27 November 2011
I grew up loving advent calendars. On a few years, my sister and I opened little windows of a Christmas scene to reveal small dark chocolates. On most other years, we opened random tiny presents--consisting of lip balm, candy, tiny stuffed animals, inexpensive jewelry-- that my mom had stuffed into a long chain of fabric stockings. While I'm not sure that either my sister or myself really cared if we were opening tiny windows of chocolate or more intricate stuffed fabric stockings, one thing was certain-- advent calendars provided a special touch to the entire holiday season. Rather than just a few days of parties and festivities, the entire month became an event.

For the past several years, I've continued the advent calendar tradition with my own children. Last year, I created a stack of 25 matchboxes, intricately painting each one so that they became daily drawers with miniatures tucked inside. This year, we'll be traveling and I needed something that a) was easy to pack, b) could be created with limited supplies (since there's not a big craft store to dash into where I live!) and c) would provide a celebration of the season that would appeal to both my sense of design (who wants an ugly advent calendar hanging around for the month?!) and, would provide the opportunity for my kids to 'open' a daily gift in celebration of the season.

Ultimately, inspiration came from a rather unlikely source-- an iconic calendar. I was flipping through the pages of a favorite magazine from 2009, collected while living in Southeast Asia. And, there it was-- a wall featuring the simplistic work of Massimo Vignelli. Rather ironically, the inspiration for my advent calendar is a wall calendar. The piece is Vignelli's wall calendar from 1966, a favorite utilitarian work of art, printed in large scale simple black and white Helvetica numerals.

I had a big stack of small white parchment sacks on hand. So, I got to work, numbering a bag per day. And, repeating the process for each child. Using Vignelli's calendar as a model, I numbered in black ink and sketched a line close to the right side margin. Stuffed with little daily bits and bobs, tucked into a minimalistic wire basket, I think this year's advent couldn't have been easier (or more stylish).


Lauren said...

Cool! (And easy! I'm doing this for my husband. Thanks for the idea!)

Trista said...

That's so simple. I love it!

Matt said...

This is great and even greater is that I still have time to make it!

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