We did, in fact, finish the advent "calendars" before December 1st. They actually turned out to be Advent Buckets. There were several factors that went in to the decision to simplify our plan and ditch the raffia and all the bow-tying, factors like parental fatigue and the overwhelming need to sit on the couch and watch West Wing reruns. Still, I was very happy with the results and am not ashamed to post pictures. If this doesn't frighten you into buying a pre-made chocolate advent calendar or a Lego one, then nothing will.
Despite the tedium of wrapping all of the tiny packages, this was an enjoyable project and I didn't even cry once and that, my friends, is how we measure arts and crafts success in our household.