Perfect Guests: Leigh Hodgkinson Presents Her Sticker Advent Calendar

The main event – in a scene built over 25 days…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about alternative advent calendars, and earlier this week, shared my progress with the book one. When the original post was published, Lewes-based illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson commented on it, saying she was creating a sticker advent calendar. So I asked her to pen a guest post for Little Lewes when she launched this on her site wonkybutton’s shop.

You may recognise Leigh’s name from past Little Lewes posts about the puppet workshop she did at the Bags of Books Summer Party last year, her summery cover for Viva Lewes this summer, and the online art auction she arranged for War Child.

Anyway, over to you Leigh!


Sticker order – only suggested, mind!

I decided to make a wonkybutton advent calendar this year for a few good reasons I’ll share with you.

1) Chocolate advent calendars began creeping into the shops well over a month ago, and notwithstanding it was far too early early to contemplate Christmas, the familiar feelings I have every year about how commercial it all seems started to get to me. These were big brand calendars – Peppa Pig, Thomas and Hello Kitty and the like – and the outside of them were just as bad as the cheap plastic chocolate offerings inside: generic, badly illustrated snowy scenes bearing no relation to Christmas apart from the weather (which we don’t really get until late January anyway!)

2) I’m not really religious, but I appreciate the real story and meaning of Christmas – one of hope, peace, giving and love. It has to be a good one to share with our children. To me it’s not only possible as an atheist to celebrate the Christmas story, it’s also vital, because it helps bring some sort of balance and perspective to what would otherwise be nothing more than a hideously indulgent, materialistic overload.

3) My children will get enough presents and treats this festive period, so I don’t feel they need to have chocolate every day leading up to Christmas. An advent calendar that supplies a little present (chocolate or otherwise) is one you gradually destroy until it’s a husk-like piece of rubbish on Christmas Day. It doesn’t feel like a great message.

The contents of the pack – background, stickers and instruction postcard

So I thought, why not have one about ADDING something each day, to become something whole? I like the idea of my two watching their advent calendar grow and evolve until it’s complete on Christmas Day – it feels like it makes the month more about looking forward to a special and exciting day, than about the momentary satisfaction of daily sugary treat.

As I mother I know that stickers, though simple, are like catnip for children. Sticker advent calendars aren’t a new thing, but being an illustrator/maker, I wanted to create one myself for my children that ticked all the boxes (in no particular order!): nicely designed, with stickers, and a Nativity scene. Then I thought others might like it too.

How to use the calendar

The calendars are created from a artisan print run which is relatively expensive to produce, so I realise that they’re perhaps pricier than the supermarket ones. But I really hope that people appreciate the sentiment behind them.

The wonkybutton sticker advent calendar background – ready for dressing with the 25 stickers that countdown to Christmas

The background (printed on A4 280gsm recycled craft card) is quite bare – just a shed-like building, ground, and starry sky. It comes with an A4 sheet of 25 die-cut matt vinyl stickers (one for each day until Christmas Day), and a simple instruction postcard that illustrates a suggested order to put the stickers on. I made the order ‘suggested’ as of course it is the child’s prerogative to add them in any order they like!

The same applies for the placement of the stickers. I think it’s good to have loose rules/instructions, but equally important is to leave a bit of room for creative freedom. So by the time Christmas Day arrives, the scene will have magically grown to be brimming with of stars, hearts, people and sheep!

The fully assembled calendar, as road-tesed by my daughter

My little girl helped me assemble one for the promotional photos, and is itching to get started on her ‘real one’ in December.  My favourite sticker has to be the angel. I know ‘technically’ the angel is male – but the truth is, I wasn’t going to do the angel at all.

Then my little girl said I absolutely should, so really, the angel is my daughter.


 By post and costing £2, however I am happy to deliver by hand within Lewes and will refund you the cost of your postage in person if you are local.


Disclosure: Leigh contacted Little Lewes after seeing my post about alternative calendars, to say she was doing a sticker one for wonkybutton and I replied that I’d like to feature it on Little Lewes. She then kindly offered to give me one for my boys, which I gratefully accepted! No other compensation, financial or otherwise, has been offered or accepted in exchange for this post, which is a guest post written predominantly by Leigh and slightly edited for Little Lewes’s readers.

// If Little Lewes’s posts appeal, how about receiving them direct to your inbox by hitting ‘subscribe’ in the side bar? You won’t be spammed – I don’t post enough! //


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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

One thought on “Perfect Guests: Leigh Hodgkinson Presents Her Sticker Advent Calendar

  1. Absolutely gorgeous – what a clever idea to use stickers to gradually make a scene!

    For something else a little bit different for Christmas 2014, we have created a printable Acts of Kindness calendar that embraces the giving spirit if Christmas – take a look if you want!

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