Christmas Countdown Advent Activity Calendar

Christmas Countdown - Advent Activity Calendar  (Fun family activities are posted on the back of each day)

Each year I make a Christmas Countdown/Advent Activity Calendar.   I am sharing this year’s calendar with you, and I am thrilled with how it turned out.   The inspiration for this came from the Silhouette Advent calendar, I loved the look of the Silhouette one, but I was looking for something a little bigger, so I decided to make my own version (plus, it wasn’t in-stock for a long time – it’s finally in-stock now).

Instead of this being an advent calendar with little treats for each day, instead we have a fun family activity listed on the back that we can do each day.    There are a couple of days where the kids will have some treats hidden in the house and the first clue will be on the back of that days number.    I like to switch it up with some service, fun events, and treats.    During December, I will be sharing some of the activities we do on certain days.    It should be fun!

If you are interested in making one too, here is what you will need:

I checked out thrift stores for an old inexpensive frame, but I wasn’t finding anything I liked or that was cheap enough, so I decided to make my own frame.    If you have a pre-made frame this project will be even easier!

Making the numbers


  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Embellishments
  • Glue Dots or glue (for attaching embellishemts)
  • Small Wooden Clothespins
  • Small Post-It Notes (to write activities on back)

If you are starting with a pre-made frame you will want to cut or choose numbers that will fit well inside your frame.   Since I chose to make my own frame, I could make the numbers any size I wanted and then adjust the size of the frame to fit the numbers.

To make things super simple. I found a sheet of Echo Park scrapbook paper from my local scrapbook store from the This & That Christmas line.   It was perfect, because it already had squares that were numbered 1-25.   You can also make all of the numbers on your own with cardstock & Scrapbook paper.

I decided to add a little embellishment to each of the squares to give the project a little dimension.   I added some rhinestones, buttons, ribbons, twine and ric rac.

I went super simple with the decorations too, just adding a button or ribbon here or there.

Making Your Own Frame:


  • Molding from Hardware store (to make the frame)
  • Strong Wood Expoxy Glue
  • 90 Degree Angle Brackets (for strength on the back of the frame at each cornerP
  • Small Screws or eye hooks (to hold string)
  • Baker’s Twine (red and white)
  • Paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Filler

I laid out all the numbers and attached a couple of the clothespins that would be used to hang the number from the ribbon, so I could get an idea of the size frame I wanted.   Once I had the measurements I could start making the frame.

I just used a piece of moulding you can buy at a hardware store (it cost me $4.48).  I then cut the molding to size and used wood glue at the corners, once the glue was dry I used attached angle brackets to the back of the frame to make sure it stays together.

I then filled in the cracks with wood filler, let it dry, and sanded it down.  I attached a picture hanger on the back before painting. I chose to paint the frame a festive red color.

To attache the baker’s twine to the frame I used small screws on either side of the inside of the frame, and then wrapped the twine around the top of each screw before finally tightening them all the way into the wood.   I taped the extra string to the back of the frame to make sure it stays in place.   My original plan was to use eye hooks, but I thought it would be hard to get the string tight on those.

I also decided to paint the clothespins, and ended up painting them a green that matched the scrapbook paper I bought.  Before attaching all of the numbers onto the frame, I went through our December calendar and wrote items that I knew we had planned already.  I then filled in the other days with fun Christmas activities.  I have a nice mix of simple, fun family, and service type activities.  The activites are written on post-it notes, so they can easily be switched if a need a less time consuming activity one day.

I hung the frame on the wall and attached each of the numbers with one of the clothespins. Cute!

The final dimensions of the inside of my frame measure 19 3/4 x 15, with the total outside dimensions being 24 1/2 x 19 3/4.

These planned calendars help us have a more meaningful and family oriented Christmas.  I plan on blogging about some of our activities along the way, so watch for those posts to come in December.

Need some ideas for your Christmas Countdown? Here are some you can include:

  • Read about the birth of Jesus
  • Go Christmas caroling
  • Take donations to the Food Bank
  • Bake Cookies
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Bring Treats to neighbors
  • Go to Snowflake Lane (FREE event at Bellevue Square ~ local event)
  • Drive around and view Christmas lights
  • Visit the Giving Tree & choose some names – Get gifts
  • Family Christmas Party
  • Church Christmas Party
  • Read our favorite Christmas story
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Make Chex Mix
  • Make Chocolate covered pretzels
  • See a Christmas play
  • Decorate the Christmas tree
  • Make Christmas cards
  • Drink hot cocoa with candy cane whip cream
  • Go see a holiday movie
  • Watch the Grinch that Stole Christmas
  • Leave a surprise on someone’s doorstep
Homemade Holiday

This post is part of our Homemade Holiday series that we do each year, to see all the previous posts, click the image above.

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  1. Karen says

    I so wish I had seen this before I bought my new one! This is super cute and looks like so much fun to make! We might just have to make it anyway. The one we had had to be “retired” after last Christmas. My son was a bit hard on it over the years and most of the doors had broken off. He gets so excited. Anyway I got a good deal at Kohls on one that looks like a gingerbread house and I plan on putting little slips of paper in each one that tells them where to look for their “surprise”. It was reg price $54.99 but after power hour sales, $10 off coupon and % off coupon it came to $10 and some cents. But yours looks like so much fun we may just have to do it and use the other as decoration!

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