24: ‘Tis the First Day of Advent

24: ‘Tis the First Day of Advent

Happy Advent Everyone!

Life sized paper nativity scene in London

Although advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, it has become quite a season of shopping in anticipation of Christmas day, regardless of belief.
I find it challenging as a parent during the holidays when my kids want things that I’m not inclined to purchase. I’m always on the lookout for a unique advent calendar that will make counting down the days fun, while hoping they’ll forget (yeah, right!) about the chocolate filled advent calendars they’ve seen elsewhere.
I love this pop-up advent calendar available through the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met’s Avian Holiday Pop=Up Calendar

And this DIY advent calendar made from envelopes also caught my eye at MarthaStewart.com. I don’t know that I could come up with enough treats to fill all of those envelopes, but I can imagine how fun it would be to open one each day!

I like using envelopes for projects. Paper Source has a great selection in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

The ready-made pockets in envelopes make it easy to cut windows and slip decorative papers inside. Two of the projects in my book Playing With Paper feature envelopes in this way:
The Envelope Folding Screen (which can also be folded into a square lantern form),

Envelope Folding Screen, photo by Stephen Funk

And the Piano Hinge Photo Album

Mini Photo Album, photo by Stephen Funk

Both of these projects utilize a variation on the piano hinge with bamboo skewers threaded through the hinges to hold the pages together.
I’ve started an Envelope Art board on Pinterest. Have you seen another creative use for envelopes? If so, please share them with me by emailing or leaving me a comment below.

Here’s another lovely round up of Advent Calendar ideas, many of them created with paper!


About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!


  1. Jane OBrien says:

    Thanks so much for these 25 days of paper play. I had a wonderful time looking at all the paper alphabets yesterday and today–the Advent calendars!! How lovely. I can’t imagine the amount of time that must have gone into assembling all these resources and links. I am very grateful! (and yes, pre-ordered your book via Amazon).

  2. daria says:

    i love Advent calendars! Thank you for today’s paper post!

  3. Linda K. Fendley says:

    The life sized nativity scene is amazing!
    I particularly like the envelope advent and the envelope folding screen. I agree that it would work great as a lantern. Is that a lace paper behind the leaves? (or lace material)

  4. Helen says:

    Jane, thanks for the appreciation!
    Linda, that is paper. Its called Asanoha (star pattern) Japanese lace paper.

  5. Ray Mckinney says:

    Hello, I just came across your blog.
    Would you be able to tell me what type of paper was used for the
    life sized nativity scene ?