Now days the new American tradition seems to be the Elf on a Shelf. Apparently, Santa has started sending elves into our homes to report back to the North Pole on good and bad behavior among children. Some of the elves can become rambunctious and Pinterest is loaded with plenty of examples. I haven't had an elf visit yet... but I anticipate one several years from now.
In Germany, the advent calendars are hard to miss. They are everywhere in food markets, department and craft stores. Some of the calendars are geared towards kids with Lego pieces, Playmobile people, or cartoon characters like Hello Kitty and SpongeBob. Others are more adult friendly with fancy tree shaped boxes, alcoholic truffles, or top of the line chocolates.
At the drug store I headed for the paper goods aisle. I was hoping to find brown paper lunch sacks but found something even better! There I found 80 white paper sandwich sacks for less than a euro! So my vision of brown paper advent bags turned to white paper sacks. Saving 11-18 Euros made this no problem in my book!
The White Sandwich Bags
Hung and decorated with items already on hand.
One of my favorite stores in Munich is called Butlers. I believe the store is originally from the UK but it reminds me a lot of Pier 1 or World Market. At Butlers I can always find fun gifts, seasonal home decor, and funky kitchen items. There I bought a package of 5 small jars filled with different jams made in France for 3.99 Euros. Opening up the package, and dividing the jars out among the advent sacks meant I had 5 days done for under a Euro a day!
At Galeria Kaufhof (a department store), I found a set of 4 miniature glass ornaments designed for boys. There was a dinosaur, Nintendo controller, pirate, and dump truck for 4.99 Euros. Dividing up the ornaments into 4 separate sacks ended up being a little bit more than a Euro per day but all the fillers evened out in the end. We are decorating a Christmas tree this year and it will be our first one in Germany. These boyish ornaments will be a nice touch among our bright glass balls.
Overall for the sacks and advent fillers I spent around 20 Euros total.
At home, I painted the numbers on the outside of each sack in 3 different greens and 3 different reds. I folded each bag and clipped it over a yarn garland with clothes pins. Everything I used to decorate and hang the bags I already had on hand. I hung Husband's advent calendar in our entry way over the bench. Each morning, on his way out the door, he can grab a bag and enjoy a small treat.
Hanging in our Entryway
In the end this project was a lot of fun and not too costly to put together. It wasn't expensive because I didn't allow it to get out of hand. I enjoyed doing something small to show Husband how much I appreciate him. Someday when we are back to living in the States, I imagine I will continue putting together an advent calendar each year for him.
Isn't December such a fun month? From the Elf on the Shelf to the traditional advent calendar everyone can feel the excitement this time of year. How do you count down the days until Christmas?