Paper Cube Advent Jar

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I'm often tempted to buy the lift-the-flap Advent calendars at the store this time of year. I have only given in to that temptation once or twice, which means the children usually do not have an calendar to count down to Christmas. This year I decided to make one for the children but I decided to do so to help take the emphasis off of the gifts they might receive on one day and to focus more on the festive time of year.

Each day one child picks the correct cube by number from the jar. When the paper cube is opened, he discovers an activity for the day to be enjoyed with the whole family. Also, there is a small candy inside for him. Following is a list of activities for each day.

Paper Cube Advent Calendar
6 sheets {12"x12"} decorative paper
cube pattern
activity list
small candies {suggest Hershey Kisses or Reese's Minis}

Cut four cubes per piece of decorative paper. Simply hold the cube pattern on the paper as you cut around. Label all squares of one side of a paper cube pattern with the number which corresponds to the day/activity. On the wrong side {what will be the inside of the cube} write out the activity. Add a strip of double sided tape, or tape you have folded over on itself, to each flap. Fold on the dotted lines and secure with the taped flaps, tucking them inside the box.. Using a piece of tape that is folded over on itself allows you to make the taping invisible. Before closing the lid to the cube, insert a small candy if desired. Place the paper cubes in the jar beginning with cube 24. Continue adding, finishing with cube 1.

Activity List
1. Enjoy hot chocolate with a bar of toppings while decorating the tree. {Include crushed candy canes, flavored syrups, nutmeg and cinnamon, and whipped cream.}
2. Make paper stars to decorate mantel with garland of green. {Martha Stewart has a tutorial for making paper stars.}
3. Make orange clove balls as gifts for teachers. {This link shows some beautiful examples of designs on oranges you could duplicate.
4. Attend a performance of The Nutcracker.
5. Make birdseed biscuits in festive shapes using cookie cutters and hang with bright holiday ribbon. {Here's a way to make them in festive shapes using cookie cutters, like snowflakes.}
6. Set out nativity and read Luke 2.
7. Read A Christmas Carol.
8. Make popcorn balls and save for movie night. {This is a tried and true recipe for popcorn balls.}
9. Watch favorite version of A Christmas Carol.
10. Make bags of treats for neighbors.
11. Take a carriage ride.
12. Make crystal snowflakes. {Here is a step-by-step.}
13. Plant winter bulbs for indoors {amaryllis or paper whites}.
14. Make snowman cupcakes and enjoy with a cold glass of milk.
15. Make white chocolate dipped candy canes and package with hot chocolate mix as a gift for cousins.
16. Watch a funny holiday movie.
17. Candle Light Tour {Check with historical homes in your area.}
18. Make edible Christmas tree and enjoy while playing a game.
19. Make stained glass cookies using hard candies and sugar cookie dough. {Here is a recipe.}
20. Go ice skating.
21. Have a car ride picnic of hot sandwiches and hot cider while viewing Christmas lights. {I love these sandwiches.}
22. Camp out around Christmas tree and share favorite memories.
23. Make a sugar cookie nativity using animal shaped cookie cutters.
24. Have a fondue party for dinner.

A Few Notes
When I created this list, I kept in mind the day of the week and time of month in relation to Christmas Day and school breaks. For example, I have making orange clove balls on a Saturday at the beginning of the month as a gift for teachers. You may want to adjust the list according to your schedule.

Also, check your local listing for carriage companies. I found that one was giving free carriage rides on two different dates in our area. Another fun activity would be to visit caverns. The caverns stay about the same temperature year round so that is is warmer underground int he winter than above.

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