The Christmas season is officially in full swing, so my children have been joyfully counting down to the big day! To do this, we’ve been using our homemade Christmas advent calendar. We were inspired to do this project while visiting a dear friend last year, and seeing her beautiful handmade advent calendar made us want to create our own version!
Advent calendars are so much fun during the holidays, and the tradition dates all the way back to Germany in the early 19th century, “when religious Protestant families made a chalk line on their front door for every day in December until Christmas Eve.” There are many different versions for the Christmas advent, from candles, to chocolate, to pictures- and now there’s even advent lego calendars!
We started this project last year, creating the board and the calendar pockets. The kids were able to sew a few ornaments, but we weren’t able to actually “use” our calendar. This year, we finished our ornaments and were able to start our countdown on December 1st! It has been lots of fun and the kids look forward to it every morning. Plus, since we put together ourselves, we have the memories of hard work, love, and seasonal crafting, which means so much to us.
My friends calendar was made many years ago by a family member, who used pins to secure the ornaments. Since I have little man running around the house now, the thought of loose pins freaked me out lol- so we decided to use velcro for ours, and have vowed to keep it in the best condition to make sure it lasts. You can use whatever you feel comfortable using to secure your ornaments- get creative!
- Large fabric board, color of your choice (we used a red 12 x 18 board)
- An assortment of colored felt (LOTS OF IT! Make sure you have a few green sheets for the tree & calendar portion)
- Embroidery thread & needles
- Velcro, color of your choice
- Hot glue gun and glue stick inserts
1) Using the felt, cut out shapes for the tree, trunk, and tree skirt. Secure to the board using a basic stitch. Add on any personalized details (we added our cat, Jack).
2) Cut out 25 velcro circles for your tree (I used the soft side for this part- save the rough side for the back of the ornaments). Using the hot glue gun, place the circles on the tree or wherever you wish (in addition to the spots on the tree, we put one underneath that will be used for the present on Christmas day, one on top for a star, and one next to our kitty…he “knocked an ornament off”, little booger lol).
3) Use one sheet of felt for the calendar section. Cut out pockets and stitch them onto the sheet of felt (to make it even, we used 24 pockets, making the last one for the 24th and the 25th). Now stitch the calendar to the fabric board.
4) Cut out numbers for each day. Hot glue them onto the pockets.
5) Create your ornaments– use felt and come up with any shapes/designs you want! My kids made wreaths, holly, bows, reindeer, bells, angels, stars, and more! Get creative!
6) Cut out squares of velcro (both sides). Hot glue the rough side to the backs of the ornaments. You can save the soft side to place on the back of the ornaments when they are not in use (making them last longer and preventing them from catching on the felt).
Congratulations! You just made your Christmas advent calendar!
This project is so simple, yet so much fun! I loved making this with my kids, and they loved contributing to the masterpiece. Forget the store bought calendars, and make your own! Not only do you get something amazing, but you get quality time and memories with your children.
We decided to work from the bottom up on our tree, and on Christmas Eve, we will add the star. On Christmas day, we will add the present under the tree.
Do you have any fond memories of using Christmas advent calendars as a child? Share in the comments below!
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