`

And they are up.

Decided to go the "tack in the wall" route - using small thumb tacks to attach the boxes right into the wall. The holes will be covered with a large wall calendar when the boxes come down after Christmas. They seem to be holding pretty darn good right now.

Wanted to address some of the comments/questions from the yesterday's post:

1. these are paper/chipboard boxes not wood
2. box dimensions are 2.5x2.5, 3.5x3.5, and 4.5x4.5 inches
3. loved the idea of a big old frame to go around the outside of the grouped boxes - may try that one next year
4. this project actually goes really quick - I did it in an evening (between dishes, getting Simon to bed, having a glass of wine, etc)
5. loved all the different ideas for sticking them to the wall (or some sort of backing such as a cork board or magnets)

I also got an email from Shannon that included a PDF of Advent "experiences" - little actions that can be cut and placed in an Advent calendar. I emailed Shannon and she was cool with me sharing the PDF here: HolidaySpiritBoxPrompts. Here's what she wrote in the email:

The last two years, the Advent "Fairies" have come to our house each day of Advent and they bring experiences rather than "things." Last year I compiled some of our (er, I mean, their!) better ideas and put them onto sheets which I printed and then cut into little cards. I put the cards inside a decorated box (which I dubbed a Holiday Spirit Box). I sold these boxes at a school fundraising event and also gave them as Christmas presents. The idea being that you reached into the box, pulled out a card and picked an idea to fill you with some holiday spirit. Attached is a PDF of the experiences I put in these boxes. There are more ideas than they are the days of Advent, but if this idea spoke to you, you could pull the ideas that would be most fun and meaningful for your family. Whether you use the ideas to count down Advent with experiences or gift someone with a holiday spirit box, I have found sharing meaningful experiences of the season the best gift of all.

Love this idea and will be including some of these into the boxes.

Simon and I hit a really cool holiday sale this morning called Christmas Memories - if you are local it is still happening tomorrow and is completely worth checking out. Lots of delightful vintage stuff and beautiful wreaths filled with rosehips:

I met a lady who goes every year just to pick up one of these wreaths. She said the one she got last year lasted until Valentines.

As we were driving home this morning I came to the conclusion that I like this idea of stretching out the season - this is the first time I have ever actually pulled holiday stuff out in November. I am using my time now for preparation, for gathering + going through what I already own (and forget about from year to year). And changing my outlook to include Thanksgiving within this same general season rather than looking at it as a separate holiday...or the one to get through before Christmas can finally come around again.

I am looking forward to the possibility of simply enjoying the season: having people over, sitting in the living room lit only by the tree lights, reading, watching holiday movies, listening to holiday music.

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69 thoughts

  1. Jeanette says…
    11/09/2007

    I really like the idea of combining the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) as one season of holiday fun. As for holiday music, Josh Groban just released a new CD called Noel. I've purchased it but have yet to listen to it. Given Josh's reputation, I'm sure it won't disappoint.
    Enjoy the season! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Paola Norman says…
    11/09/2007

    Ali, the boxes turned out great! I bet Simon will love them! You've inspired me to give it a try..thanks for sharing

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  3. Daphna says…
    11/09/2007

    Happy Hallowthanksmas (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hallowthanksmas)
    I have been inspired by you in so many ways so I just want to say Thanks for all that you share. Have a wonderfilled holiday and enjoy all that the holiday season brings and, above all, peace and balance.

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  4. Meg says…
    11/09/2007

    So funny, your old feelings about Thanksgiving are how I feel about Halloween. I love it for the fun, but mostly because it signals a change in season and expectation. November is one of my favorite months, containing so much togetherness, creativity, warmth, and preparation.
    Thank you for sharing so many great ideas, as always!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Deb Wisker says…
    11/09/2007

    I'm with you! There's nothing better than sitting in a beautifully decorated room with your family and friends on Christmas!! My favorite holiday for sure!

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  6. Rachel Greig says…
    11/09/2007

    Ali - this whole project is so amazing. I can imagine Simon will love it - and you!! :) Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Deirdre says…
    11/09/2007

    Thanks for the inspiration---and for sharing Shannon's list. I plan on using Kelli Crowe's advent sock idea from last year, and these ideas/experiences will be the perfect "filling" (along with treats of course!).
    I love the old frame idea, and that space becoming a season-spot of sorts.
    I have always been of the mindset of keeping the holidays separate, as if they were children who deserved their own time/attention. But I love your point---a season of gratitude and preparation, because that is what both holidays are really about for me. I love how advent signals time to prepare for the Christ child's birth, and the birth of a new year, a new start.

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  8. maryjo says…
    11/09/2007

    advent boxes look great! love the frame idea as well. the notion of experiences vs. gifts is a very good one. thnx to shannon for sharing it & u for passing it along. the wreath is awesome. enjoy the season. mj

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  9. Joscelyne (Joscie) Cutchens says…
    11/09/2007

    LOVE LOVE LOVEit! as always... great idea to use the thumb tacks... I also like the idea of a big old frame...

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  10. tara says…
    11/09/2007

    gawd ali-the boxes look soooooooooooo cool. i think im going to do this project-i even have a big open frame to put around them-so fun.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Theresa says…
    11/09/2007

    Thank you to Shannon for sharing her list. I love having holiday spirit activities etc. in some of the boxes. It is so meaningful! The project looks great. Thanks Ali :)

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  12. Kirsten says…
    11/09/2007

    Thank you, Ali. For all of your great ideas and inspiration. I love that Thanksgiving is as early as it is this year...it will extend the season for me. I need it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Cinnibonbon says…
    11/09/2007

    FABULOUS!!!!!
    I've started to work on my Christmas goodies too.
    Thanks for all the inspiration..BTW you're Life Artist book rocks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Kimberly L.C. says…
    11/09/2007

    I'm all for extending the "spirit" of the season for as long as possible, but I really like keeping Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas separate.
    For me each holiday has a different intent/meaning and I like the transition throughout the fall. For me, Thanksgiving fills my heart with even more thankfulness than I usually have for my family and frieneds and Christmas gives me an opportunity to celebrate and be thankful for Christ and faith.
    But I will agree with you that this season should be about celebration, joy, peace and thankfulness... enjoying what we have and those we love, not about rushing around to make sure things are "just right."

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. jessica says…
    11/09/2007

    Ali,
    These pictures are beautiful. I'm so happy that you're embracing the season. Mom always made our home such a special place during the holidays - you've got a great foundation in that to build on. How special that you're now sharing your talents with your family.
    Love you!
    jessica

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  16. Isabel Sherwood says…
    11/09/2007

    Ali you are so incredibly talented! When I think "this is just so great, how will she ever be able top this?"...you do, every time. Best of all, you make it look easy. Thank for all the inspiration. Happy Holidays!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Kim says…
    11/09/2007

    Love that! I like the Holiday Spirit Box Prompts, too.
    My 5 year old son is learning to read, so I'm thinking of doing the boxes with simple sentences inside that he could read each day.
    These boxes could TOTALLY be something that we do every month, with a different treat or note inside each day. No need to only do this during December! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. alexandra says…
    11/09/2007

    Love everything about this post.. it's all just so good!

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  19. Sharon F., Oakland, CA says…
    11/09/2007

    This is all pretty awesome. I love this way of thinking and the inspiration. I will do the same to pass that "spirit" along.
    thanks so much Ali!
    Hope Simon enjoying seeing the Comet Holmes - you can catch photos from our Astrophotographers at Chabot at our site www.chabotspace.org - in the images section.
    Happy Holidays.....in all ways.
    Sharon
    Oakland, CA

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Cynthia says…
    11/09/2007

    well said! me to.
    I would put a frame around the calender and leave it up all year round. I just love the idea.

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  21. Erin says…
    11/09/2007

    This is fabulous. I am totally into Christmas projects too right now...finishing up my cards, making some ornaments, etc...love this season and what it means.

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  22. Crystal says…
    11/09/2007

    I love your idea of extending the season. Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October so November and December combine very nicely. Your idea of enjoying the specialness of this time totally appeals to me. Thanks for writing it down and formalizing what I was feeling but not clearly thinking.
    That wreath is gorgeous!! I know several doors that would look great with one of them :))

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  23. Candi Tardio says…
    11/09/2007

    it looks GREAT ali!!!! love the wreath too!!!

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  24. Amy says…
    11/09/2007

    Oh...my mom went to that today. You guys are lucky! Gorgeous wreath.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. lisa says…
    11/09/2007

    I love your thoughts about enjoying the holidays and i am going to try to incorporate it myself.

    Reply 0 Replies

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