Counting down: Advent Calendar

An Advent calendar has been on my Christmas craft list for a few years now, but I’ve always been indecisive about how to make it.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve probably pinned at least a dozen different designs on Pinterest, but could never really commit.  This year I didn’t allow  myself to give it much thought.

Instead, I dove in with an Advent calendar that I thought could work for our family—one based on ornaments that we could put on a small accompanying tree.  Isn’t it pretty?

The idea certainly isn’t original.  Pottery Barn sold something similar a few years ago and several people have knocked off the design since (Katie Bower’s is one of my favorites).  But I was willing to forego originality for the sake of getting a project done.  You’ve been there, right?

Similarly, my approach to making this project certainly wasn’t original.  But it was easy.  Bonus points for that.  Here’s what it entailed:

  • Buying a bulletin board for about $6 and wrapping it with a piece of canvas drop cloth (left over from my table mat in this post).  You could also use any other fabric of choice.  My bulletin board was about 18″x24″.  I used clear packing tape to secure the fabric in the back…I just wrapped it like a present and secured the edges!

  • Measuring out the number tag spacing (this was, by far, the hardest part…it required math and graph paper).  My paper tags were 2×3″.

Good news…if you mess up (like I did) chances are your mistakes can be hidden behind one of the number tags!

  • Writing the numbers on the tags (I chose to use a metallic paint pen).  Oh, and P.S., the cute wooden push-pins were left over from this gift I made for my mom last year.

  • Hanging the board.  I just attached a string to the back using some more clear packing tape.  It’s not perfect, but it holds!  And it’s not permanent.

  • And decorating it! (I used ornaments we already had, so this part was like shopping within my own Christmas collection.)

I decided to hang our Advent calendar on the pantry door, just around the corner from a small table with our mini Advent tree (I bought the tree a couple of years ago on a post-Christmas super sale).

I finished this in about an hour on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and its been hanging in our kitchen ever since.  Ike was thrilled with the new addition (lately, every time he wakes up from a nap there is a new Christmas sight to see in our house) and has been carefully practicing the word “ormanent.”

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you know that we added our first ornament on Saturday (December 1) and we look forward to doing the same each night until Christmas.  Ike is definitely too young to understand the concept, but he likes the responsibility of hanging the ornament on the tree.  Each night he asks if he can do “more ormanents.”

I’m particularly excited to add this new tradition to our mix and look forward to continuing it each year.  How about you?  Do you use an Advent calendar?  Have you made one?  What other traditions are you starting?

Linking up to…




  1. Heather says:

    That is so amazingly cute! I am not going to lie — I bought a fabric Advent calendar this year with little velcro items that can be added to the nativity scene. I love it. But let’s face it, I am nowhere near as crafty as you are!

  2. Jenny Sue says:

    This is such a fun idea! I was going to do an activity based one – where there is a holiday activity to do each day but I am already behind… so we’ll see. I also like the Santa’s beard idea- where you add a cotton ball each day until his beard is full- maybe next year… thankfully my little ones aren’t old enough to remember not having an advent calendar yet. I might adopt your idea though- pretty simple yet fun!

  3. I love this so much. Such a fun tradition. And I crisply have an agent that I think I could Cise in a similar way. It has hooks for each day and I usually just move a bell along. But the ornament idea is so much better.

    Also, this so much prettier than most advents.

  4. That’s such a great idea! I have way too many ornaments so I like the idea of using ones that we already have. I started officially using the bucket-style calendar that I made last year in hopes that D would be better behaved if he thought that Santa’s Helper was leaving prizes for him (it’s not working yet…).

  5. Shannon says:

    This looks great! Your ornaments are lovely and the wooden push pins are the cherry on top! Saw your post on the Christmas Cheer link up and figured I’d stop on by! So glad I did, love your blog and excited to follow along!! :)

    Fabulously Vintage

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