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Paper Mache Tree Advent Calendar

Although I’m partial to the boxful of Christmas ornaments that we’ve collected over the years, my kids favorite holiday decoration is hands down the advent calendar. Or I should say advent calendars, since on top of the homemade variety; they each receive an old-school chocolate behind the doors version from their grandmother every year. Every morning during December begins with them rushing down the stairs to see what today will bring from their countdown calendars. Since they are already getting a piece of candy each, the mama-made version usually holds a small gift, but this project could be scaled up or down to suit whatever treat you want (and however much space you have!)

Things you need:
1/4-inch plywood, 2 feet by 4 feet (or slightly bigger than the finished size you desire)
Safety goggles
Acrylic paints in red, green, and gold/yellow
Number decals or stamps
23 round paper mache boxes (3-inch) and 1 star paper mache box
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Picture hanging supplies (optional)

Things to do:
1. Cut a basic Christmas tree shape out of your plywood. If you’ve never used a jig saw, ask a friend to help and take the usual safety precautions for power tools.
2. Paint the entire tree green, this may take a few coats, and allow the paint to dry completely.
3. Coat the tops and sides of the cardboard boxes with red paint and the star box yellow/gold.
4. Once the boxes are dry, stamp or apply number decals to the top of each lid, numbering the boxes 1-24. (the star should be #24)
5. Starting with box #1 at the very bottom, spread your box ornaments” out over the tree. Glue the bottom of each box in place and fill with your advent goodies before replacing the tops.
6. Hang in a safe but kid-accessible spot.

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