Some people plan their holiday crafts out months in advance, sketching out ideas, researching and test out materials, planning, writing out holiday plans.
I am not one of those people.
Sure, I am organized — but I’ve learned that when it comes to creative projects, I am a last-minute gal through and through. I thrive on spontaneity and truly believe my best creativity comes from on-the-spot, impulsive, crazy ideas that I just throw together at the last minute, following the instructions in my gut.
So right around Thanksgiving I decided to make an Advent calendar for my kids. I mapped out a general idea in my head of what it would look like. Brilliant! I ordered supplies last week. Then, I hopped onto Pinterest. Well, crap. There were at least two other nearly identical Advent calendars. Sure, I could still make mine, but the thrill of the ideas was now gone.
In the end, I scrapped my original idea but on November 30th (you know, the day before the kids are supposed to start using the Advent calendar!), I used the same materials and threw together this super simple, very fast DIY Advent calendar that anyone can do in about 30 minutes.
I chose to do an activities calendar versus small gifts calenda. What I love about Advent calendar activities is the thought of at least one new, holiday-related activity that we could all do together as a family. Additionally, my kids (ages five and eight) are task-driven and love goals and checklists. Activities are treats for them and offer so much more than, say, a bag of stickers, candy, or toy.
These adorable mini (2.75″ x 4″) chevron glassine favor bags are from Pretty Tape on Etsy. I ordered them along with some Washi tape — she has SO many lovely items and ships fast!
You can also use regular envelopes that you already have at home.
I designed 1.5″ glossy circle labels with numbers on them to correspond with the bags; red circles for black chevron bags, black circles for red chevron bags.
I then designed 24 Advent activity cards to fit the mini favor bags. The activity list is below, and I chose activities that I knew we would already do and would correspond appropriately to each day. For example, I am usually working at an event at least two nights out of each week, so I plan for less time-consuming activities on those days.
Tis the season of giving, and I am happy to offer these activity cards to you, my friends, for free! Simply download, print onto cardstock, and cut out.
Click here to download the free printable Advent activity cards.
Note: you will need Adobe Acrobat to download and open these files. If you don’t have Acrobat, you can download it for free from Adobe.com.
I designed two blank ones for this printable so you can include two activities of your choice that may be more personal. For instance, the two personal ones in our calendar were: “Enjoy the 3rd grade holiday program” (placed in the bag for the date of my kid’s school music program) and “Make or pick out a gift for Kirby” (Kirby being our dog).
Here is the full list of activities included in this set of free DIY Advent Calendar Activity Cards:
- Pick out a Christmas Tree
- Make Christmas ornaments (decorations
- Draw a nice picture for a friend
- Write a letter to Santa Claus
- Cut out paper snowflakes
- Pick out Christmas books at the library
- Make something for your sibling
- Donate toys & books to those in need
- Have family game night
- Read a Christmas Book
- Write a nice note to your grandparents
- Watch a Christmas move
- Make & decorate Christmas cookies
- Take a drive to see Christmas lights
- Write a thank you note to your teacher
- Have hot cocoa by the fireplace
- Build a snowman
- Sing Christmas songs
- Have a slumber party by the Christmas tree
- Make a gingerbread house
- Walk around the neighborhood to see the lights
- Make cookies for Santa
Download the Urban Bliss Free Printable Advent Activity Cards
For the display, I simple covered a large canvas with red felt fabric. Then I used crafter’s twine to string through each folded bag and stuck the round sticker on to keep it in place. I strung the bags in four rows of six, simply tucking in the string in the back of the canvas or tying it to the back frame. I was going to create felt letters that spelled “Joy” or “Merry” but ran out of time and just threw some felt snowflakes onto the felt.
My kids were pretty excited to come home from school to find the Advent calendar hanging on our living room wall. I can’t wait to embark on these simple yet meaningful daily adventures with them!