A Simple Handmade Advent Calendar

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[SAFETY EDIT: I have plans to redesign this next year to put some sort of metal barrier between the wood and the candles.  It works fine like this, but you have to pay close attention and not allow the candles to burn down to the wood or the board will catch on fire.]

For several years now, I've been wanting this wooden advent spiral to use as an advent calendar.  

I love the fun of counting down to anything.  But while "giftie" advent calendars can be fun, more often than not, preparing them stresses me out.  I always have trouble finding items to put in them that are not either "kid junk" (little plastic doozie-ma-jiggys and the like) or prohibitively expensive over the course of twenty-five days.  And we've tried doing a calendar with "events", but I would so much rather do those spontaneously.

The simplicity of moving a candle along each day--and the excitement of lighting candles for dinner--seemed perfect.  But the spiral still wasn't quite right.  

The symbolism is nice, but the size was wrong.  All the spirals I had seen were just a little too big for our house.  And while I love the idea of dedicating a space to it on the dining room table...with a toddler and a dog and a table that doubles as my crafting space...that's just not our reality right now.

But I still wanted to do something similar.  So this year, in early November, I ordered the two figurines.  I had them sitting on a shelf, and had just about given up on inspiration to strike when, on December 1st, the Winter edition of Rhythm of the Home came out.  When I saw this project for a "Hardware Store Hanukkah", something clicked in my brain, "Ahh!  I need something more like a menorah...something long and skinny...."

So, I went out into our shed and found a piece of wood that had formerly been a garden stake.  Quickly seeing exactly where I was going, Sweet Husband sanded the board and drilled in the holes.  (I'm capable with the power tools, but he's quicker.)  Then we rubbed it down with a bit of "spoon oil", and it was ready to light that very night.

Ever the perfectionist when it comes to such things, Sweet Husband says he intends to make a new one next year.  ("The holes cracked a little, and the board should be a little longer....")  But I'm not sure I'm going to let him--I think it's perfect.