We’re happy to have Sarah Bouvier, guest blogger from New England’s Sweet Lil You, sharing with us how to make a “Christmas Countdown” calendar that can be re-used each Christmas! This is such a fun project that you can get your little ones involved in!
Before becoming a mom I didn’t realize just how quickly babies grow, especially during their first year. Now I see that they grow and change seemingly overnight. Because of this I’m always looking for fun ways to capture who my daughter is at every age and stage.
My daughter was 8 months old when she experienced Christmas for the first time. We were still struggling with erratic sleep schedules as well as teething, food allergies, reflux, and everything else that goes with being a first time mom.
Needless to say, we didn’t create as many keepsakes as I would have liked. I do have a few mementos from her first Christmas. We made a handprint ornament, and a footprint reindeer; we also made some salt-dough plaques with hand and footprints. However, there was so much more I wanted to do. I’ve been trying to make up for it this year, so we’ve been working on a bunch of projects! One of those projects is a Chalkboard Christmas Countdown Calendar, complete with handprint Santa! This is a fun project that you can use year after year! Ours has already become a big part of our holiday traditions. My daughter loves moving the magnet each day as we get closer and closer to Santa’s arrival! For this project you’ll need a large magnetic chalkboard. I purchased ours at Target, in the stationary section, but your can find them at most office supply and craft stores. You’ll also need paint (I use acrylic because it’s easy to clean off little hands and non-toxic), a paint pen to draw your lines, and letter/number stencils if you’re like me and have awful handwriting! Step 1: Measure out your calendar grid, and use chalk to mark it. Step 2: Trace over your chalk lines with the paint pen, and let dry. Step 3: Stencil or write your numbers in the grid. If you’re using a stencil, use a foam brush or a stencil brush. Use a very small amount of paint (the brush should feel almost dry) and dab/sponge the paint on gently. (If paint is “bleeding” under the stencil you’re using too much paint.) Make sure that you let each number dry before moving on to the next. You don’t want to smudge or smear your work. Step 4: Apply paint to your child’s hand. Not too much, and not too little. Step 5: Help your child press their hand onto the chalkboard. If you’re not happy with how the print came out, use a damp cloth to wipe off the paint and try again.
Step 6: Allow the handprint to dry completely. Step 7: Paint on Santa’s hat and face! Step 8: Using your stencil, or freehand, add holiday wording to the top! I used “Santa Claus is coming to town!” but you use whatever you’d like! Other examples include “_______’s Christmas Countdown” or “Countdown to Christmas” My daughter and I had a lot of fun working on this project together, and I think it would be perfect to make for your baby’s first Christmas. It’s definitely a keepsake that we will display every Christmas and I’ll smile seeing that tiny handprint!