DIY Advent Calendar

Christmas weather is upon us, Team Lah-Lah is busy shopping for the perfect tree, deciding where it would idle beautifully on display. Maybe in the corner of the living room? Or in front of the window? Uncovering boxes of ornaments, resurrecting lights from the attic, dusting off and assembling outdoor inflatable Santa Claus decorations. Doing inventory of all Christmas things, very quickly we are blowing up our Amazon cart with garland, wrapping paper, magic tape, more Christmas lights and extra surge protectors. We are busy! Busy! Busy! Things were going great, checked my list once…checked it twice, not a thought was left unthunked, not a bow… unbowed, our eggnog was nogged… carefully reviewing my contact list – pruning out the naughty from the nice… everything was going as planned…until my husband reminded me, our sweet daughter still needs an Advent Calendar for her First German-Guamanian Christmas Holiday. With all the planning, organizing, checking my list and checking it twice, I overlooked Lah-Lah’s Advent Calendar! Quicker than I can say “WWooooTTTTT?” My dry eraser mental marker carved a large QUESTION MARK on my whiteboard  brain? I am drawing a blank on the whole Advent Calendar thing, but without delay or excuses, I need to make a Christmas miracle happen….AND STAT!

As my heart pounds out my chest, I gracefully race to my laptop to do a bit of nosing around! Thankfully, with the assistance of Google images and Wikipedia, I quickly became less clueless than I initially was!  My first instinct was to visit, type “Advent calendar” in the search bar, and with a few clicks of my mouse, I am seconds away from finding the perfect one for my little girl, and rest assured I would have it 2 days later, but that is too easy! I decided to challenge myself to handcraft one! And so my Adventure of Making an Advent calendar began! From what I gathered from searching the world wide web, looking at other blogs, and Google images, there are infinite ways to create this special holiday calendar! The exciting part is you can let your imagination go wild, steer beyond the traditional sense of a chart calendar of rows and columns. The running theme in creating an Advent calendar whether it is store bought or handcrafted,  you need to have a collection of 24 mostly uniformed items with each item representing day 1 to day 24. Items so far I’ve seen used to create Advent calendars are glass jars (mason, and baby food glass jars), paper bags, tin cans, gift tags, jewelry boxes, envelopes, and recycled greeting cards… and can you believe it? Toilet paper rolls!? So I used these ideas as a source of inspiration to create Lah-Lah’s calendar, I made simple gift card envelopes for her to open everyday until Christmas day. In each envelope will be one special surprise. Traditionally, it would be a small piece of chocolate or toy, sometimes even lego blocks!

This is what my Advent calendar looks like. To keep this simple, inexpensive and kid friendly, I am using my fridge as a canvas for this project. It is a common appliance that we have in our homes, and the kitchen is a common room where we gather for family huddles and to have meals often throughout our day. Here we go! I hope you enjoy it.

On a special note, since we are not punching holes through these handcrafted envelopes, you can re-use them as gift holders for small delicate gifts like earrings or tickets, square chocolate candy or money cards. These are perfect for holiday classroom gift exchanges. Small enough to pack in a stocking stuffer, and ideal for a secret Santa event at the office…just wrap a pretty bow around it or add a pretty bow in the middle to keep it from opening!


The materials I used to make the cards

  • 3-½ inch circle hole puncher
  • 3-½ inches x 3-½ inches cardstock paper, any color
  • Scrap paper to punch out 96 3-½ inch circles
  • 1 glue stick
  • scissors
  • A ruler to help cut out squares


First I prepared my project:

  • Punched out  circles a total of 96, setting aside
  • Cut 24 squares measuring 3-½ inches x 3-½ inches, setting aside


To make envelope:

  1. Get a 4 circles, fold into half moons:


2. Now take one square, and one folded circle, align straight lines together, see picture below. While aligned, crease fold of half circle to keep its shape!:


3.  Apply glue while keeping half circle and square aligned together as you see in picture below. Firmly press down on glue.



4. Continue on working on the next side; again align straight lines together as you did in step 1. While aligned, crease fold of half circle.  Place glue where indicated and then quickly slide and tuck it under the flap of first circle, align straight lines and firmly press down to keep its place. See picture:


5. Glue the overlying part as indicated on picture and then press down firmly:


6. Continue with placing 3rd half circle. Again align straight lines of half circle and square together as you did in step 1. Crease fold of half circle before applying glue. Place glue where indicated and then quickly slide / tuck it under the flap. Firmly press down. :


7.  You are almost done, place fourth and final half circle on. Again align straight lines of half circle and square together as you did in step 1. Crease fold of half circle. On the last half circle you will be applying glue on the same flap – front and back, Place glue where indicated and then quickly slide and tuck as you see in the picture below. Firmly press down.


This is what the finished product will look like from the back.


**************  Now you can turn your work around. **************

8. Lay your work down, open flaps, if the corners are loose, apply some glue behind the corners and press down!


9. Crease all four sides. Fold down, like picture below.


Tuck and weave all flaps to close it, see pictures.

Now repeat this another 23 times! After you are done, with your envelopes set it aside.


On to Part 2, this will take at least 20 minutes to 25 minutes. Lets make Magnet clips:

  • Hot glue and glue sticks
  • Marker, any color
  • Magnet strips, cut at least 1-½, 24 pieces
  • 24 clothes  pins
  • 24 paper gift tags, or card stock squares or any shape you like =:O)
  • A refrigerator door to use as a canvas , left or right, either one will work!  

Gift tags: let your imagination take flight on this one…you create anything you like and decorate it however you like… Or run to the store and grab a bunch. you just need 24. They should not be no bigger than the legnth of a clothes pin. Keep them simple and light because you want your pin to fall off the fridge!


1. Make 24 simple tags. Number each gift tag 1 to 24, set aside.


2: Cut 24 1-½ inch magnet strips. Turn on hot glue gun and apply glue on magnet strip and apply clothes pin, firmly press down, Do this 24 times! see picture below:


3. Flip the clothes pin around, now using the clean side of them. Get an assembly line going and turn on the glue gun again. Grab a card, and one by one do the following 24 times: Apply Glue on back of gift tag and firmly press on clothes pin.  


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