Oh, I just could not pull off a pie, and I'm so grateful to Tea for Two for posting her recipe here! Thank you for having my back. Luckily, my mom is in the house, and so the pecan pies will now be made effortlessly, and with her customary grace and amazingness. (Thanks, Mum.)
Instead, I wanted to make sure you had enough time, in case you wanted to make a new advent calendar for your kids this year. I am going to add "Jews and their Advent Calendars" to my roster of coffee table books I want to make, which include "Jews Go Cross-Country Skiing," and also "Jews Making Bacon." So be it. First of all, if you don't have time, here's the idea I pitched years ago to Wondertime magazine (RIP), and which is just a visual cue:
|Yes, it looks a little like a fraction--but only because I'm bad at rubber stamping.
But 5 or 6 years ago I became obsessed with matchboxes and made this:
|If I had put gorgeous berry-colored paper behind my tree, I would not have made myself saw around the poster board with a bread knife. Alas. That's the color of one wall of my dining/craft room. Nice, right?
It's been a favorite part of our Christmas ever since, and it's not hard to make--just a little fiddly and time consuming.
Start with 25 matchboxes (you can buy packages of 12 at the supermarket, and luckily you had one extra lying around), and dump the matches into a large mason jar, where you will keep them hopefully and in the spirit of resourcefulness for one year, after which you will throw them away.
Use a piece of white paper and a pencil and scissors to find the perfect size paper for wrapping around the box, then use this as your template and cut 23 pieces of decorative paper, then use rubber cement or another glue of your choosing (not white glue or you will cry) and wrap 23 of the boxes with paper. If the paper seems inclined to pop off or peel, use a clothespin to hold it while it dries. Now make a template for lining the drawer, cut out 23 drawer liners, and glue them inside. Mine are all mixed and matched. The 24th box is two boxes opened on the side and glued together, then wrapped. I don't remember how I accomplished this, and it's not strictly necessary--it's just that I wanted the star to be bigger than the other ornaments. Decorate the boxes with ribbon, if you like, and number them somehow: I glued on tiny tags that I had stamped numbers onto.
Now make your ornaments: A 1-inch circle punch would make this easy; I think I traced around a quarter. If you want to fancy it up, you can add a little rectangle of silver paper for the top, and a little loop of silver thread for the hanger--and you can stick them both on with the self-adhesive Velcro dot you're going to add to the back of each dot anyway.
Are you with me so far? Then make the tree and background. I did this by covering the bottom half of a standard piece of poster board with decorative paper (it's white with white dots, and, thus, not really that decorative) and then I glued on a large tree shape cut from construction paper. Only after I had glued it on did I wish I'd put something beautiful behind it, and, in fact, so regretful was I about this that I decided to cut around the outline of the tree, which was the only truly difficult part of this whole advent-ure. I don't recommend it. Get yourself a nice piece of paper, glue it down before you add the tree, and call it a day.
Now space the 24 velcro dots all over the tree, including one at the top for the star or whatever else you make for the top. The other half of each dot, as you'll recall, is already on the back of each ornament. Then glue the gift-boxes to the box (I think glue dots would be a good way to do this), pop an ornament in each one, saving the star or whatever for the final box, and voila!
I know this is not a tutorial in the strict sense, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. Questions such as "How does this look with a menorah burning nearby" (nice) or "What does the word advent even mean?" (I don't know).
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I am now, and always, grateful for your company.