christmas books for advent calendar (with bonus tutorial)

(this is a continuation of my previous post.  you can read there what i am doing for the rest of my advent calendar spots.)

sooooo….. as a librarian, i was very attracted to the idea of a book-advent-calendar.  the idea is most often translated into 24 gift-wrapped christmas books and the recipients open one new book each day to share together.  first of all, i don’t own 24 christmas books and i don’t really feel like storing 24 christmas books every year and i really don’t feel like spending two hours gift-wrapping 24 books each year, so i came up with a plan.

part (a):  find all the christmas books we already own.  result=2 books.

part (b):  buy some christmas books from better world books.  we get a discount and our money goes towards a good cause.  hooray!  result=10 books.

part (c):  check out some christmas books from the library.  who cares if they get packed in a box or returned to the library?  we can check them out again next year if we want to! result=5 books.

part (d):  for the books we’re getting from the library, wrap them in fabric bags left over from long-ago project.  and also a fabric “sandwich wrap” that i found in my pantry.

part (e):  for the books we own, make re-usable custom felt wrapping.  (‘but carissa,’ you say, ‘those will take waaaay longer than 2 hours to make.’ and i will reply, ‘true, my friend, but how sweet will it be when i pull these out next year already wrapped?  and also, how stinkin’ cute are they?  and also, they’re still pretty darn fast to make.  let me show you how.’)

bonus tutorial!!

ingredients:  felt, book, velcro (i prefer the “snag-free” kind that incorporates both the hook and the loop on the same side)

step 1:  choose a book and put it on top of your felt.  pretend that your felt is wrapping paper when you’re deciding how big to cut it, only make the sides wider than you usually might.  then, cut the corners out (see photo below), slightly tapering so that the ends of the flaps are slightly narrower than the base of the flap (nearest the book).

step 2:  fold the bottom flap up towards the top and pin two pieces of velcro so that they will overlap when the flaps are closed.

step 3:  close all the flaps and flip the book over.  create some sort of felt decoration for the front of your package.  the challenge is to create a simple design that you can stitch on with the least amount of stitches.  nothing elaborate here or we’ll be doing this all day!

step 4:  sew the velcro and the decoration onto your felt.  (see?  i could have sewn down all of the squares, but sewing just the smallest one will make sure none of them fall off, and it adds interactive texture!)

step (oops) 5:  in the interest of honesty and of teaching you something from my mistakes, i should also point out here that when i first closed this particular envelope, i realized that my velcro didn’t actually meet very well.  but because the name of the game here is speed and seam-ripping is the enemy of speed, i just sewed an extra strip of velcro on.  plus, that makes this more versatile.  maybe some year i’ll have another book that’s the same width but slightly taller!

and that’s it!  all done!

anyone interested in knowing the christmas titles we’ve chosen?

*edited to add:  you can see a list of our christmas titles here!)*



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