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Treat Yourself Advent Calendar Basket

Today, we’re sharing a super simple treat yourself advent calendar basket idea!

Managing Holiday Expectations 

Truth be told, I had planned to post about something completely different today. 

But I kept getting messages about how joyous and yet overwhelming the holidays can be. 

How all the running around and the demands on our time can be downright stressful.

One person shared she had rushed to decorate her entire house only for the “feeling of Christmas magic” to subside a few hours after the last ornament had been hung.    

And how she felt guilty for having a beautifully decorated home, but her heart was just not in it this year.

Then she wanted to know if I had ever felt that way too.

So, I reassured her and told her of course I had.

Honestly, I think it’s natural to feel that way sometimes.

A Different Kind of Holiday Magic

For most of our lives, we’ve had a perfectly curated holiday.  My Mom LOVES Christmas and each year she has a team of family elves that put together all her decorations. 

One Christmas her parents were gravely ill though. So, we decided it was best to stay at my childhood home, Loblolly Manor, to be closer to them. 

There was no time to deck the halls with lots of garlands, sparkly ornaments, store-bought deer, or floral picks.

We barely had enough time to find an old pencil tree in the attic next to a bin of ornaments my Granny had made.   

My Dad ran to Walgreens to buy lights and bought all the icicles they had on the shelves – 6 boxes total – in case we didn’t have enough ornaments. 

It took less than 30 minutes to hang the lights and decorate the entire tree. 

After my Dad placed a well-worn angel on top of the tree, he handed us each a box of silver icicles and said, “Go to town.”

So naturally, we started screaming and throwing wads of icicles all over the tree. 

We draped them up one side of the tree and down the other. Then we packed those drugstore icicles into the branches of that old pencil tree like they were strands of pure gold.

Once we were out of icicles we stood back and admired our masterpiece. 

I’m sure my mother was mortified.

But instead of fixing the tree, she passed around a box of chocolate covered cherries and we feasted like kings.

I cannot tell you a single present I got for Christmas that year.  Yet I remember that perfectly imperfect tree like we decorated it yesterday.

Finding Ways to Rejoice in a Weary World

I know it’s been a rough year. 

I know you might need a little extra help getting into the Christmas spirit.

And that’s totally ok.

We can still be weary and rejoice at the same time. 

You don’t need a lot of extra materials to make this treat yourself advent calendar basket. 

But if you follow all the instructions it will give you a healthy dose of Christmas cheer and something to look forward to each day.

Here’s a look at how you can create a treat yourself advent calendar basket for yourself or someone you love…

Treat Yourself Advent Calendar Basket Supplies:

  • Basket
  • Wreath (big enough to go around the top of the basket)
  • Floral Foam or Plastic Grocery Bags
  • Cloth (to cover the foam or bags, we used burlap)
  • Jingle Bells (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • 24 Muslin Bags
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen or Markers

Steps:

Gather your basket and related supplies.

Place a piece of floral foam or plastic bags at the bottom of your basket.

Add jingle bells, if desired.

Use a piece of fabric (we used a burlap feed sack) to cover the floral foam or grocery bags, and the bells.

Using a store-bought or homemade wreath

lay your wreath directly over the top of the basket, resting it on the rim.

Buy or make 24 bags (more if you’re starting on the first Sunday of Advent). We found these at a craft store then stenciled numbers on them with craft paint.

Using caution and care as scissors will be sharp, cut a strip of scrapbook paper for each day you’ll have an activity.

Then write one activity on each strip.

A Few Treat Yourself Advent Calendar Basket Ideas to Consider…

  • Treat yourself to a cozy cardigan, cable knit sweater, or fuzzy slippers.
  • Host a Zoom mocktail or cocktail holiday-themed happy hour.
  • Enjoy a peppermint bath bomb.
  • Mail a Christmas card to someone you’ve been thinking about but haven’t seen in a while.
  • Put a Christmas tree in your bedroom.
  • Wear your Christmas pajamas early.
  • Snuggle up under a soft blanket and read a magazine.
  • Create an epic at home hot drink station or cocoa bar.
  • Surprise a friend, new mom, or elderly neighbor with dinner.
  • Buy the meal or coffee of the vehicle behind you while you’re in the drive-thru.
  • Play Secret Santa to someone that would least expect it.
  • Create an at-home holiday-inspired spa day.
  • Leave a scratch-off lottery ticket in random books at the bookstore with a note that says Merry Christmas.
  • Reconnect with someone you love.
  • Hang a new wreath on the front door.
  • Donate a toy to a toy drive or a sweater to a sweater drive.
  • Watch your favorite holiday movie and order take out.
  • Try a new holiday recipe.
  • Zoom or Facetime someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you.
  • Buy an expensive piece of chocolate and savor every bite.
  • Walk along the bayfront, the beach, or go for a hike on a chilly morning.
  • Make stovetop potpourri.
  • Hang twinkle lights somewhere new.
  • Craft an ornament and hang it on the tree.
  • Enjoy a holiday-themed mani-pedi.
  • Eat dinner by candlelight.
  • Leave a gift under a loved one’s pillow.
  • Ask Alexa to wake you up to your favorite Christmas song.
  • Find the perfect shade of red lipstick and wear it all day.
  • Wear something sparkly just because.
  • Buy your favorite champagne and celebrate all you’ve been through.

Putting All the Elements Together

Place one activity strip in each bag.

Then collect all the bags and place them into the treat yourself advent calendar basket.

Embellish with a bow or additional floral picks, if desired.

What I Love About This Quick & Easy Project Idea

What I love about this idea is that the basket doesn’t take up a lot of room so you can place it on a tabletop, dresser, or on your vanity.

You could even leave a treat yourself advent calendar basket on the doorstep of a family member or friend and surprise them!

It’s completely customizable so you can even put goodies inside the bags instead of having an activity prompt for each day if you like.

I know this year has been a hard one for so many.

Yet I also completely understand the pull to make the season a magical one despite feeling physically and emotionally exhausted.

While we all could use a little bit of Christmas, I know we can also use a little bit of easy too. 

So, if you’re looking for something to help make your spirits bright each day, try making this super simple treat yourself advent calendar basket.

You’re worth it!

Let us know if you decide to make our advent calendar basket and the little things you’re looking forward to this season!

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Other Advent Calendar & Christmas Ideas to Enjoy:

Many blessings,

CoCo

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21 Comments

  1. I love this! So inspired. I think I may resurrect Princess/Royalty week. And who knows…maybe even make my own advent calendar.

    1. That’s a great idea, LiLi! I almost put “create an epic hot cocoa bar using only things from Aldi” on this list just because I knew you’d get a kick out of it 🙂 Big hugs and let me know how it goes, CoCo

  2. Patty Foster says:

    Love this easy idea and plan to do one for each of my girls!

    1. That makes me so excited to hear, Patty, it’s always fun to have something to look forward to so I know they’re going to love it. Big hugs, CoCo

  3. “We can still be weary and rejoice at the same time”. perfect wisdom Coco. Love this post! Happy Monday!

    1. Thank you so much, Debra! Learning to manage expectations has probably been one of the toughest things about this year. I feel like I should have a Ph.D. in it by now 🙂 Sending you hugs and thank yous for your sweet words, CoCo

  4. I love this idea! We all need to take care of ourselves and our families during this absolutely crazy time. I’m not sure if we will be able to even celebrate the holidays with our kids this year. Our governor just limited in house gettogethers to just 2 families. How can that even be enforced? It’s craziness! Anyway, I’m going to make your wonderful basket!

    1. It’s so hard to believe cases have completely skyrocketed since we shut down the first time in early Spring, Ellen! I kept thinking we’d “get back to normal” before the year was over but I’m realizing now this probably is our normal at least for a little bit. I’m so sorry you might not be able to see your kids this year, I know that has to be really tough. Situations like these definitely leave an ache in your heart, that’s for sure. I’ll be thinking of you guys and hoping you can find ways to make each day a special one. Big hugs, CoCo

  5. I love your posts but they are so light I can’t see it very well. For those of us who have eye problems a little darker would be appreciated.

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know, Linda. I’ll have my bestie S (she runs the website) look into it and see if there are some settings on the backend we can change and I’ll check my computer settings as well. I know the “hover over feature” when you scroll over our photographs definitely makes things lighter so I’ll have her check and see if it’s something we can change. Hope you have the best day, CoCo

    1. Thank you, Heidi! It’s so easy to get caught up in the crazy of a “perfect Christmas” when most of our favorite holidays together have been anything but 🙂 Hope you’ve had the best week, CoCo

  6. What a fabulous idea! My boys and I made an activity advent calendar last year and included movie nights, baking our favorite Christmas treats, driving around looking at lights, etc. I think I enjoyed it more than they did but that’s OK they’ll still have great memories!

    Our trees growing up were always fabulously imperfect as my step father always felt bad for the scrawny Charlie Brown type trees left on the lot and would come with some really pitiful looking trees (for some reason we always sent him alone!). But they always looked great in the end with all the tinsel and decorations on them so your story really resonated with me.

    1. That so awesome, Joanne! I can definitely appreciate all the special memories that accompany Charlie Brown Christmas trees. They hold such a sweet spot in my heart too. Love that you and the boys created so many fabulous memories with your advent calendar. My sisters are very careful about how much candy they let the littles have so while Aunt CoCo would load them up with treats, I try to space it out a bit with activities so I don’t get into too much trouble 🙂 Blessings on your holiday season this year as well, CoCo

  7. Wow, what a great and lovely idea! This has been a year , , , , I think we all could use a little pampering! Love the muslin bags. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

    1. ha ha YES to pampering, Kathleen! I’m totally on board with that idea 🙂 I hope there is a run on champagne because we’re all celebrating making it through this wild ride. There is NO way you could start and finish this year as the same person. I’ve learned so much about myself and others. Big hugs and can’t wait for you to treat yourself this season, CoCo

  8. This is really beautiful! I’ve featured it at the TFT party. 🙂

    1. I really appreciate it, Pam, thank you so much! It’s been so much fun to have something to look forward to each day. Hope your holiday season is a blessed one. Hugs, CoCo

  9. This is just wonderful. What a good idea to put together a basket of spirit-lifting activities for making the Advent season special. THANK YOU for the step-by-step instructions, including the ideas for each day!

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

    1. You are so welcome, Richella! It’s been such a wild year I think we all need a little something special to look forward to and serving each other during this time has been full of a life-changing adventures we’ll never forget 🙂 Thank you so much for the sweet feature. I really appreciate it. Big hugs, CoCo

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