It's that time of year where everyone on the internet is showing their favorite advent calendar, or the one they wish they had time to make. ; ) I recently finished making a set of advent calendars for us and for our friends and family.
Last year when I visited my cousin Amy in Germany around Thanksgiving, I saw a commercial tea Advent calendar. As a tea lover, I was intruiged and bought one to take home with me. Unfortunately, since it was assembled way in advance and had some particularly strong flavored teas in the mix, all the tea bags pretty much tasted the same. Whatever flavor it ended up tasting like, it wasn't one I liked. The idea of a tea a day for advent; however, was a keeper!
After my experience with herbal teas overpowering the black ones in the calendar, I decided to make a black tea calendar. I wanted a different variety every day, but since I have some friends and family members who only drink plain black teas I also made a "plain" variant with a bit more repetition.
While shopping for teas, a theme for the week began to emerge:
Sunday: Darjeeling for a nice light afternoon tea
Monday: Plain, strong black tea to get the week started
Tuesday & Wednesday: no set theme (plain and flavored black teas)
Thursday: "Earl's Day" (Earl Grey)
Friday: "Chai Day"
Saturday: Experimental teas!!
Celestial Seasonings Earl Grey
Choice Earl Grey Lavendar
Choice Mango Ceylon
Harney & Sons Black Currant
Harney & Sons Chai
Harney & Sons Cinnamon Spice
Harney & Sons Darjeeling
Harney & Sons Earl Grey
Harney & Sons English Breakfast
Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast
Harney & Sons Orange Pekoe
Harney & Sons Paris
Harney & Sons Passion Fruit
Numi Breakfast Blend
Organic India Chai
Taylors of Harrowgate Darjeeling
Taylors of Harrowgate Earl Grey
Taylors of Harrowgate English Breakfast
Taylors of Harrowgate Scottish Breakfast
After it all arrived, the tea was laid out, individually numbered by day, boxed, and decorated. (It isn't an advent calendar if there are no numbers...) To put on the numbers, I first tried metallic pens, but found that they didn't work particularly well. I ultimately landed on printable labels. I used Avery 5293 round labels since that size came 24 to a sheet which is perfect for numbering an advent calendar.
The boxes are made from cardstock which I cut, scored, and cut again. I added an embossed greeting on the top "Christmas is on it's way!" and stamped the silly gift barcode stamp on the back. The adorable mooses were handstamped and colored by Terri, my papercrafting genious of a mother-in-law, after she saw how cute one she had sent me home with looked on top of the box! (So cute!)
If you decide to do something like this yourself, my biggest suggestion would be to look very hard for the words, "enveloped" or "wrapped" on each and every tea you purchase. I learned the hard way that if a 20 count box is individually wrapped it doesn't mean that a 50 or 100 count by the same brand is as well. Another hard-learned tip is that Taylors of Harrowgates individually wrapped bags are about 1/4" larger than other brands.