It is time to get those Advent calendars ready for the year. We like to change ours up every year and the kids love it. My oldest has been going on and on about it all November to anyone who will listen. Last year we made these Unique DIY Advent Mailboxes but this year we’re going big. This DIY Christmas tree Advent calendar takes up an entire wall! If you want an awesome statement piece of décor then this is it. Don’t worry. Even though it is big it is easy to make and inexpensive. After you find out how to make it, keep reading for ideas on how to fill it.
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- 24 Paper Christmas Gift Bags
- Gift Tags (Mine came from this paper set)
- Paper Cutter
- Christmas Cord
- 24 Push Pins
- Advent Gifts (See Below for Ideas)
- Hole Punch
First cut out all of your tags.
Next, make a numbered list of all of your Advent gifts in the order that you want to give them.
- Have your planner handy for this part so that you can schedule your activities around other commitments your family has.
Fill out each gift tag with the day and the corresponding Advent gift or activity.
Next, punch a hole in each tag.
Cut 24 lengths of cord and tie one on each gift tag.
After your tags are ready, fill each bag with an Advent gift. (Again, you can see below for ideas on what to give.)
Next, measure your bag placement starting at the top of the tree.
Continue hanging your bags as pictured until you finish hanging the row with 6 bags.
On the last row, hang your last 3 bags in the center to form the base of your tree.
- I hung the gifts in ascending order, so the gift for Day 1 is on the bottom left.
The following list is our exact Advent gifts for this year in the order in which we are giving them. Don’t forget to have your planner handy when you are scheduling your gifts. For example, a living room campout isn’t good for a school night or a treat-making gift on a game or practice day.
Paper Chain Decorations
Grab some pretty scrapbook paper and use it to make some fun Christmas decorations.
Early on in the month on busy days, candy is an easy Advent gifts that kids, of course, love.
Write Letters to Santa
Print out these adorable printables and put them in the gift bag for kids to fill out. If you want to take this one further, head to a local Macy’s and drop them off in their North Pole Mailbox.
This can be as elaborate or simple as you would like to fit your schedule. You can get very hands-on and make salt dough ornaments together. You can also purchase a pack of wooden ornaments and have the kids color those with paint or markers.
Hot Cocoa Night
Fill the bag for this day with hot cocoa mix and then let kids choose their own mix-ins to personalize their hot cocoa. White chocolate chips, caramels, crushed peppermint, and cinnamon sticks are a few ideas of flavors that go great with hot chocolate.
If you’re not a baker, buy plain cookies at the store for this gift bag. On the Advent day, set kids up with icings and festive sprinkles to decorate their cookies with.
Make Christmas Trees
Buy a pack of pennants at the store to put in the gift bag. Then let kids color their “trees” and decorate with ribbons, pompoms, and buttons.
Festival of Lights
Our zoo has amazing holiday festivities at the PNC Festival of Lights. This is a great activity for the whole family full of animals, lights, rides, and more. If your zoo doesn’t do a holiday event, search your city’s website for other events in your area that your family can try.
Take some time to relax as a family and color on new Christmas coloring books. Don’t forget to grab some fresh crayons if you need them.
Christmas Noise Makers Craft
I’m sharing the tutorial for these on Wednesday but for now you can put some white paper dessert plates in the bag.
Mini Gingerbread Houses
This is an easier take on traditional gingerbread house making that doesn’t require you to be in the kitchen for hours baking. Instead, tuck some graham crackers and candy in the gift bag. Let each child form and decorate an individual house for this Advent gift.
Color Wrapping Paper
I got this awesome roll of coloring wrapping paper last year but this is the closest thing I’ve found this year. If you don’t have any coloring wrapping paper, simply use a roll of kid’s art paper to decorate then wrap presents with.
Fill a gift bag with some new Christmas books for each kid. Make it a family activity and read them together before bed.
With so many awesome new Christmas movies made each year, you can’t miss a movie night during Advent. You can buy a new movie for the gift bag or pick a movie on Netflix and put some microwave popcorn in the bag.
The Dollar Tree has these adorable little sets that are an easy and fun Christmas activity for kids. They may even want to wrap them up as gifts for the grandparents which I totally support!
Make Jingle Bell Bracelets
Put some aprons in the gift bag and spend this day making delicious treats. If you feel ambitious, let each child pick out one candy and one cookie recipe to try. Then everyone gets at least one treat that they like.
Decorate Santa Hats
Grab some fabric paint and plain Santa hats to fill this bag. Let kids decorate their hats then allow them to dry for 24 hours before wearing. (It also helps set the paint if you throw them in the dryer for 10 minutes after the paint has dried.)
The holiday season is better when you share the cheer with others. Today, add some treats to bags and deliver them to your neighbors as a family. Fill the gift bag with a package of cellophane treat bags.
Christmas Game Night
We love playing games so much that we actually have Christmas themed board games. Don’t worry if you don’t, though. You can find tons of fun Christmas games on 12 Hilarious Christmas Party Games.
Living Room Campout
Use blankets to make a giant tent in the living room and have a campout. For the gift bag, add some glow sticks for the kids. Try to go without electric lights during your campout (except for maybe the Christmas tree).
This is one that kids look forward to every year. You can read more about it on Create Memories with Your Advent Gifts but it is always a fun memory that kids cherish.
Make Reindeer Food
It’s important not to forget about Santa’s reindeer on the big night. Mix up a treat to help them keep their strength up on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to put it out before going to bed Christmas Eve.
Make waiting for Santa to arrive a little easier with new stuffed animals to cuddle with.
The kids are so excited to dig into this DIY Christmas tree Advent calendar. You will be doing more than counting down to Christmas. You are creating memories that last a lifetime with these gifts. It is rewarding to see how much your kids look forward to the activities more than the gifts. Use your Advent calendar as a reminder to slow down this season and make time for family. Don’t forget to come back on Wednesday to find out how to make Christmas Noise Makers. Until then, get your home decorated for Christmas on a budget with these frugal tips!
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