Advent Calendars 4 Ways

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Alexandra (my 6-year-old) has been asking me all week how many days until Christmas. I keep telling her we’ll start counting once it’s December. I just set out the advent calendars, so, fingers crossed, the calendars make it through the last few days of November before the kids break into them.

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It used to be hard to find advent calendars in the U.S., so my mummi (grandmother) sent my brothers, sister and I each one from Finland every year, until we were adults. She and my mom sent them to my kids, too, until I took over in her name last year, since they’re easier to find locally now. This year, I got ours from IKEA and Trader Joe’s.

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My December has a lot of traditions, including the chocolate encased in cardboard countdown, so I have never thought much about other ways to wind down to December. But if you’re looking for inspiration here are three simple non-chocolate advent calendars that caught my eye:

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Postcard Advent Calendar by The Merry Thought makes a heartwarming activity seem attainable, and looks so lovely, too. She covered the front of 24 matchboxes with birch veneer, painted and numbered each one, and slipped the name of a loved one inside. Each day, she picked a vintage postcard from the basket below and sent off a little note. There are endless ways to adapt, simplify, or expand this idea, but the simple boxes dangling from an evergreen branch are so lovely.

 

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Photo Frame Advent Calendar by Not on the High Street is 50% off for Cyber Monday, but probably wouldn’t ship in time this year. You could easily make your own simpler version from Instagram or other photo prints, clothes-pinned onto wires in a frame like this, or just along a string or ribbon. If you want to ramp up the sentimental giving, make one for a loved one.

 

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Lego City Town Avent Calendar is at stores (like Target) and elsewhere online. Each day, you get a little piece to put the town together. It sounds fun, and it’s got me wondering what other constructions could be broken down into 24 pieces or steps.

Do you have an advent tradition, or countdown to Christmas?

 

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Pretty Links

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Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess served Lentil Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce as the main course of their plant-based Friendsgiving. Yum. Photo by Amber Ulman and Emma Chapman.

 

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I just bought Holly Jolly Mad Libs, but there are plenty of free printables online like the one above by Small Stuff Counts.

 

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Can #FeministXmasSongs be an annual tradition? Because I’m really tired of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Image from Distractify.

 

 

6 Fail-Safe Hostess Gifts

I thought my thirties would involve a lot more dinner parties than they have so far. Almost all the gatherings I attend are more casual, with close friends or relatives, and not only would a small gift not be expected, it might be awkward. So, I’m curious, do you bring a hostess gift? What do you bring? There seem to be strong, conflicting etiquette viewpoints on whether or not to bring wine as a gift. I say don’t bring wine; it’s better to not put the hostess in the position of feeling like they must open the wine for everyone that evening.

Here are my 6 Fail-Safe Hostess Gifts:

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