Our thingamabobby advent calendar tutorial.

Ultimately, I was inspired by so many nifty advent calendars, including this one and this one and this one and this one and more, that I couldn’t pick just one to make with the kids. Hence, our own advent calendar creation.


  • Advent calendar activities list and readings list (see below for printables and details)
  • 2 sheets green construction paper
  • 2 pieces of old newspaper or recycled paper
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Hole punch
  • One sturdy coat hanger
  • One sturdy tree branch at least the length of the bottomside of the hanger
  • Tinsel
  • Old ornaments
  • Colorful pieces of string, yarn, and twine
  • 2 or 3 toilet paper rolls
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Black marker
  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Stapler
  • Pieces of scrap fabric cut into 4 inch circles
  • A basket (to hold works-in-progress as you go)

Each package has two slips of paper for each day. One slip has the holiday reading of the day while the other slip has a special activity for the day. Two slips means each of the “big kids” get a chance to participate in the daily festivities. Make sure to print and cut into strips on your own. I stuffed the advent calendar after the kids went to bed. Many of the stories and poems are available for free online at Best Little Christmas Story.

Advent Calendar Activities List

Advent Calendar Readings List

How to play

Create the base by tying the branch to the coat hanger. They should run parallel horizontally with the branch hanging 4 inches beneath the bottom rod. Simple enough, right?

Distribute crayons and 2 sheets of construction paper amongst munchkins. Tell them to decorate what will soon become little folded Christmas trees. Then cut foldable triangles from the paper (about 5 per sheet) and set them aside in your basket.

Now give them each a sheet of newsprint or recycled paper and encourage them to decorate the pages for the holidays. Cut 5 pairs of matching circles from each sheet and set aside in the basket.

Let little ones cut 27 pieces of different strings or yarns. These will be used to hang the advent parcels. They don’t have to be the same length. Put them in your basket.

Staple one end of the toilet paper rolls shut and pass out crayons for decorating. Then embellish with a little glue and glitter. Let the rolls dry preferably in the basket).

Set your 4 pieces of fabric in the basket. These will become little satchels holding advent strips. You will close them with a piece of string (leaving a long end) and then tie the long end of the string to the hanger or branch.

Once the kids are otherwise occupied, you can add the advent list slips into each packet, staple shut, punch hole, tie string, and do your thing.

Our gnarly advent calendar is hanging in the kitchen.

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