I’ve always been a huge fan of activity advent calendars this time of year. Corey and I love to come up with unique ways to celebrate the season, and it’s such a fantastic way to be intentional about soaking up every single second of the season.
Also, it gives me a good excuse to eat a metric ton of cookies and spend entire days in my pajamas. I have to! The calendar says so!
I’m tricky like that.
Our calendars have shifted and evolved a bit over the years – you can click to see our lists from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015! This year, we decided to go back to doing an actual calendar rather than a simple bucket list, and I’m so excited to get started. I spent a ton of time making sure that everything on our list was placed perfectly so that we don’t have a big activity planned for a busy weeknight and we don’t have too many “bake cookies” nights in a row.
Although let’s be honest, no one would complain about that.
This year’s calendar was incredibly simple to make, and I think it’s one I’ll keep using for a few years, at least. Let’s chat about how it’s done.
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How to make a DIY activity advent calendar for Christmas
Materials you’ll need:
- A frame
- Kraft paper envelopes (I can’t find these online, I grabbed mine at Hobby Lobby)
- Small cards
- Graphite transfer paper
- Clothespins or clips (I made these by brushing on some Mod Podge, sprinkling glitter on top, and then doing another layer of Mod Podge on top – super simple!)
- Hot glue gun + glue
How it’s done:
I decided to use a frame I already had laying around – it’s an old Ikea mirror with the mirror part removed (it was just held in with those little metal folding prongs). I was going to hit up a thrift store to find something, but then I remembered I had this and it was perfect – such a good reminder to check your random stash of leftover mirrors before you go buy something.
What? You don’t have like 12 extra mirrors hanging out in your house? That’s just me?
Anyways. To make the frame itself I grabbed some pretty red ribbon and hot glued a few rows of it to the back of the frame.
The numbered envelopes were incredibly simple to make. I just printed out some numbers in a pretty font (be sure to put them in a text box, click “format shape” in Word, and then use 3-D rotation to flip the numbers around so they print backwards), then I used my graphite transfer paper to get a nice outline on the envelopes.
Then, I traced over ’em with a Sharpie. Done!
I didn’t do anything fancy with the cards – we probably won’t re-use these from year to year, so I just wrote our activities on them with a pen.
Then, I clipped them up on the frame with the glittery clothespins and that’s it!
I love how this turned out and I am so excited to get started. Jackson really understands what Christmas is this year and has been talking about it nonstop for weeks, so I think he’s going to have a blast with this.
And even if he doesn’t, I know I’ll have a blast with it.
In case you’re curious, here’s a quick list of what is one each day of our activity advent calendar this year (and yes, I know some of them are repeats – who doesn’t want more than one cookie + Christmas movie night?!)
- Write a letter to Santa
- Go to a Christmas festival
- Local Christmas parade and tree lighting
- Make salt dough ornaments
- Bake cookies and watch a Christmas movie
- Make homemade marshmallows
- Make s’mores
- Wear matching Christmas pajamas
- Make gingerbread houses
- Go see Santa at Magnolia Market
- Have a family movie night
- Go look at Christmas lights
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Play board games and make hot chocolate
- Color in some Christmas coloring pages
- Go out to eat
- Pajama + movie days
- Have hot chocolate and go for a walk to look at lights
- Have breakfast for dinner under the tree
- Bake cookies and watch a Christmas movie
- Have a Christmas music dance party
- Have a fondue dinner at home
- Cook and bake for Christmas Eve
- Set out cookies for Santa
- Merry Christmas!
I’ll be back on Friday with some photos of our Christmas decor this season – I’m so proud of how it all turned out this year and I really sometimes feel like my house was just meant to be decorated for Christmas all year long.
That’s not weird, is it?
Do you do an advent calendar? What kinds of activites do you like to put on yours?