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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Christmas 2012 with Shelley Munro

Welcome to a DIY Christmas for 2012! We had such a great response last year, I decided to do it again. 

We start out with my favorite world traveler, Shelley Munro. Last year, she dazzled us with a recipe for bath salts.

This year, Shelley is sharing an easy and frugal Advent Calendar that you can try with your family.

Leave a comment by answering her question at the end of this post, and be entered to win a book from Shelley's "Advent Calendar" back list.

An Easy Advent Calendar

Ever since childhood I’ve loved the countdown to Christmas. My favorite ritual always used to be opening the little numbered door on my special advent calendar to see what lay beneath.

As a child, my advent calendar consisted of a pretty picture of a Christmas tree or Santa in his sleigh or sometimes a stable scene with baby Jesus. The picture always sparkled due to a good sprinkling of glitter.

These days the advent calendars contain pieces of chocolate or other treats. My local stationery store does one with small pencils, erasers and other similar goods for each day. I still like my traditional sparkly one, but times change.

It’s very easy to make your own version of an advent calendar at home. Children enjoy them, and my inner child still loves to play too.

Instructions to Make

1. 24 envelopes—red or green for a festive touch or use Christmas cards, which is what I did. I pasted Victorian Christmas scraps on mine to make them look pretty.

2. Number the envelopes 1 - 24

3. Place a small treat in each envelope. If the calendar is for children place a few stickers or a tiny bag of sweets or a handwritten voucher for an inexpensive treat such as an outing to the park or swimming pool. If the advent calendar is for adults i.e. husband or boyfriend you can make the treats things like kisses, hugs, a romantic picnic etc. You get the idea, right? Use your imagination!

4. Arrange the envelopes in the shape of a Christmas tree and pin on a notice board, attach to a large piece of cardboard or your wall.

5. Each day during December open the relevant envelope e.g. On 1 December open envelope number 1.

Alternative ideas:

1. Use 24 matchboxes and pin on the wall in the shape of a tree. You can even put a star on top.

2. If you’re a crafty person make 24 tiny Christmas stockings

3. Number Christmas ornaments and hang one on your tree every day

4. Use 24 plain brown bags and place an inexpensive item inside each one

5. Wrap up 24 small parcels. Place a long string on each and tie from a coat hanger

6. Use 24 note cards and write a cute quote or sentiment on each one

7. Use your imagination – your idea here!

Do you have a favorite Christmas ritual? (I have an advent calendar every year while my husband and his brothers take an annual trip on the 24th December to Clevedon Oysters to buy fresh oysters to eat on Christmas day)

LUCKY DIP CONTEST: I’ve written over 50 books. They’re all romances and most are spicy. I’ll do my own private list of twenty-four of my books and will give away one. Answer the question about rituals and pick a number from 1 – 24 to put yourself in the draw. Note – make it easy for us to contact you if you’re the winner!

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand with her husband and a rambunctious puppy called Bella. She writes spicy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at


Sarah Ahiers said...

I LOVED having an advent calendar as a kid! There was something so great about just popping open that little window and seeing what picture was going to be inside. When i was older and i discovered that some calendars had like candy and stuff, i almost died at the awesomeness i had been missing out on.

As for rituals, every christmas eve my family has a scrumptious feast of crab legs and Potte (which is a french dish of bread and lamb) and then we open a single present.

Number 3 for me!

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I feel like I missed out. I never had one as a kid.

PS Save a place at the table for me. I want to come up to your house for Christmas Eve. Wow!

Gwen Gardner said...

I love this idea! When my daughter was growing up, we always had the store bought advent calendars. It's so fun to have a surprise everyday. I do like the grown-up one:)

Our ritual is chinese food on Christmas Eve. I'll take #13.

Thanks :)

Shelley Munro said...


I've never had one with candy. I've always stuck to the traditional ones.

Now the crab feast is something that the Munro family could get behind.

Shelley Munro said...

Gwen - Chinese food sounds like a fun ritual. The grown-up version works for me too. :)

Shelley Munro said...

Maria, you're so clever. The green background is perfect! Thanks for having me to visit.

Angela Brown said...

I remember having an advent calendar. But it's been a while. This sounds like such a wonderful tradition to start back up with my little Chipmunk lol!! YAY!!

Shelley Munro said...

Angela - an advent calendar is the perfect Christmas project for you to do together.

Mike Keyton said...

The glitter brought back memories in a rush. I found Christmas glitter magical as a kid. Cheaper than iPads.

Ref the choice between advent calendar and oysters however, 'fraid I'm with the fishing trip on that one - and the 24th being my birthday, it would be an alcohol fuelled fishing trip : )

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: It's good for grown-ups too. :)


Mike: I can always count on you to think with your stomach.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: It seems to me it's not the present that matters, but the anticipation. I think that's what I like most of all.

Thank you for being here. I'll be promoting this post and all the others through the 21st so we'll likely have more friends pop in.

Cathy in AK said...

We haven't done advents calendars in forever. I need to change that : )

Thanks, Shelley and Maria!

Carol Kilgore said...

I think next year I'll do an advent calendar. You gave me great ideas to work from. Thanks!

On of our Christmas traditions is to light all the Christmas candles on Christmas Eve and open one gift each by their light. We also sing carols and tell Christmas stories then, too.

#5 please.

Sherry said...

We don't really have any traditions but this looks like it could be a fun one.
sstrode at scrtc dot com

Maria Zannini said...

We have a really stupid tradition.

Whenever we exchange presents, Greg puts the sticky bow on top of a dog.

It used to be worse. The first year we were dogless and he used to paste those bows on me. Apparently, I am a substitute for a dog.

Shelley Munro said...

LOL Mike - there might be a little alcohol involved!

Maria - anticipation is the thing I like about Christmas most, the build up.

I'm trying to imagine a bow on our puppy. It wouldn't stay in one piece for long.

Cathy - I think they're fun, but I am a bit biased.

Carol - the candle lighting sounds lovely. That's something really nice to do with the family.

Sherry - you need an advent calendar then :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow. That is clever! Great idea!

Shelley Munro said...

Thanks, Jennifer :)

Shelley Munro said...

Thanks, Jennifer.