Thursday, November 20, 2014

Advent Calendar: Beribboned Bonbons

Section of bonbon garland

This is the fourth in a series of adamantly secular advent calendars created over the past several years. Past creations have ranged from stuffed walnuts to evolving outsider couture. This year's idea was suggested by my friend, designer Pam O'Connell. Should these how-to instructions reach you too late for this year's festivities, not to worry. This extravaganza requires lots and lots of recycled ribbon, so your task this holiday season is to collect every scrap of ribbon in sight and recycle it as you make the calendar next year.

Two garlands in progress

As you can see, this project not only meets your advent needs, it also serves as instant holiday decor, taking over your whole house as you drape the garland(s) over a mantel, around a stair bannister, or ever around your tree.

How it works: cut off one bonbon per day

Here you see two garlands, one for a five-year-old and one for her three-year-old sister, with each numbered bonbon holding absolutely identical contents to avoid unseemly holiday squabbles. Materials include fabric (gold lamé, tulle, plaid glittery scraps) that you'll need to keep adding to as you go along. When you start to run out of fabric as you're making the garland, just stitch on another long narrow stretch of fabric the same width. Objects inside each bonbon are wrapped in a bundle of tissue paper. Scraps of ribbon are tied around each bonbon. You will need 48 to 50 scraps of ribbon, each long enough to tie into a bow, depending on whether your calendar runs through the 24th or 25th of December. There is a length of fabric between bonbons which an adult with scissors will snip through each day to release another bonbon. Copper and gold puffy fabric paint was used to write numbers on the bonbons.

A bonbon after being cut from the garland

You can fill your bonbons with anything you want. I always include a foil-wrapped chocolate coin each day, and a little, very inexpensive gift every few days. Last year (Advent Calendar Haute Couture) all the little gifts were mouse-themed. This year the theme is chickens, and all of the little gifts are souvenirs (including an outsider art fabric chicken) bought from street vendors during a month-long visit to Chiapas.

Tag at start of bonbon garland

The gold lamé garland

The tulle and plaid garland

This project is an ideal use for recycled ribbon, and I'm encouraging the young recipients to save all the ribbon in a bag as they open each bonbon for use in their own maker projects, so it will be thrice-cycled.


  1. Someday I hope to be exactly the kind of grandma you are. The girls must really look forward to every visit to your house!


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