Countdown to the 25th : Christmas Advent Calendar Ideas

Advent calendars have gained popularity over the past several years. Advent marks the beginning of the Christmas season and in Latin means “arrival” which represents the approach of Christ’s birth. The first known advent’s date back several centuries and had a more religious meaning than some we commonly see today.

As a child one of my fondest memories was our Christmas countdown. I get my creativity and craftiness from my grandmother, “Ma”. She handmade a Christmas Bell countdown that hung on the wall along with our other holiday décor. Normally I saw these made with paper links, but ours had chocolate kisses! Each night we would take a kiss until they were all gone...on Christmas Eve. The excitement I felt as a child stayed with me, and when my son was born I couldn’t wait until he was old enough to partake in the fun!

When I started looking around at different countdown ideas years ago, there were not a whole lot of things I could find online. Now if you go to websites like Pinterest, type in “advent” and you will be overwhelmed by the number of different images you see. Some seem to be for more decorative purposes, while others are for fun. Advent calendars are for all ages and a great way to have a family tradition that will always be included in treasured memories for years to come.

I have 3 different types of advent calendars featured here that I have used over the years with my family. My son loves to count, and counting down the days to Christmas is a good teaching tool for math and reading.

Christmas Gift Countdown

This advent was kind of like one of my son’s gifts. Each day had a special surprise inside. I took two 16 x 20 canvases and painted them. Take 24 clothespins and adhere Christmas scrapbook paper to them. Hot glue them to the canvas. I used 24 mini sacks and added little gifts inside.

Tie them up with baker's twine (I made this myself using kite string and grey markers) the bakers twine was for a little bit of decoration as well as to ensure that he didn’t peep. The numbers were printed on top of digital scrapbook paper that and punched with a circle scalloped 1.5' punch. Some items I included were: coins, gift cards and candy.

Mini Bucket Advent

This advent is fun to make and would go well with rustic themed décor. Years ago I worked in a restaurant that sold deserts in these mini buckets. Most people just threw them away (crazy right?) so I collected them and put them up for a rainy day! I found the old potato chip display at the thrift store for less than a buck. I made chalkboard labels by using a craft punch and cardstock along with chalkboard paint. All the evergreen swag was a yard sale find for a quarter. Inside each bucket I place different activities to do each night until Christmas. A few are a clue as to where a small gift might be hidden. This advent would be great for older children.

Read Your Way to Christmas Day

For younger children this would be a great way to start out your advent tradition. Wrap 24 of your favorite holiday books. Each night have your child unwrap a book each evening before bedtime.

You can even be strategic in the order that you place the books. I designed the numbered labels and they can be downloaded for free in our Southern Holiday Gift Guide that will be available on our website. You can access all our free downloads by visiting

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  1. The download link for the Advent Numbers 7 thru 12 on the Issuu PDF for the Gift Guide is incorrect. It links instead to numbers 13 thru 18. Just thought you should know.

  2. Tyou so much. I will get this corrected!!


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