This is probably my first and last post about anything crafty, so enjoy it while it lasts. (Thanks, NaBloPoMo.)

Growing up, we had this amazing felt advent calendar with a giant Christmas tree and 24 pockets to hold ornaments that we pinned on the tree each day as we counted down to Christmas. I’d always known that my mother had made it, but I didn’t know until a few years ago that ours was one of many–they were apparently extremely popular kits in the 1960s and 1970s. I’ve held onto ours for many years since my mom died– it’s falling apart in many places, some of the ornaments are missing or have holes in them, and the fringe at the bottom fell off completely many years ago. I keep saying that I’m going to restore the calendar to its former glory, replace the missing ornaments, and spruce it up for our use, but I haven’t ever gotten around to it. Maybe one day.

But I love counting down to Christmas. An “advent calendar” is probably not quite the right term for us anymore, since we are not, in our home, preparing for the Nativity of Jesus. But I love counting down just the same. For the past two years, we’ve done a Christmas book advent calendar, where the kids draw a name of one of our Christmas books out of a stocking to read each night before bed.

And now that both kids are old enough to enjoy a lot of different kinds of activities together, I followed the lead of my good friend Rachel and created an origami Christmas calendar. I made origami cups and strung them from a ribbon to hang in the house, and I’ll fill each with a slip of paper detailing something we’ll do together as a family that day.

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I followed the very simple instructions linked from this post for making the cups, but instead of cutting down 8.5X11 paper and gluing on contrasting paper, I bought ready-made reversible 6-in X 6-in Christmas-themed cardstock from Michael’s, so all I had to do was fold! I left my cups open instead of closed to show off the contrasting color inside. I bought some sparkly adhesive numbers to stick on each cup (can I just say that the scrapbooking section at Michael’s is insane?) and pinned them to some ribbon with mini-clothespins. Et voila! It’s lovely (despite my horrible picture-taking) and it was super-easy.

I’m still working on the list of activities, trying to figure out which days we already have things on the calendar (Hudson’s birthday when we do One Good Thing, our town’s Christmas parade, chopping down our tree, etc.) and filling in with other things that will allow us to spend time as a family (learning about other holiday traditions, making paper garland for the kids’ rooms and paper wreaths for their doors, building a gingerbread house, watching the claymation Rudolph of my childhood) and continue serving others (I’m still working on good ways to do this with a 4- and 2-year-old).

I’m grateful to Rachel for the great idea for a new Christmas tradition in our house. More than anything, I want my kids to think of Christmas as a special time of year where we show our love for each other and others, and this activity calendar sets the tone for that.