tree. I then cut the bag I originally made and taped the number to the top for consistency and not to waste anything.
It took me a while to figure out what kind of pen to use. What didn’t work were smaller paint pens. What did work was a gold Sharpie paint pen. Worked like a charm. Choose between oil-based or water-based depending on your project. Let it dry and go over it one more time to clean it up. To save a bit of time you can also use the marker to outline the numbers and dot in polka dots or stripes to vary the design. If you have a steady hand- free hand the numbers entirely.
I would guess I spent less than $25.00. My goal is to cut that in half for next year. On my to-do list!
So I ask…Who wouldn’t want to receive one small gift a day until Christmas? Maybe my husband didn’t get the memo!??
Note: The Lego Walkie Talkies were $5.00 on a town yard sale and the Santa picture was free from a business open house. Then I used a coupon code at Walgreens to get a free 8×10 picture.
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