The countdown to Christmas starts early in our house. It is not long after Christmas presents are open that the kids start asking, "How many days until next Christmas?" While Christmas is asked about all year long, we officially start our countdown to Christmas on December 1. We make the requisite paper chains and have a wooden Christmas tree advent calendar I fill with daily treats. But the advent calendar my kids look forward to the most is this easy and inexpensive paper advent calendar.
All year long, as I browse through my monthly magazines, I look for pictures of doors and windows to use for our annual advent calendar craft. I prefer unobstructed pictures of doors and windows (no text) that are taken straight on. Home magazines are good picks, but magazine ads also have a lot of really great window and door pictures. I like to mix and match doors and windows of various sizes and designs. Sometimes I throw in the occasional mirror.
What makes this advent calendar so much fun are the activities behind the door. You can customize the activities just for your family. Most activities are inexpensive or free and can be done at home. Some of our favorite activities are: make Christmas cookies and give to a neighbor, hang candy canes on the Christmas tree and collect and donate change to a bell ringer. I will include a longer list of some of the activities we do at the end.
Pictures of windows and doors
Pen or marker
Heavy books (optional)
1. Cut out pictures of windows and doors from magazines. Ads are a great place to find pictures of doors and windows. You can also find images of windows and doors online and print them out.
2. Arrange on cardstock and adhere. The amount of cardstock you need varies on the size and placement of doors and windows. For this year's calendar, I used 4 pieces of 12"x12" cardstock.
3. Cut around windows and doors on three sides so they open up. Gently score the "hinges" of the windows and doors, opening each one.
|Make cuts so the doors and windows open in different directions.|
|I used a ruler and a bone folder to score along each hinge.|
4. Turn page over and apply adhesive around windows and doors being careful not to get any on the back of the windows and doors. Adhere this sheet to another piece of cardstock. If using glue, you may want to place a heavy book on top of each piece while it dries.
5. Write an advent activity inside of each door. Number each door 1-25. TIP: Look at the calendar beforehand so you know which days of the week are appropriate for each activity.
6. Lightly glue each door shut with a dab of glue. You may need to set a couple of heavy books on each page to get the doors to stay down
Now your advent calendar is ready for your kids to fight over! Have a very Merry Christmas!
(Project adapted from Family Fun Magazine)
Choose three toys to donate to the thrift store
Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Wrap a present
Hang candy canes on the Christmas tree
Go to a Christmas party
Make a Christmas craft
Make paper snowflakes
Make cookies for Santa
Go to a museum
Build a fort
Go to McDonald's
Read about the birth of Jesus
Collect and donate change to a bell ringer
Make and send a Christmas card
Go Christmas caroling
Sleep over in the basement
Watch a Christmas movie
Call Grandma and Grandpa
Play family games
Make cookies and give to a neighbor