Category Archives: Christmas

16 DIY Christmas Gift Ideas You Still Have Time to Make!

With Christmas less than two weeks away (eek!) and this being the last week of school for most kids (double eek!), you might be starting to feel the holiday shopping and crafting crunch! Even though I am on top of classroom and teacher gifts for the first time ever, I still have a few people on my list who I need to make/find gifts for before Christmas (and this baby!) arrive. I thought you might be in the same predicament, so today I’m popping in with a quick round-up of my favorite DIY Christmas Gift Ideas that I have made/given over the years. All of these are great for teachers, classmates, co-workers, teammates, neighbors and more…and depending on how well stocked your craft room is AND how fast you work, these really are quick and easy enough to make in time for your next gift exchange…even if it’s tomorrow!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Sweets and Treats

Edible gifts are always a hit with just about everyone and are a great way to share your traditional family delicious with new friends. Inexpensive boxes from the craft store and printable tags are an easy yet effective way to take the cuteness factor up a notch! You can see more packaging ideas and get these printable tags HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Baking Gift Set

Absolutely no DIY skills are required to put together this cute and thoughtful gift, but it sure looks fun! A quick stroll through Hobby Lobby yielded all the festive and coordinated baking tools, glass jars, and bucket. A few stickers and off-the-shelf baking items complete the set in mere minutes! You can see more on this idea HERE.

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Coffee Lover’s Set

Would you believe me if I told you I pulled together this gift in about 15 minutes using all things I had on hand? Admittedly, my craft room and kitchen may be stocked more than most, but all these items are budget-friendly and easy to find! I simply put some red tree stickers on some oversized white mugs. I filled the mugs with K-cups, a Starbucks gift card, and some wooden spoons adorned with snowflake decorations I made with punches. Loaded into a basket from the Target Dollar Spot, it makes for a thoughtful and festive gift for any coffee lover in your life!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Personalized Water Bottles

I made these a few years ago for all of Henry’s little friends, and they were a huge hit. A quick run to Marshalls yielded all the water bottles I needed. I then personalized each one with the child’s name and favorite image from vinyl using my Cricut Explore. Cups and vinyl can both add up, so perhaps reserve these for special friends or teachers (use the school logo!)! See more on this project HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Snowflake Drink Charms

Craft stores are filled with so many fun and festive craft supplies right now; and with a little bit of time, so many can be turned into really charming gifts. These started out as a package of plain wooden die-cut snowflakes. Paint, glitter and pre-made hooks turned them into adorable drink charms that can be used all winter long! You can see the full tutorial for these HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Christmas Light Drink Charms

This drink charm project is even easier since I started with a pack of pre-glittered mini light ornaments. Adding the hooks can be done in minutes, making these the perfect gift to bring to all your girls at book club, girls’ night out, etc! You can see the tutorial for these HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Wine Lover Set

If you want to take the drink charms up a notch, add a bottle of wine and a tree ornament and you end up with the perfect hostess gift! A cute container (Hobby Lobby) and bow help keep things corralled for easy gifting! You can see more about this gift idea HERE.

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Photo Christmas Ornaments

Do you have a family member (or maybe even a teacher?) that is hard to buy for? A pack of cardstock, a lot of hot glue and some favorite family photos are all you need to make these thoughtful Christmas tree ornaments. Not only is this a super budget-friendly and thoughtful gift, but it is a great way to capture and reflect on the memories of the year. You can read more about the special reason I made these ornaments and how they come together HERE.

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Mini Monogram Wreaths

These 8″ yarn wreaths were born simply out of a desire to play with all the pretty and sparkly bobbles at the craft store. #seriously Even though my motivation was somewhat selfish, they turned out to be adorable gifts for Henry’s preschool teachers at the time. I recommend wrapping all the wreaths (which takes the most time) while you’re watching TV or sitting at sport practices and then embellish with a variety of deeply-discounted finds available at craft stores right now! You can see the step-by-step tutorial HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Holiday Pencil Wreath

This project can be done with either pencils or paper straws (check the Target Dollar Spot for very festive versions of both!). I personally love the pencils for a teacher’s gift, which is how we gave it a few years back. Admittedly, this one is hard to box up for giving but the effect (and $10 price point!) sure made it worth it. See the full tutorial HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Patchwork Scarves

I made these YEARS ago for my sister and niece (and her American girl doll). Not only were they really easy to make and used up a bunch of my cute holiday fabric in a fun way, but my recipients LOVED them! If you have the time and skills, these are a great alternative to food, candles and gift cards! See more HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Fabric-Embellished Dish Towels

This is another “oldie but goodie” and a great hostess gift when you don’t want to give the standard bottle of wine or chocolates. I simply added some ruffles in holiday fabric to pre-made dish towels. If you have an embroidery machine, you could even add a monogram or holiday image. My in-laws STILL put these out every year (and I gave them 5 years ago!). See the tutorial HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Holiday Craft Bags with Paper Toppers

These are STILL one of my favorite things we did for Henry’s class and neighborhood friends a few years back. When I saw them on sale, I stocked up on a ton of mini holiday craft kits at Michaels. I then cut these bag toppers using my Cricut Explore and stapled them to the top of each bag. Giving crafts is a great way to deal with classroom allergies and provide something that can be used over break! You can read more about these HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Candy Bags

Whether you fill them with candy, cookies, stickers or other fun holiday treats, clear bags topped with a paper topper is a quick and easy solution for classroom, team, and neighborhood friends! These come together in minutes using just paper punches and a stapler (so this is a great alternative to the above project if you don’t have an e-cutter!). You can see the full tutorial HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers

Okay – these are neither quick nor super easy but I had to throw them in this roundup because they are too cute not to! If you have a Cricut Explore and some helping hands to glue all the pieces together, these really are the cutest way to back up treats for anyone on your list! They can also double as gift-card holders or cards, so be sure to check out the full tutorial HERE!

Christmas is quickly approaching! Finish off your gift list with these last-minute DIY Christmas Gift Ideas!

If you’re stuck or in need of some last-minute ideas, I hope the projects shared here get your wheels turning a bit! I’d love to hear if you have a tried-and-true gift that you turn to over and over during this busy time of year! I’m always looking for good things to add to my gift idea lists!

Hope your week is off to a great start and I’ll see you back here on Thursday!

Megan Signature

Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers

I am practically giddy over today’s holiday craft project! This is one of those projects that I didn’t really need to do, nor did I really have the time for, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and HAD to see it come to life. I am SO glad I decided to see this project through, because not only are these Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers about the cutest things ever, but now I am well on my way to having Henry’s school class gifts all done and ready for the holiday party next week (which is about an entire week earlier than I normally have things ready!). If you need a super fun and cute way to top off your bags of homemade fudge for the neighbors OR are looking for another reason to buy a Cricut Explore, I have just the project for you!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

I think treat bag toppers are such a clever idea. You can take an inexpensive little bag or envelope, fill it with editable treats, stickers, cards, anything (!!!) and transform it into a notable and themed gift simply by adding a paper topper to close it off. Folding and stapling paper over the top of a bag is a great solution for party favors, holiday treats and more…this project just takes it up a notch. Or two 😉

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

I’ll show you exactly how these cute little guys come together, but if you look closely, they are just variations on the same face: topper, cheeks, eyes, nose and smile. They become Santa, Mrs. Claus, an Elf and a Reindeer by swapping out a few accessories. I really can’t decide which one is my favorite!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

What You Need to Make Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers

I will admit, these do take a bit of time to pull together. But the tradeoff is that they are super inexpensive to make! A handful of colored cardstock, treat bags, craft adhesive and a stapler are all you need to transform your treat bags into adorable Christmas characters!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Oh…and you’ll need a Cricut Explore. You can certainly make these by cutting shapes out by hand (or searching for clipart/graphics on Google and printing them onto cardstock), but the Cricut Explore sure makes this a more manageable endeavor (especially if you’re making 24 of them for a Kindergarten class!) If you have a Cricut Design Space account, I have the cut files all ready for you HERE (the project should open right in Design Space).

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Note that these Christmas friends are not a Cricut “set.” I simply hunted and pecked through the Design Space library to find the images and shapes that worked the best to get the looks I wanted. If you’d like to make these on your own or in a different e-cutter software, here are the shapes and elements I used to pull together each character.

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Assembling the Treat Bag Toppers

If you are making these for a class, team, troop, or even the whole street, I highly recommend cutting EVERYTHING at once. It makes assembling so much faster!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Here’s another tip! Cut all the big pieces, as well as anything that will hang off the edges, from sturdy paper…

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

…but cut the itty bitty pieces from vinyl! Instead of fussing with glue for the little eyes and smiles, they went on just like stickers!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Once you have everything cut and ready to go, it’s just a matter of glueing everything together with some craft glue. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Fold the base in half before assembling the character so you can be sure everything will be on the front of the bag once folded over.
  • Start by placing the cheeks and then build out from there.
  • The personalities really come to life through the eyes and smile. Don’t hesitate to play around with the placement of these elements to give each one a slightly different look.

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Here is a visual breakdown of how each character comes to life:

Santa

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Mrs. Claus

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Reindeer

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Elf

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

While these are designed to be Treat Bag Toppers, they would also make super cute gift tags, gift card holders, or place cards for your holiday table!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Attaching the Treat Bag Toppers

So you might be wondering what’s inside my treat bags for Henry’s class this year? I found a few years ago that you can really go wrong with inexpensive little craft sets from the craft store. They are always on sale this time of year and are perfect for all the no food/allergy precautions abundant in school treats/gifts these days. I got these at Michaels for $0.50 each!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

I simply slid the bead kit into the bag…

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

…folded the topper over the top of the bag and stapled it shut on each side.

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Once the faces are assembled, putting the bag toppers onto the bags couldn’t be any quicker!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

I have everything cut for Henry’s whole class and have about half of them assembled. They do take a bit of patience to get them all cut; but once they are, they come together pretty fast. School-aged kids are the perfect assembly helpers – they can assemble while you prepare whatever is going to go inside each bag! For us, getting Henry to write his name on each one will be the longest/hardest part, lol!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Over the years, I have found that I really enjoy these little craft projects around the holidays. Even though life is busy and there are a million things to do, I really enjoy making extra-special handmade things for the people/kids on our list. I think because I grew up with a Mom who made homemade stockings and ornaments, it just feels like the perfect time to bust out the felt and paper and markers and make something festive! I think Santa and Mrs. Claus agree!

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

I hope you guys love this project as much as I do! Now that I’ve made them, I can get them out of my head and (finally!) move on to finishing our decorating.

Top of a bag of treats for everyone on your list with these adorable Christmas Character Treat Bag Toppers - made with paper and the Cricut Explore!

Hope you all have a great weekend! See you back here next week!

Megan Signature

Classic Christmas Porch Decor | Our 2016 Holiday Porch

I am so excited to be closing out this week with a look at our very first holiday decor of this season AND in this house! Getting the holiday decor up has been a little slow going around here for a few reasons (baby on the way, sick kiddo, and general post-move fatigue); but as usual, once I finally get myself going, I tend to really get into it despite my commitments to “keep it low key” (which I promise myself year after year after year)! What typically holds me back from getting started with our holiday decor is deciding on what direction to go. Since I participated in several holiday home tours a few years back , my Christmas stash is borderline excessive and embarrassing; but that also means I can pull off a variety of looks without having to run to the store. You guys know that decorating with red isn’t one of my preferred colors; but around the holidays, I just can’t seem to get enough of it. So, I decided to embrace the red for our outdoor porch decor and went for a very classic yet fresh take on our porch display!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

Greg spent all last weekend hanging lights along our roofline while I stayed cozied up with a sick Henry on the couch. Greg really loves to hang lights, but our first year in a new house is always a bit tedious as we figure out the best arrangement, buy new lights to meet the new requirements, and determine how to hang everything on our new digs. I’m thankful Greg genuinely enjoys that part so I can turn my attention to the craftier projects. With the lights looking so wonderful, I really wanted to pull together a front porch display to match. However, our front door is tucked back into a “vestibule” of sorts so I didn’t want to clutter it up with a bunch of stuff that either wouldn’t be seen and/or crowd our walking path. I turned to a bunch of things we already had on hand and my tried-and-true combo of a green wreath and green mini tree to pull together one charming vignette!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it;” and that sentiment couldn’t be more true for our wreath. Years ago, I shared my 15-minute ornament wreath here on the blog. It worked so well then that I have literally turned to the same technique every year since (just swapping out different colors and bows to achieve different looks!)

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

I always start with a fresh green wreath (this oversized one is from The Home Depot) and tie on ornaments in clusters of three with floral wire (you can see the full tutorial HERE). I think what really makes this a winner is the textural combination of the greenery, pinecones, and metallic ornaments. The fact that it comes together in a matter of minutes also helps 😉

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

The holidays are a great time to get a little whimsical, so I didn’t pull myself back when I wanted to combine two of my favorite ribbons (a buffalo check and a stripe) into a single massive bow. It’s finished off with a sparkly branch, and I am kind of obsessed with how it turned out!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

Not only do we have some empty space to the right of the door (where I did have a porch plant until this week), but we were also looking for a way to hide all the plugs, timers, and cords from all the various strands of lights we have about. As I was considering all my different planter options, it occurred to me that my Fall apple cart would be the perfect addition to our holiday porch!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

After sanding off the apple seeds on the wheel, I loaded in a table-stop pine tree…

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

…and topped it off with another patterned bow.

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

A remnant of faux fur always comes in handy this time of year; and since we don’t get much rain here in southern California, it became the perfect way to conceal those cords as well as the tree base.

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

The vinyl “Merry Christmas” was a last-minute decision (as I said, when I get rolling, I tend to really get rolling!) and brings the whole display together nicely!

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

A jute rug and some white lanterns (both from Marshalls/HomeGoods ages ago) ground the whole display! I am so glad I followed my instincts and went with the classic red this year. Combined with our steel blue door and white house, the arrangement couldn’t be more perfect, and it’s really gone a long way in getting me into the holiday spirit.

Looking for a classic take on your Christmas decor this year? Check out this holiday porch decked out in classic red, white, and black for a charming display!

If you’re just getting started with your decor, I hope this quick little display gives you some ideas for your home. This weekend, we do the inside of the house, so look for that update sometime next week (hopefully!). I also have another sewing tutorial coming up for you, as well as some more fun Cricut Christmas crafts! See you back here next week!

Megan Signature

P.S. While I’ve got some fun things in the works for you guys, I did want to mention (as you might be able to tell from some sporadic posting in recent weeks) that I’m starting to get bit behind. Between holiday commitments, preparing for baby, and just plain being exhausted, I can’t get as much done in a day as I used to. I so appreciate you all coming around here each week to see what I’m up to and please know I’m trying my hardest to keep up. The best way to stay up-to-date on new posts hitting the blog AND if Baby Boy has made his entrance yet is to follow me on Instagram. Of all the social media outlets, that’s my fav (and easiest!) to update! Have a great weekend, friends!

DIY Hidden Holiday Message Advent Calendar

There is something about the arrival of the holiday season that makes me want to get crafty. Even though there are about one hundred other things I should probably be doing with my time these days, all I wanted to do this past weekend was play with some pretty papers and make a fun holiday craft! Henry is already (constantly!) asking how many days there are until Christmas; and since he is now at an age where he understands the concept of an Advent Calendar, I thought it was the perfect craft to satisfy my crafting urge while getting our holiday season off and running. After waaaaay too much Pinterest surfing and brainstorming, I’m thrilled with what I pulled together for this year. There is a bit of time before December 1st, so I’m breaking it all down today should you want to make your own version too!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

As I was researching various options for a countdown calendar, I came across so many great ideas. From Lego-building projects to bible versus, holiday activities to scavenger hunts, there are so many fun ways to count down the days until Christmas. However, since we are officially entering “Baby Watch” time, I didn’t want to load more things onto our plate and stress our family out with more fuss and stuff. I wanted something that would be fun and engaging for Henry but easy enough to maintain no matter what the next few weeks hold. Here is what I came up with:

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Using my Cricut Explore, I made 24 paper presents, each tucked inside a cute little paper envelope. Each envelope has a number that corresponds to the first 24 days of December.

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

The paper presents are tacked up onto a bulletin board in a very specific arrangement.

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Why such a special arrangement? Because inside each paper envelop is a letter. Each day of December, all we have to do is slide off each paper envelope to reveal the letter underneath…

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

By Christmas Eve, the letters come together to create a “secret” holiday message!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Can you figure out the message yet? If not, here you go!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Henry is very much into words, letters, sounds, and spelling…so I am pretty certain this will be a big hit with him. However, he is ALSO very much into the jokes on popsicle sticks (even when he doesn’t understand them!) so I thought I would add a fun little addition to the back of each paper present as well! Besides revealing a letter, each paper present also has a kid-friendly Christmas-themed joke printed on the back. Not only is a letter and a joke per day totally manageable for our household right now, but it’s just SO Henry!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Admittedly, these little paper presents (with cute little paper bows) were a bit time intensive (lots of little pieces). But they were exactly what this Mama needed to keep her hands busy while she relaxed on the couch after a long holiday weekend!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

This same “hidden message” concept could be adapted to any size/shape, but I really love that the presents are attached to the board and we just slide off each white envelop. Now that it’s made, its execution couldn’t be any easier!

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

What You Need

To make a Hidden Message Advent Calendar as shown, you will need:

  • Red cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
  • Blue cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
  • Green cardstock (3 12×12″ sheets)
  • White cardsticj (6 12×12″ sheets)
  • Photo paper or sticker paper (4 sheets)
  • Cork board
  • 24 mini clothespins
  • 24 thumbtacks
  • Tools: Scissors/paper trimmer, 2″ circle punch, Cricut Explore, craft glue, hot glue gun/glue sticks

I’ll show you specifically how this whole project comes together; but if you are going to do something similar, I can’t recommend enough getting everything cut at once and planning out your colors, numbers, jokes (or whatever you’re including) and phrase before starting to assemble anything. With lots of a little parts to keep track of (including spelling out a phrase!), assembly will go much quicker if you don’t have to stop and think through it all!

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Okay! Are you ready to see how cute Advent Calendar comes together? For a single paper present, here is what you’ll need: Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

  1. Paper present*
  2. 2″ scalloped circle*
  3. Number tag
  4. Ribbon tie*
  5. Ribbon loops*
  6. Paper letter*
  7. Printed paper joke
  8. Paper envelop that fits #1*

*These images can be found in the Cricut Design Space library. If you’re interested in creating this project exactly as you see it, you can access my file here!

Making the Printed Numbers and Jokes

There are a variety of ways to number your little envelopes (including number stickers, numbers cut from paper or vinyl, etc). I found the easiest way was to create some circles in a computer software program and fill them with fun patterns, numbers, and jokes (you can find the kid-friendly Christmas jokes I used HERE.) Once you have your files as you like them, print out all the circles onto photo paper for a glossy and professional finish OR sticker paper to make application quick and easy!

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

To trim the circles down to size, use a paper trimmer to slice the paper into strips, then cut each circle out with a 2″ punch. This print-then-punch method is a much quicker solution for numbering the envelopes than cutting a bunch of circles and numbers with the Cricut and gluing everything together individually.

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Making the Envelopes

With the numbers printed and punched, you can start assembling each daily present! Let’s start with the envelopes.

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

The envelope is really just a rectangle with some tabs and a fold line. Fold everything along the score lines and then secure it shut with some craft glue…

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Use more glue to layer the printed number and scalloped circle onto the front of the envelope.

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Continue with all the envelopes and numbers until you have 24!

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Making the Lettered Paper Presents

On the front of each present, secure a letter with craft glue, and then attach a joke (or bible verse, activity, etc) to the back. Make sure you pay attention to your spelling (if you’re doing a phrase) and color pattern as you go!

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

To create the 3D paper bows, fold the longer bow loops as shown below left. While keeping the two ends together, fold the ribbon tie around the middle of the bow and attach with craft glue.

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

Secure the bow to the front of each paper present with more glue for a fun 3D effect!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Load each letter present into the corresponding envelope to conceal your hidden message or other countdown surprises!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Securing the Envelopes

With the envelopes all made and the message hidden within, it’s time to figure out how you want to display them! You could tape them to a wall or refrigerator or load them into a basket or jar. I found securing them to my old cork board gave me the visual display I was craving while also keeping it super easy for Henry’s little hands!

To hang up our envelopes, I hot glued some thumbtacks to the backs of some mini clothespins I snagged from the Target Dollar Spot ages ago…

Use the Cricut Explore to create a fun and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, pull down an envelop to reveal a letter in a hidden holiday message!

I then clipped up each envelop and pushed them right into the cork board in the formation that worked best with my hidden message.

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

This project was admittedly a little tedious because of all the paper pieces, but I’m so thrilled with the result and I know Henry will enjoy using it to countdown the days until Christmas. I also love how flexible this project is! You can use any paper shape/envelopes (even pre-cut ones available at craft stores or in the Target Dollar Spot!) and spell out any phrases or words you wish!

Henry hasn’t seen it yet, but I’ll be sure to update you on how it’s working out in my next coffee break post!

Count down the days until Christmas with this easy and kid-friendly DIY Advent Calendar. Each day, reveal a letter to a secret hidden holiday message!

I’d love to hear how your family counts down until Christmas! Do you use some sort of countdown calendar? Do you do special activities or stick to chocolate? Am I the only one who gets an urge to craft this time of year? Feel free to share in the comments!

I’ll be back here on Thursday with a look at our holiday porch! See you then!

Megan Signature

Holiday Decorations Storage Solutions (with FREE printable labels!)

Happy New Year, wonderful readers! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and your 2016 is off to a great start! I have really enjoyed these last few weeks off of regular blogging, but I am definitely feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back to it. While I may not have been in much of a mood for holiday decorating this last month, I AM so in the mood for organizing and I have so many fun and easy organization solutions coming at you in the coming weeks! We’re jumping in today with how I sorted, stored and labeled our Christmas decorations. I’ve got some great tips as well as a FREE printable for you…so let’s get to it!

Holiday Decorations Storage Solutions (with FREE printable!)

Every year I say “I’m going to go through and organize all of our holiday decorations.” Yet every year, at least for the last few, I’ve gone so over-the-top with decorating that by the time it comes to organize it and pack it all away…I just want it gone and out of my sight. As a result, everything gets thrown in random boxes with no order or logic…which makes for LOTS of wasted space and damaged items. And even worse, pulling everything out the following year becomes a total headache. Anyone with me on this one? Well! Since I didn’t pull out a lot of holiday decor this year, I actually had the energy and willingness to FINALLY go through, sort, purge, re-organize and label our holiday decorations. I am so giddy to finally have this project done, and I hope you guys might be able to use some of my solutions too!

Like with any organizing project, I started with pulling everything out. Yep, everything. Even the stuff we didn’t use this year. I unwrapped every single item to inspect its condition and sorted it into piles of similar objects, making sure I set aside anything I no longer used or loved. It sure made a mess of our garage floor, but it was so nice to finally lay eyes on everything we’ve accumulated over the years! #toomuch

Sort Your Holiday Decorations

This past holiday I tried to just pull out a few things. But since I didn’t know where anything was, it meant I had to unpack most of our bins, leaving me incredibly frustrated with the mess and clutter left behind. I knew some sort of labeling system was in order so I set out to make some that gave me a lot of versatility!

Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit

I made three different size labels: Large (1/2 sheet)…

Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit

Medium (1/4 sheet)

Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit

And small (1/6) sheet.

Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit

I’ve made all three sizes of labels in two different color schemes, classic and modern; AND I have them available for FREE download for all of you guys (more info on how you can access them at the bottom of this post!)

Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit - Classic Color Scheme Holiday Decorations Labels Printable Kit - Modern Color Scheme

Once you have your files downloaded, I recommend printing them at 100% on heavyweight paper or cardstock. Then, using a scissors or paper trimmer, cut them all down to size on the grey lines. I made a big batch of them so I could label and re-label things as I went (and stored the extras in the bins themselves for years to come!)

Printable Christmas Decorations Labels

While the smaller labels don’t have any lines, I specifically designed the bigger labels to have several lines. This allows you to write in everything that might be contained in a single box…even if the items aren’t at all related. This provides you a little more detail when looking for specific items that might be contained in large bins! (Yes, I know I spelled “sparkly” wrong below 😉

Printable Christmas Decorations Labels

Now that you have your labels ready, I want to share a few solutions that worked really, really well for getting storing our decor in ways that maximize space but also make finding things super easy! Instead of having large bins just stuffed with stuff, I pulled out a bunch of plastic shoe boxes (for some reason I have a ton of them, I am pretty sure they were from the Dollar Store). They were the ideal size for storing things like bows, ribbon, supplies, ornaments and more!

Christmas Decorations Organization

Even though the boxes are see-through, I label the tops so  I could easily see what each one was once they were loaded into bigger bins. For all of my labels, I just secured my cardstock tags right to the containers or lids with clear packaging tape!

Organizing Holiday Decorations

For the past 5 years, I’ve had our ornaments stored in large containers with tiers of dedicated grid spots. You know the type: a single space for a single ornament. As I unpacked the ornaments this year, I realized there was a ton of wasted space, causing our ornaments to take up a big large box when it really wasn’t necessary. I decided to split out our colored ball ornaments (more on that in a minute) and wrap up our unique ornaments with tissue paper. Thanks to this strategy, I was able to condense our ornaments down to two small shoe boxes rather than a large box.

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Over the years, we’ve also accumulated a nice assortment of mini ornaments. Not only do we set up a mini tree in Henry’s room, but I like to keep the little ones on hand for projects and smaller displays. So they wouldn’t get lost among a sea of larger ornaments, I picked up this small tiered case. The size and levels are just perfect for sorting out some of our smaller tree accessories, and I love that these mini ornaments are now a bit more protected. The third tier holds extra bulbs for our light strings.

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Like with how I organize our house, this project was all about finding just the right containers to hold each type of item. When possible, I tried not to combine un-like objects so that I could pull out items (or groups of items) when I wanted/needed them. Just like the ornaments, ribbons and other items above, I loaded our ornament magnets into a small yet sturdy cardboard box. It too is clearly labeled so I can find them easily when I go looking for them next year!

Organizing Holiday Decorations

All of these small boxes were loaded into the larger containers we previously used for our ornaments. We removed the tiered cardboard shelves and loaded in all these smaller boxes. I then filled out the labels with all the different kits/sets contained within. Now pulling out just the ribbon is easier than ever!

Organizing Holiday Decorations

I was able to condense a lot of our holiday decor down into these three boxes that are all loosly categorized. The top box contains mostly soft things (stockings, tree skirts, table runners, etc). The second box is all of the ornament kits I just showed you. The third box is mostly holiday craft supplies (ribbon, bows, etc).

Organizing Holiday Decorations

I have one more larger tupperware filled with some of our bulkier decorations. I personally like to have everything contained in a bin (of course), so typically…if it can’t fit into a tupperware, I don’t buy it! Years ago, I struggled with how best to package up these kinds of decorations so they stay both safe and clean. For the past few years, I’ve been using this quick and easy trick…and it’s working SO well!

Organizing Holiday Decorations

For items like these cones (as well as other decorative and glittery figures and figurines) I wrap them in plain ol’ grocery bags. (I’ve tried tissue paper but it’s never quite big enough.) Instead, I wrap the item in as many plastic bags as I need. This contains glitter and protects the items from rubbing. I try to stack items and pack things tightly to prevent fragile items from breaking since these bags don’t offer much cushion.

Christmas Decorations Storage Solutions-22

This one last bin is filled with all sorts of random (larger) decorations, so these lined labels really came in handy again. I tried to be as descriptive as possible so I can quickly and easily tell what’s where come next year!

Christmas Decorations Organization

Here’s a few more of our holiday bins filled and labeled. The bottom bin is the one I showed you above…the next big bin is dedicated to our Nativity scene. The top box is all my glittered pinecones, and the top tupperware is all of our extension cords, spotlights and extra plugs (all light-related things). We do have one more large bin (not shown) that contains all of our strands of lights for both indoors and out. We finally invested in some plastic spools to keep the lights untangled and they have been worth every penny!

Christmas Decorations Organization

Last but not least, let’s talk a bit more about colored ornaments. I feel like I have tried everything for storing these in a logical and safe way…and here is where I’ve ended up. Honestly, for me and the way I decorate, this is perfect! I often use specific colored ornaments in different areas of the house and in various arrangements. I like being able to access all my red ornaments, for example, at once if and when I need to. Small tupperware bins have worked really great for keeping our ornaments sorted without creating too much extra bulk. Now when I am setting up our house (or a photo shoot), pulling out just the right ornaments is quite easy! And they sure look pretty, don’t they?

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Now…I will caveat this storage solution with two warnings. 1) If you move a lot then you probably already know this but these little bins don’t survive well (as evidenced by the turquoise bin). Make sure they are either loaded into bigger bins/boxes or wrapped in the padded brown paper so they don’t crack or warp. 2) This solution is NOT ideal for glass ornaments. We have slowly but surely transitioned most of our ornaments to the non-breakable kind, so lumping them all together has been no issue. However, I noticed the few glass ornaments we still had did shatter during this most recent move when they were transported just like this.

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Phew! SO fun to have the holiday decor organized, don’t you think? I have been wanting to do this for YEARS and it feels so good to have it all purged, sorted and LABELED! It took a few hours on a cold day in the garage, but it was so worth the time and cold fingers. I think pulling out our decor next year will go so much better…at least I hope! Do you have any storage solutions for your holiday decor that work really well? Please share in the comments below!

The Organization Toolbox | 100+ FREE Printable Pages to Help Organize Your Life & Home

Okay…so now about that FREE printable! You guys…I am so excited about this! I’m going to go into more details about the Reader Survey later this week, but one thing you guys asked for is MORE organization solutions and MORE printables to help you do it. Lucky for me because I LOVE small organizing projects that make a big difference in your daily life, and I LOVE creating printables to make the whole process easier. So…today I am launching 12 weeks of organization printables! For the next 12 Tuesdays, I’m going to be sharing an easy organization project here on the blog and adding a corresponding FREE printable to my new Organizing Toolbox. My hope is to build this toolbox into a one-stop shop of organizing printables for every area of the home…starting with this Holiday Decorations Printable Kit!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox!

Already have access? Visit the Organizing Toolbox HERE to access your free Holiday Decorations Printable Kit!

I’m spending the first 12 Tuesdays of 2016 filling up my new Organization Toolbox with small organizing projects and helpful printables! If you missed other posts in this series, catch up here:

I am super excited about all the fun organizational tools I have planned for you guys. Some of you gave me great ideas in the Reader Survey, but if there is a printable you are desperately in need of, be sure to leave me a note in the comments so I can add it to my list! I do hope you’ll subscribe and get access to this library! It’s going to be a fun-filled 12 weeks!

I hope your first week of the New Year is off to a great start! I’ll be back here Thursday with our 6-months in home tour. I’m a bit late, but want to catch you all up on the progress made in our first 6 months here! See you then!

Megan Signature