DIY Advent Calendar (and Printables)

We’ve never had an advent calendar, but this seemed like the perfect year to start the tradition. Jason and Jenna are constantly asking ‘how many days until …’ so the advent calendar will provide a built-in answer to several of their most pressing concerns (how many days till Grandma, how many days till Santa, etc.).

I decided to make our own calendar this year, but if I lived closer to a Crate and Barrel (or if it wasn’t a couple of days until December 1st), I’d probably buy this one. Instead, I’m making an easy, activity-based calendar out of gift wrap/craft supplies that I have on hand.

I started by decorating a series of 4 x 2.5 inch kraft bags. Then I printed a set of numbers using Ecolier font, cut them into 1 inch circles using a paper punch and glued them to the bags. I arranged the bags in a grid on a piece of foam board (I still need to glue them, and, hopefully, arrange them in perfectly straight lines), and inside each bag, I plan to place a small card with an activity on it. For example: decorate a gingerbread house, go see Christmas lights, unwrap a bedtime book, etc.

Is anyone else working on a last-minute advent calendar? I’ve posted my numbers here and a template for the activity cards here. I recommend printing each on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of cardstock or vellum.

Here’s a look at my work in progress:


10 thoughts on “DIY Advent Calendar (and Printables)

  1. Julee, I love this idea! It’s so simple and fun. Can you share what all your cards say for ideas?! We have a playmobile advent calendar, but I love the thought of activities to truly take time to celebrate the season. Thanks and wishing you and your family all the blessings of the holidays!

    • Hi Teri,
      Thank you! I’m still finalizing our list of “activities” but here’s what I have so far:
      – Decorate a gingerbread house
      – Visit Santa Claus
      – Unwrap a new bedtime story
      – Make s’mores
      – Decorate Christmas cookies
      – Drive to see the Christmas lights
      – Write letters to Santa
      – Make paper snowflakes
      – Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
      – Make snowman pancakes
      – Today we’re going to Legoland!
      – Set up the Christmas tree train
      – A special surprise is waiting for you (this one will probably be an early present or last-minute activity we decide on)
      – Make Christmas wreaths
      – Today we’re going snow tubing! (we have a nearby hotel that has an indoor snow area during the holidays)
      – You deserve a special treat (with lollipops or other small candy attached)
      – Make mini snowmen out of marshmallows
      – Watch Frosty the Snowman

      So, I still need to come up with a few more activities. We’re planning to leave the envelopes open so we can swap things at the last minute based on our schedule. If you think of any additional ideas, I’d love to hear them!

      Have a great holiday season!!
      – Julee

  2. Oh, what a wonderful idea! I love your advent calendar! And what perfect timing for me to have stumbled upon this post! December 1st! I can make these with my son when I get home from work! (I’ll keep the inserts secret though!) 🙂

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