Our oldest daughter, Izzie is almost three and I wanted to make Christmas more than just one day for her. I am hoping to teach her the story of Jesus’ birth and have fun in the process. So I decided to make an advent calendar. As I was looking around on the internet and Pinterest, I saw lots of really cute ones made of all different types of material – wood, fabric, match boxes, paper, and much more. I decided to make one of paper because it was handy and cheap. Maybe as my sewing skills progress, I may re-do my advent calendar. Here are the directions of how I made the calendar so that you can follow along and maybe make one of your own. In the comments, please add your own ideas of materials, types of calendars, and activities that you have done so that I can take them into account next time around!
Find a backdrop. I originally was going to have Ethan cut a piece of plywood and them paint it, but he was busy and I was eager to get started. Instead, since it was recycling night, under the cloak of night, I dug through a neighbors recycling (on the curb) and found a very large piece of cardboard. Cut it to your desired size. I wanted a tall, thin calendar that I could lean against the wall. I then covered it with gold wrapping paper.
Then cut out 24 paper pockets using colorful scrapbook card stock. Add your own style but using different colors, patterns, and paper sheen.
Using a ruler or yard stick, determine the layout of your pockets. I recommend starting from the bottom and working your way up. Use pencil so that you can go back an erase any markings.
Affix pockets using a very fine line of glue or glue dots on the two vertical edges and the bottom edge. Do this for all 24 pockets.
Add adornments. You can go to Michaels or your local craft store and buy paper dye-cuts and decorative stickers, or you can cut out your own designs using the scraps of the paper used for the pockets. I chose the latter because it was cheaper and I was eager to complete the project without going to the store.
Number the pockets.
Cut 24 inserts for the pockets, punching a hole in the top corner and attaching a ribbon. The ribbon is important so that the insert does not fall into the pocket.
Write an activity on each insert and your calendar is complete.
Here are some ideas that you can include on your advent calendar:
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Go to a Christmas party
- Make Christmas cookies
- Make and deliver Christmas cards
- Go caroling (around your neighborhood or local senior center)
- Make a gingerbread house
- Travel to “Bethlehem” (walk around the block)
- Drive and see Christmas lights
- Learn and sing a Christmas song
- Make an ornament
- Collect cans for the homeless
- Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn
- Deliver gifts
- Drink hot chocolate and stir with candy canes
- Dress up and put on a Christmas play
- Have a picnic in front of the Christmas tree
- Read the Christmas story every day
- Wrap gifts
- Make a treat and take it to a friend
- Call grandparents and sing a Christmas song
- Count the stars
- Make a holiday craft with Mom
- Go sledding with Dad
- Make characters from the Christmas story with play dough
- Make a list of the gifts God gives us
- Wear a fancy dress to dinner
- Have a dance party to Christmas music
- Camp out around the Christmas tree
- Decorate the house
- Blind fold kids and have them guess the holiday scents (cinnamon, pine, gingerbread, etc.)
- Donate toys to Goodwill
- Cut out paper snowflakes
- String Christmas lights in the kid’s rooms
- Collect pines cones and dip in paint for decorations
- Make a Christmas tree out of paint and hand prints
- Make cold weather packs for the homeless (water, granola bars, McDonald’s gift cards, Hot Hands, etc. to give to homeless instead of money)
I love the idea that each day has an activity. I think my wife and I may have to copy this as we have kids. You can even rearrange the cards so that it’s different every year and even swap in some new activities as she gets older.
When I was little we had a felt advent calendar that had little items and trinkets with safety pins on the back. On 12/24 every year it would be a race between me and my 3 brothers to see who could get up the earliest to pin up baby Jesus.
I love this idea! Making the advent time filled with family activities will increase your family memory making and fill your children’s hearts with warm thoughts for the rest of their lives. Enjoy this blessed season with your family!
Oh boy, OPC is getting crafty! Clever idea(s) Jocelyn, just don’t forget about power tools and gritty stuff over there too, ok? ; )
What a wonderful way to teach your daughter about Christ’s birth Jocie. I’m going to do this for our grandsons this year. Thanks for the great idea. He lives with us along with his Dad (our son), Mom and big brother (when not with his Dad) so it’s the perfect year to do this.
Around here you could add visit a Christmas Tree farm (we live in the country surrounded by them) and visit the live Nativity in the near by city.
I like the one where you make cold weather packs what a lesson to teach our little ones. Its good to teach the older ones too.
I really like the ideas you had for each day!
I can’t wait to make one with my nephew next year!
Man…I hate that Christmas is over. I can’t wait to do this next year! I love the Cold weather packs instead of money. I am always reluctant to give cash, if I even have some, but this would be something useful anyone could use.