This year, I decided to get a little crafty whilst making some gifts for people. I really enjoy writing letters to people – even if they are super short. Often, it takes more time and effort than buying a gift and it’s really the thought that counts for me. So, I came up with a way to combine my love for letterwriting with Christmas. I decided to make one of my friends a DIY Advent Calendar this year. This could easily be changed up for occasion – or just as a random gift – though, in all honesty.
The DIY Advent Calendar idea:
Combining my desire to leave little notes everywhere with the gift, I opted to give them a letter each day, counting down to Christmas. I created a friend this as she loves receiving letters and post. Since she is on another continent, sending post is not all that quick. I wanted to do something that would allow her to open up a little note or message from me, every day in the run up to Christmas. With upcoming university deadlines and a ton of papers due, it seemed like a nice way to give her a moment to smile – even if we get too busy and cannot talk due to the time difference. These letters make up an advent calendar but instead of getting chocolate or an item every day, you get a letter or a handwritten note.
The Advent Calendars that I have created had twenty five little notes, one for everyday from 1st to Christmas. It is definitely possible to do this with twelve days – for the twelve days of Christmas – if you prefer. You could even do one letter a week for the four weeks before or some letters for the weeks after.
How to Make It:
This stage is pretty obvious. You just write the letters you want to write! I find that it starts off easy and then gets harder as you go along, when you’re starting to wonder what you could say or wonder if you have already written something before. So I have a couple of tips for you.
1. Preparation is key
Personally, I find it easiest to write all of the letters or notes at the same time. This means, devoting some time to writing them all. If you can’t do it all in one day, there are two methods to this madness:
- Write as many as you can and then come back to it next time. Do not pack them away until they are all written.
- Draft a list of what you want to say in each one before you start writing.
Either option works. The reason I suggest not packing them, until they are all done, is so that you can then double check the previous notes to make sure you did not repeat yourself. Alternatively, having a list to compare to beforehand makes things easier too.
2. Decide if you’re posting or hand delivering
The friend that I am sending mine to lives in an entirely different country. So I knew I had to send them all together, hoping that they reached on time. As I was going to send them together anyway, I figured I could write them all together. You could do this in a slightly different way if the person you’re doing them for is someone you see daily. If that’s the case, you could always hand deliver them the letter or note on the day, writing it the night before if you wanted to. If you do this, I would recommend following the drafted plan before you start writing idea so you do not have to keep trying to remember what you have already said.
3. The length is entirely up to you
Honestly, you do not have to write a five page essay for each day. This can be as long – or as short – as you want. Even simple notes like, “this is a reminder that you are loved” says plenty. I would go as far to say even “I love you” would make a good note for one day. If you have the time or inclination, feel free to write longer ones. The great part about this whole project is that none of the days have to be the same length, either. If you want to write a few pages for one day and then only a handful of sentences for another, that is fine.
This also allows you to be flexible in the number of days you write. If you wanted to write, say, twelve longer letters then that would work just as well. I opted for twenty five small notes. It took me a couple of evenings to make but I loved looking back on the result. And I am hoping that she loves to open them and read them each day.
4. Think of the day they are going to open them
I find that sometimes it became a little easier to write the notes when I thought about the date she was going to open them. For example, the last one – 25th – would be on Christmas day itself. There could easily be a few other dates that have an importance in your messages. It could be their birthday or anniversary, for example. If you know they are going to be doing something – like an exam on the tenth of the month or have their work Christmas lunch on the fifteenth – you could easily tailor the messages around that.
If you don’t know, keep it generic. Mine was mostly generic messages, things that I wanted to tell her on that day. They usually did not have a date significance but a couple did, so I thought I would mention this tip as it made it a little easier for me.
5. Images – Photos, Drawings, Doodles, anything – are welcome
And remember, you don’t need to stick to just writing. You can do absolutely anything. If you want, you could add some photos in the mix or print something off the internet. I have a ton of different Christmas themed stamps that I use in cardmaking. So I ended up pulling a few of those out and adding some stamps, maybe a little bit of colouring, to some of the messages.
Once you have written your letters or notes…
After you have finished writing them, I would hide the content and add a number somewhere so they know which day to open it. The best ways to do this are by either folding them a few times and adding a number onto one side or by placing them into an envelope, with the number added onto it.
If you are sending them all of the days in one go then place all of the letters or notes into a little box or envelope – depending on the size – and send it. If you are giving them one each day, you can either hand deliver it or leave it somewhere that they will find it – i.e. on their pillow or bedside table. For the latter idea, you do not need to really number it as they will only receive one anyway. However, as it is an advent calendar, I quite like the idea of putting a number somewhere so they can look back on them in the future and read them all in order.
You could also opt to get a reusable advent calendar and put a letter into each drawer or slot.
And there you have it.
You very own, very simple yet potentially nice DIY Advent Calendar. I have no idea if she’ll like it, but hopefully she will. Either way, I had quite a bit of fun making it. Though, it was occasionally a bit odd writing her a message whilst I was talking to her at the same time. I have warned her not to read this blog post but… let’s see how that works! I wanted to wait till she had it but sadly, post is slow right now and I wanted to share this with you for Blogmas.
If you’re curious as to what my other posts are, check out this link. Whilst I have created this for the festive season, it could easily be changed for anything else. Perhaps notes to someone in the run up to their wedding or birthday. Perhaps just because they could use a smile.