Christmas Advent Calendar

Christmas Advent Calendar

Christmas Advent Calendar

I love Christmas and having an advent calendar for the kids to be able to count how many days are left until Christmas. I don’t really care for the Christmas advent calendars that you can buy in stores, the ones usually with movie characters on them on and a little chocolate in each door. I have to buy one for each kid and keep track of whose calendar is whose.

When my big kids were my little kids, about 12-13 years ago, I made this Christmas advent calendar for them. It has stood up rather well and we still use it now. Most of the original stickers have fallen off and some of the doors are starting to rip. but the kids love seeing it hanging on the wall and can’t wait to open each door to see what’s inside. I usually put a Hersey’s Kiss or some other small candy in each door for each kid. The boxes behind each door are more than bigger enough to put a small toy or something else instead of chocolates or candies.

I thought I would share how to make a Christmas advent calendar similar to ours. To make this, you will need a lot of cardboard. I wish I could remember what box I used to make it with, as the front and back pieces are very large with no folds or bends in them.

These are the cardboard pieces you will need:

  • 2 pieces of 21″ x 19″ (front and back)
  • 5 strips of 18″ x 2″ (top and bottoms of top four rows of boxes)
  • 6 strips of 11 x 2 (sides of top four rows of boxes)
  • 5 strips of 3 x 2 (sides of boxes from short row)
  • 1 strip of 14 x 2 (bottom of short row boxes)
  • 2 strips of 5 1/2 x 2 (sides of big box)
  • 2 strips of 4 1/2 x 2 (top and bottom of big box)
  • 4 strips of 19 x 2 (outside frame)

You will also need 25 pieces of 2-3″ yarn, more yarn to use as a hanger, lots of glue, paint and an exacto knife.

If you want to paint your Christmas advent calender, it is easier to paint all pieces before starting to assemble the calender. Allow the paint to dry before continuing the instructions.

For the top four rows of boxes, take your 5 strips of 18×2 and cut slits halfway through the strips. Start the slits about 1/2″ from the ends and cut about 2 1/2″ apart. You will have 6 slits in each strip.

Take the 6 strips of 11×2 and cut slits halfway through the slit. Start the slits about 1/2″ from each end and cut about 3 1/2 apart. You will have 5 slits in each strip.

Place all strips into a box shape as shown below. The slits in each strip of cardboard should line up. They should slide together, put the start of slit together and slide until the edges are even with each other.

To make the shorter row of boxes, cut slits about 3 1/2 apart along the bottom of the four rows of boxes you just made. The first slit should be 1 3/4″ from the end of the 18″ strip of cardboard. Then cut slits about 1/2″ from each end of the 3 x 2 strips of cardboard. Slide these shorter pieces into the slits cut into the 18″ strip. Take your 14 x 2 strip and cut 5 slits, approximately 3 1/2 apart, starting 1/2″ from each end of the strip. Slide this piece onto the 3 x 2 pieces.

Now you will take the 5 1/2 x 2 and 4 1/2 x 2 strips and form into a box by cutting 2 slits in each strip of cardboard, about 1/2″ from each end. Slide these pieces together to form one large box.

Christmas Advent Calendar - inside of calendar

Christmas Advent Calendar - close up of short row of doors

Place the boxes of four rows of 5 boxes and 1 row of 4 boxes, as well as the 1 large box evenly onto  the 21  x 19 piece of cardboard that will be the front of your calender.

Once you have your boxes placed where you want them, mark a 3 sided door inside each box. Remove the box frame and side aside for now.

With the exacto knife, cut 3 sides of your door all the way through the cardboard. To make the doors open better, I cut through the fourth side as well but not all the way through, just through the top layer of cardboard.

For each door, poke a hole at the open side and thread a 2″ piece of yarn through the hole. Tie a knot in the yarn on the end that will be inside the box. Use a small amount of glue on the knot end of the yarn to hold it in place.

Christmas Advent Calendar - inside of small door

Christmas Advent Calendar - inside of big door

When all 25 doors are cut and open easily, glue your box frames onto the front piece of cardboard. Make sure your doors are still inside in each box.  I used white glue to glue our calendar together, but I’m sure it would be easier and quicker to use a hot glue gun.

When the glue from the box frames are dry, take your last 4 strips of cardboard, the 19 x 2 strips, and cut slits into each end of each piece, about 1/2 from the ends. Slide these pieces together to form one large frame. Glue this frame around the box frames to cover the ends of all the strips and make the outside look nicer.

Christmas Advent Calendar - outside side view

At the top of the calendar, poke 2 holes on each piece of cardboard across from each other and thread your longer piece of yarn through the holes. Tie the ends of the yarn together. Use this yarn to hang your Christmas advent calender on the wall or door :)

Christmas Advent Calendar - outside top

Once all the glue on the inside of the calender is dry, you can start to decorate the front of your calender.

We put a sticker on each day, with a larger sticker on the larger door. We wrote a number on each door, starting at 25 on the top left door. The numbers count down to 1 with the larger door saying Christmas Day.

Christmas Advent Calendar

My kids love our Christmas advent calender, even the big kids still love opening the doors and getting their treat from inside. The two older kids always took turns opening a door each night after supper. Last year Sammie was finally old enough to take her turn opening a day. :) I don’t think Austin will be able to help open any doors this year, or old enough to get a candy treat from the doors, but I’m sure he will love it too once he’s old enough.

I have noticed over the years, that Christmas day is always so busy and the last door rarely gets opened on Christmas day. It’s usually a day or so later, before anyone realizes that it never got opened. lol

The kids are very excited to see the calendar hanging on the wall and are waiting very impatiently for December 1, when they can start opening doors. :) I think this is their favourite Christmas tradition and one that I hope will last for a long time.

Do you have any favourite Christmas traditions? If so, please share them on our Facebook page, as I would love to hear all about them.

If you like this post, please join us at our Facebook page for more fun ideas. If you have completed one of our crafts or activities, we would love for you to share a photo on the Facebook page :) You can also follow us on Pinterest :)

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Advent Calendar

  1. Pingback: 40+ Christmas Countdown Activities | LivingMontessoriNow.com

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