The Christmas village Advent calendar is here!
Reviews started trickling in! Here is what some clients think at first glance:
"Wow these are so beautiful! The quality of the paper and the drawings is beautiful and matches so well with the color of the bags! I love it, can't wait to assemble them." -- Stacey K.
"Ok my Christmas village arrived and I put the houses together within the hour lol. They are so pretty as a village, regardless of the genius idea that they're also an Advent calendar. My nephew will love this." --Amanda S.
"It arrived today, thanks! It's so beautiful, I'm gonna order another one so my kids will each have their own! Love it!" --Michaela R.
Here you will find everything you need to know about the Pokidots! Advent calendars. I have gathered all the tips and ideas I've posted on Facebook, Instagram, and my email list, for you to find all you need in one place.
First things first: What is the Christmas village Advent calendar?
It's a kit that allows you to make a Christmas village out of paper bags, and it doubles as an Advent calendar: you get a kit to make 25 paper houses, all numbered from 1 to 25, and you can put your family members' favorite gifts and treats in them and then set them up like a Christmas village. With a few added props, the result is magical!
You get all you need in the package. All you have to do is glue the house fronts to the provided paper bags to make your village houses ready to set up however you like. Each set contains 25 paper house fronts, hand-drawn and gorgeous, 25 brown paper bags to glue them on, instructions, and a surprise! Each house is different, and they are numbered from 1 to 25, to be opened each day from December 1st to the 25th! Once they are assembled and closed, set them up together to make your winter village. More family members involved means more houses and a bigger village! Fa la la la laaa, la la la la...
Additional props to make your village more magical
Here are the Amazon links to the props I've used for my village. A friend of mine used her kids' train set and set it up around her village and it looked awesome! Comment below and share your ideas!
Snow cover: https://amzn.to/3BViOGM
Miniature reindeer: https://amzn.to/3BY3zMY
Miniature trees: https://amzn.to/3D2JBlK
Small LED light strings: https://amzn.to/3EU2tE7
It's so easy to make the houses and set up your enchanted village
The process of creating your Christmas village with little surprises for your loved ones is so joyful! Last year, I set it all up while the kids were out on November 30th. When they came back home, it was already dark, and the little village lights were glimmering in the middle of the living room. It was truly magical. And the joy lasts throughout the month as they wake up excited to open their house of the day. Want to know what's even better? Come December 25, the winter village will be all gone and there will be no cleaning up to do! And the magic continues :)
Free download: a super handy sheet.
It lets you plan the gifts to put in the houses and will then serve as a cheat sheet so you remember what you put in there! If you're a planner and organizer like me, you will love this! It's so helpful to categorize the gifts you choose depending on the sizes of the houses in the calendar, and the day of the week (for example, I like to leave the longer activities and sugary treats for the weekend or no-school days). And if your kids are different ages or have different favorite things, this sheet will help you plan better. Click on the image below to download it and print it!
Inspiration and my recommendations for gifts to put in the houses for kids:
My 2 girls are 6 years old, and almost 8 but these are "main themes" that you can use to think of gifts for your own kids, no matter what age:
Treats from local small businesses. The gifts I add come from different places, including Amazon and Target, but for the edible things, I like to visit local bakeries and chocolateries. Truffles, small buns, hot chocolate bombs (these are amazing!), and hand-made artisanal chocolate bars (my mouth is watering just thinking about what's available in my own neighborhood). If you intentionally look for these things around you, you will find them, you may discover delicious treats that you will buy again, and supporting small and local businesses is, of course, a great thing to do, especially during the holidays. For freshness purposes, buy the local treats last, and put the most perishable ones in the first houses of the month.
Books. Chapter book-format books fit great in the taller houses. Put these in the back of the village so the weight of the book is supported by the back wall :)
Sibling gift. If you have more than one child, have them choose a gift for each other. I've done this last year for Christmas presents, and this year I will do it for the Advent houses as well. I took each one of my girls separately to choose a gift that the other will like, and they even used their own piggy bank money. It was incredibly cute and a great lesson in generosity and thoughtfulness.
Written note from you. Nice words are a gift that can be more fulfilling than a present. They surely last longer, and they make kids feel good about themselves and understand that gifts come in different forms.
Something hand-made Last year I put a home-made hot cocoa mix in one of their houses that I packaged nicely with little drawings and their names, and my mom contributed hand-knitted hats in another house. It's wonderful to appreciate gifts that are hand-made especially for you.
Somewhere to go, in charades. Gifts can also be a nice place to go. Last year, going somewhere fancy was not an option but I did plan a playdate in a park close by with some of the girls' friends, and what I put in the bag was a "charades" card where I drew the park and the friends with clues that made the girls guess what the plan was. I added Kinder surprise eggs in that bag, which the girls shared with their friends during the play date. They love the surprise eggs!
Assembling your beautiful Christmas houses:
I have the right tools and a spacious table and it took me about 10 minutes to glue my houses to my brown bags. But I glue things very often. I would say if you're not an expert maker, set aside 30 minutes and take your time making your houses. It's a fun activity! You do get instructions with your set, but here's a video that shows the gluing for reals:
Wait, what's that glue thing I'm using?
It's the Scotch Tape Runner, Extra Strength. It works really well. Make sure you use it slowly if you're not familiar with it, and to stop, you just roll it backwards (as if you were breaking) for a tiny bit.
I tried all the kinds of glue that I thought you might pick up, and I have a quick report for you on how they work. Details in the video below:
A feature in Seattle's beloved magazine and online magazine ParentMap!
Yay! I love having my work featured, especially in my favorite outlets! Here is a screenshot of the ParentMap feature:
I love answering your questions! Q&A.
Thank you for joining the Q&A Instagram Live on Friday, November 12!
Click here to watch the 10-minute replay, or read below for a quick summary.
Q: Can two gifts fit in one bag for two kids?
A: Of course! Some houses are as tall as 6 inches before they have to be closed at the roof and they are all about 5 x 3 inches at the base. You have a lot of choices of smaller gifts to fit in there :)
However, if it's the space you're worried about (and two sets can surely take quite a bit of space), here are two tips I got from clients who already purchased one set and don't have much space for that either: 1- One client decided to set up a small, 5-house neighborhood, and get the bags gradually. She said she would have houses 1 to 5, and each time her sons opens one, she brings out the next one to replace it. It's brilliant! 2- Another one told me she will scatter the houses in the house so her child gets to look for the right house each day, which makes it more like a game, though you lose the "village" concept, and she was okay with that!
Q: Where do you get the props for the village?
A: My props are mini LED light strings, a blanket of snow, small trees, and small animal figurines. I bought them all from Amazon last year and linked them all right here on this page. Scroll up to "Additional props to make your village more magical."
Q: Can we customize the bags with the kids' names?
A: I am not offering customization for these calendars this year, though you certainly can do it yourself! Most of the presents in my girls' houses are the same, but when they are different, I have written their initials in small letters on the front of the bags. A fun idea is to print your children's photos in small (like 1/2" by 1/2") and glue them to the house windows. I'll do it if I have time :)
Q: Are the bags reusable?
A: You can certainly reuse the bags next year. I personally don't expect to reuse them, only because I don't want to be asking my kids to be careful opening them so they're in good shape next year. I want them to enjoy their excitement and tear off the houses if they want to. They are recyclable!
Q: How long does it take for a non-crafty person to assemble the bags?
A: It took me about 10-15 minutes to glue a set of 25 house fronts to the bags and I think it's reasonable to estimate 25-30 minutes for a non-crafty person :) Make sure you have a good space to work on and a good glue (see above for the glue recommendations video).
Q: What's your budget for filling the bags?
A: I went all philosophical with my answer here (you can see it in the video if you want at minute 8:25) but the short answer is that my gifts range from $2 to $18 per bag or so, for each girl, but you can go as low or as high as you want basically :)
(I get a small compensation from Amazon if you buy your Amazon village props directly from the links that are listed on this page. Thank you!)