Made with Love and Magic: Fan’s Handmade Christmas Gift to Sister Will Warm Your Heart

The days after Christmas is a perfect time to show off all the wonderful presents you received. Let’s be honest: If you managed to get your hands on something as elusive and coveted as, say, the new PlayStation 5, it’s probably worth bragging about. But today we want to show a Potter-themed present that came from the heart and was made by hand. If you ask us, it’s way better than a store-bought gift.

Emily Vincent from London, England, crafted a Hogwarts Castle Advent calendar for her younger sister, Becca Francis. We got a chance to speak with Emily about the calendar.

 

Emily Vincent created a "Harry Potter"-themed advent calendar for her younger sister, Becca, for Christmas.

 

Both Becca and Emily are avid Harry Potter fans who have enjoyed the books and movies since they were children. With every new release, it was an opportunity for the two to engage in some lively conversation. 

We were lucky enough to grow up with the books. I was 8 when the Philosopher[‘]s Stone was first published, so [I] was the perfect target audience. My sister is younger, but I remember us both getting copies of the new books as they would get released. I would often read the whole book pretty quickly, as I was older. And then insist on reading chapters to her so I got to read it again. Also, every new film release was a full family cinema outing […]. We both love the books and the films.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2020: Emily was gift shopping when she saw an Advent calendar and decided to not only make her own but also improve on the idea. Younger sister Becca wasn’t the only one to get such a thoughtful gift.

I actually have 3 siblings and made one for each of them. My older sister is a big Disney fan – so hers was the Cinderella castle. Becca’s was Hogwarts. And my brother[‘]s was Star Wars[-]themed.

She says she loved making all three calendars since she’s part of the other two fandoms as well. But the process of creating the calendar got a little tricky at certain points. The pockets that hold all the goodies were a challenge to paint. Emily used pillow boxes to hold the goodies, and she says, “It was tough to re[-]create something very architectural, with straight lines and edges, onto something curved and 3D.” 

 

Vincent painted over pillow boxes to create the Hogwarts Castle design on the advent calendar.

 

We think it’s fair to say that she pulled it off because the entire project came out looking beautiful and detailed. Her sister definitely thought so too.

Her reaction was amazing – pretty sure her first words were, ‘Oh my [G]od! Don’t tell me you painted that?!?’ She also didn’t realise that it was an [A]dvent calendar at first, just thought it was a painting – so she was even more excited to learn that there were goodies inside.

What were the goodies inside, you ask? Don’t worry; we were curious too. The first box had Gryffindor House socks, “which went straight on her feet.” The other boxes contained things like a Gryffindor bath bomb, a Hedwig headband, a Harry Potter tote bag, more themed socks (because who doesn’t need more socks?), chocolate coins, and more. Emily said it was just as much of a treat to know how much her younger sister enjoyed it.

By the time I gave it to her, I had forgotten what was in each one, so it was so nice to get a message from Becca to say what she got each day!

Since the sisters are such fans of the franchise, we just had to know what their favorite books and movies were. Emily says the two are on the same page when it comes to that. Both say that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is their favorite book because, according to Emily, “It has a bit of everything in it,” and according to Becca, “because of the development of complexity between Harry and Dumbledore’s characters.” On the other hand, their favorite movie is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, to which they credit Dame Maggie Smith’s performance as Professor McGonagall. On top of that, they are both in Gryffindor House.

 

Some of the gifts from the calendar were a Hedwig headband, Hedwig socks, and some chocolate coins.

 

Thank you so much to Emily Vincent for sharing her beautiful creation with MuggleNet. If you have a special creation you’d like to share with us, email us at submissions@staff.mugglenet.com.

Full Transcript with Emily Vincent, Monday, December 28, 2020

For accuracy, what is your full name and where are you from? (As much as you are comfortable providing.)

Emily Vincent - London, England

When did you and your sister start reading/watching the Harry Potter series?

We were lucky enough to grow up with the books. I was 8 when the Philosopher[']s Stone was first published, so [I] was the perfect target audience. My sister is younger, but I remember us both getting copies of the new books as they would get released. I would often read the whole book pretty quickly, as I was older. And then insist on reading chapters to her so I got to read it again. 😂
Also, every new film release was a full family cinema outing (followed by me and Becca having a full debrief and critique afterwards! Lol). We both love the books and the films.

What was your inspiration for creating a Harry Potter/Hogwarts Advent calendar?

I saw a “sock 12 days [A]dvent calendar” in a shop where you got a pair of socks each day. It was actually Disney themed. And I considered buying it, but then thought - I could make that and add to it! 😊 I really liked the idea of getting a mini gift instead of just a chocolate each day.
I actually have 3 siblings and made one for each of them. My older sister is a big Disney fan - so hers was the Cinderella castle. Becca’s was Hogwarts. And my brother[']s was Star Wars[-]themed. I can share images of the others if you are interested?
Like many Potterheads, I am also part of other fandoms - so loved making them all. 🥰

What was the process of making your project a reality?

Like many in this strange year, I have been furloughed for quite significant periods. And so have used my time to create paintings and gifts for people - when normally I just wouldn’t have the time.
I started by buying all the various goodies to go inside. I then got several different sizes of pillow boxes, filled them with the treats and arranged them in a rough Hogwarts shape. I then used a glue gun to stick them to a big bit of cardboard I had covered in black card. I sketched out the drawing onto the new 3D canvas made of the cardboard and boxes and then used acrylic paint to add the colour. Once dry, I added detail with a black and silver pen. Finally, I very discreetly numbered each box for the 12 days.

You said you made the calendar for your sister (is that correct?). What was her reaction when you showed her?

Yes, I made it for my younger sister, Becca. Her reaction was amazing - pretty sure her first words were, “Oh my god! Don’t tell me you painted that?!?” She also didn’t realise that it was an [A]dvent calendar at first, just thought it was a painting - so she was even more excited to learn that there were goodies inside.
She couldn’t wait to open the first box - which had a pair of Gryffindor house socks inside - which went straight on her feet 😂 - a new nail varnish and some gold galleons (choc coins).
After a year where I haven’t been able to even hug my parents or siblings, it was lovely to be able [to] spread some festive cheer a little early. And give them each a little gift every day!
I think my mission was complete as Becca sent me this WhatsApp on Day 5:
“I love it - it’s like it’s Christmas every morning 😘😘😬😬”

What did you fill the pockets with?

Every box was filled with different girly treats and lots of HP[-]themed gifts. Including [a] Gryffindor bath bomb, [a] Hedwig beauty headband, [a] lightening [sic] bolt make up [sic] sponge, [an] HP tote bag, loads of HP socks, Gryffindor earrings and loads more. Each day would also have some form of sweet treat in there. A chocolate frog or some golden galleons (chocolate coins 😊)
By the time I gave it to her, I had forgotten what was in each one, so it was so nice to get a message from Becca to say what she got each day!

Was there any part of the project that was particularly hard?

I didn’t realise until I started how difficult it was to draw and paint something onto a 3D surface. It was tough to re[-]create something very architectural, with straight lines and edges, onto something curved and 3D.
It was also tricky to get the colouring correct, as the paint reacted differently on the different surfaces of the pillow boxes and the black card background.

Do you have a favorite part of the calendar or a part you enjoyed making?

My favourite part of the calendar is the little Hedwig I added. Both [I] and my sister have a real soft spot for Hedwig, and we always joke about us “getting our letters” - so I thought it was perfect to have her flying over Hogwarts carrying a letter. 😊
A few years ago, I actually created a “letter” for my sister on her 21st [b]irthday [that] invited her to Hogwarts but also revealed her gift from me, which was tickets for us all to go to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour. I made a book list and Hogwarts Express ticket to go inside as well. And it was ‘delivered’ by an Owl, which was actually a pretty silver ring with an owl on.
I’ve included some pictures of this incase [sic] you are interested.

Do you have a favorite book or movie from the series? What about your sister?

My favourite book is OotP - I just think it has a bit of everything in it (including a villain we all hate even more than Voldemort 😂)
My favourite film is probably DH [-] Part 2. The cinematic portrayal of the Battle of Hogwarts is breathtaking and Dame Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall leading the charge is brilliant!
Without discussing it at all, this is what my sister said when I asked her. Crazy how similar we are!😂
“Urmmm, fave book is [O]rder of the Phoenix because of the development of complexity between Harry and Dumbledore’s characters - fave film is [D]eathly [H]allows [- Part] 2 - because of how bad ass [sic] everyone is in the [B]attle of [H]ogwarts ([M]c[G]onagall, especially) and the general bravery and teamwork of everyone.”

What are both of your Hogwarts Houses?

We were both [S]orted into Gryffindor.

 

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