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.

69 thoughts

  1. Penny

    2007-11-10 05:33:05 -0500

    I love how the advent boxes look so graphic on the wall. I think I'd like to try the frame idea too. Maybe attach the boxes to something that's been put inside the frame, like a cork board covered with cool paper, or open chicken wire, something fun. Then you wouldn't have to take boxes off the the wall each year. Excellent job.

  2. CocoCupcake

    2007-11-10 05:45:16 -0500

    I'm soo loving those boxes cool idea and they seem fun and easy to do

  3. Cheryl Hill

    2007-11-10 06:03:40 -0500

    Ali, I too love the boxes.
    I met you last weekend at CK in Seattle on Sat. morning at your Top 10 class. I asked you to sign two copies of Life Artist and you graciously did so. One copy was for a friend of mine. This copy was stolen from my car last night. I'm hoping that I can ship you another copy that you will sign for her.Please let me know how I may reach you if this is possible. Thanks.

  4. Shelley Haganman

    2007-11-10 06:18:12 -0500

    The boxes look great! It gets me in the mood for the big Christmas countdown! Shelley

  5. Christine Villacarlos

    2007-11-10 06:18:41 -0500

    love all of your ideas! :)

  6. Paul-ene

    2007-11-10 07:55:09 -0500

    Oh love that wreath! Love your projects you've been making too. Super ideas! Thanks for sharing! I was wondering how you were going to hook the boxes up to the wall.
    Your always full of inspiration! I should TRY starting early on Christmas season too and incorporate it with Thanksgiving. Make life easier! ha

  7. Erin M

    2007-11-10 08:06:53 -0500

    Ali, your words and ideas have definately gotten me into more of the holiday mood. Can't wait to start trying out some of these new ideas.
    thanks for your constant inspirition!

  8. Michelle Sicotte

    2007-11-10 08:32:17 -0500

    That wreath is stunning.

  9. heather

    2007-11-10 09:36:25 -0500

    I haven't read the last few days . . .we've been getting ready for the Nutcracker around here. Talk about celebrating the season early, huh?
    But wanted to share that we've used a plastic slip pocket advent calendar the past couple of years with activities instead of goodies as well. It makes the month so much more enjoyable, as we don't do everything all at once. We have days set aside for Christmas pj shopping, to visit the mall Santa, read Christmas stories and the like. I'll be switching out some of our old activities for some of the ones on the pdf file you attached. Thanks!

  10. Jill

    2007-11-10 11:03:56 -0500

    That wreath is magnificent...I'm going to be in Eugene next weekend (after not having been there for about 12 years - it was sadly that long ago that I was a student at UofO - i must be old). I'm so excited to come and explore...and would love to know if there is someplace that I can buy one of those glorious wreaths while I'm there. Do you know who makes them?

  11. amanda kay

    2007-11-10 14:14:11 -0500

    those boxes are just so cool! they turned out really good.

  12. Nicolle Tafoya

    2007-11-10 14:30:26 -0500

    Hi Ali do you know where I can find similar boxes? I don't live near a Ben Franklin Store. I have looked at Micheal's and they don't have them and I can't find anything online either. Please help. I love this idea and really want to make it.
    Thanks so much!

  13. Barb

    2007-11-10 16:43:55 -0500

    I do a daily activity advent with my kids every year. I must be on my 11th or 12th year now. Fun to read your ideas.

  14. Jennifer

    2007-11-11 07:07:30 -0500

    I tried this same theory last year. I pushed past the weird feelings I had from starting to celebrate Christmas and the season early and just did. I watched Christmas movies, listened to Christmas music, started thinking about decorations and even did a Christmas Art Journal. It was a lot of fun and it really allowed me to actually enjoy the season more. If I wait until after Thanksgiving there is so much going on that I have a hard to time relaxing and enjoying it.
    Just thought I'd share how I agree with starting early.

  15. Marty

    2007-11-11 13:19:06 -0500

    what a gorgeous wreath....
    I've actually gotten out some of our Christmas decorations - our son is 3 and he is showing more interest already - last year he was scared to death of Santa - this year he remembers WHAT Santa gave him.
    will try the Advent boxes next year with the spirit of Christmas list.
    thanks for the inspiration. Merry merry Happy happy... :)

  16. Patricia

    2007-11-11 13:34:56 -0500

    Thank you, Shannon, for sharing with Ali. And thank you, Ali, for sharing with us! What a wonderful list of ideas! Blessings, Patricia

  17. Erica

    2007-11-11 14:36:35 -0500

    love this idea... gotta copy!

  18. Jen

    2007-11-11 15:20:30 -0500

    What a GREAT idea with the advent calendar boxes. I love what you did. And thanks for sharing the experience ideas also.

  19. Meg

    2007-11-11 18:53:23 -0500

    I picked myself up a wreath too! I bought one several years ago from them and it lasted for three years. I think it would have lasted longer if I hadn't moved. It's a fun Christmas sale to go to ...I've been going for years! :-)

  20. Deborah P

    2007-11-12 09:18:23 -0500

    I like to put up Christmas decorations in November when I can and always felt vaguely guilty until I realized that I can be thankful in the midst of Christmas decorations just as easily as not. So long as I remember the reason for Thanksgiving, it really doesn't matter what my house looks like.

  21. Nikki

    2007-11-12 12:43:55 -0500

    Neat! I've been trying to figure out a way to create my own advent calendar. I found a great Advent Countdown idea online. The site is at:
    You have to scroll down to the title "Advent Countdown".

  22. sarah

    2007-11-12 12:45:48 -0500

    i really loved seeing your boxes, we always do random acts of kindess in our advent calendars and this would be a perfect way to get the kids more involved - a little more kid friendly i think, and they always love surprising someone with a random act of kindess during the holiday season..
    thanks for sharing all you are doing in preparation of the holidays it sure is getting me in the mood, which i thought would be really hard this year!

  23. Candace

    2007-11-27 09:34:02 -0500

    I found a nice assortment of sizes at ( I have not ordered yet, but it is a small company out of North Carolina. They have the most complete assortment of sizes and are really inexpensive!

  24. Brittany

    2009-11-18 10:21:28 -0500

    Love this idea. So simple, but so cute!! I'm linking it to my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Stacie

    2009-11-30 04:06:34 -0500

    I copied your advent idea last year and used thumbtacks and although the wall has lots of little holes the kids loved the idea and are waiting for it to be back up again! I am planing to put it up while they sleep tonight! Thanks for another great idea Ali!

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