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:


2014 Update  

Instead of an advent calendar, I'm sending my kids secret letters that will encourage them to give back this holiday season.

Want to see how we’re counting down to Christmas this year? Check out this post.