Hi, This is Really Short and Not About Advent Calendars

I love Advent calendars.  Love them.  I think it’s because I like things with little compartments and I like looking forward to things.

I also hate Advent calendars.  Because often they are filled with things I don’t particularly need.  Often those things are little pieces of plastic crap and if I were cast in a superhero movie, (very unlikely) little pieces of plastic crap would be my arch nemisis.

But I really want to stress how much I love things with little compartments or bags or pockets. So enter this Advent calendar-type thing that I just made and go easy on me that the stitches are uneven and the pockets aren’t perfectly lined up and the spacing on the left is totally different from the spacing on the right because (spoiler alert) I’m mediocre at sewing.


It is not an advent calendar.  Here’s what it is.

As of late I’ve been trying to give because I enjoy doing it, but also because this is the season for giving.  Giving time or money to people who need it or causes that I want to support. And I’ve been generous this month and will be generous next month but then January rolls around I’m worried that I’ll forget.  Because that always seems to happen.  As good as my intentions are, life gets in the way and it’s so easy to forget.  So I made this “Not-an-Advent-Calendar” with the goal of helping to keep myself accountable.

There’s one pocket for each month of the year.  Whenever I donate money or time (or blood) I write it on a little piece of paper and put it in that month’s pocket.  It doesn’t count for me to donate clothes or something I was trying to get rid of anyway– it has to be something I want to hold onto that I am giving away.  It lets me see how much I’m giving each month while at the same time encouraging me to give more because seeing an empty pocket when I know it’s supposed to be full drives me as crazy as the little red numbers on my iPhone telling me how many unread e-mails I have.

If I accidentally go all the way through the month without donating, that’s fine.  I can donate to a bunch of places on the last day of the month.  My starting goal is for each pocket to have at least 4 pieces of paper in it.  How much I donate depends on how much money I made that month.  (I freelance, so every month is different)  I used red paper to draw attention to it because this is not something I want to fade into the background.

I’m hanging it in my room so I see it every day.

Wanted to offer this idea in case there are other people who would love to be more generous but just forget.


Have a wonderful holiday season.


Someone who has already heard that Mariah Carey Xmas song three times and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet so God help us all


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If you’re buying a holiday gift for someone who’s either expecting or has a young child, I wrote and illustrated a book called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming, which can be purchased through Target, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indiebound.   It is lightweight and my mom really liked it.  Also feel free to follow The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or Twitter, on the off chance I ever have time to post anything.

Also if you want to attempt making a calendar but don’t sew you could probably make a perfectly nice one with felt and glue.  Or staples.  Or anything.  If I had to do this one over (and given how shoddy the construction is, I might) I’d make one that’s all white or a really light color so that the red pieces of paper would stand out more.

Thanks again.  You look great today. 



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