Here's a quick (10 minutes) paper bag, Advent calendar DIY, filled with creative ideas for Christmas activities to do throughout Advent. I've included a list of Advent activities for kids and another one for adults, just in case you're stuck for what to put in your Advent calendar besides candy. Make your homemade Advent calendar pretty with some free printable numbers for Advent calendars from the subscriber library.
A little history
Every year since our boys were small, I've made an advent calendar. At first, I filled it with tiny treats and gifts. The boys relished opening the small gifts each day on the countdown to Christmas.
A chocolate filled Advent Calendar
As the boys grew older, it became more challenging to find twenty-four affordable tiny gifts. I didn't want to fill the calendars with cheap plastic toys that would end up broken and in the bin after a few days. More and more gifts of the chocolaty kind were slipped into the Advent calendar. Our boys didn't mind, they preferred the chocolate treats anyway and to be honest, it was a relief for me too, since I didn't have to spend ages looking for decent tiny gifts.
The easiest Advent Calendar to make
This year, I've created a pretty paper bag, Advent calendar DIY that also speaks to my eco-friendly heart. I have to be honest, it's the quickest and easiest Advent calendar I've ever made. I think it took me all of fifteen minutes to make!
Please pin this idea!
Table of contents
- A little history
- Please pin this idea!
- Eco-friendly Advent Calendar Inspiration
- Make your own advent calendar
- Shop the post
- Advent calendar activities for kids
- Advent calendar activities for Adults
- Frequently asked questions
- Sign up to our Newsletter
- Enjoyed this post? Show your support!
- These posts are good too
Eco-friendly Advent Calendar Inspiration
The idea for this eco-friendly Advent calendar came to me when I found some pretty white, natural and gold, paper bags printed with Christmas motives. As soon as I saw them, I knew they would be perfect for the Advent calendar DIY I had in mind. The paper bags are sturdy enough to be reused year after year.
I'm hanging the paper bags onto a metal triangle that I've covered in brown string and I'm adding some fresh evergreen to the top to decorate. The gifts are simply tied to the triangle with brown string
Make your own advent calendar
Paper bag advent calendar DIY
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- 24 Paper bags (surprise, surprise)
- Paper punch
- Brown string or
- Jute twine
- Metal triangle
- Craft glue
- 24 numbers (from my the printable library)
- Sprigs of fresh evergreen
- Treats or activity vouchers
Shop the post
Step one: To make this Advent calendar DIY, you first need to cover the metal triangle – this part is optional. I preferred to cover my white metal triangle with string for a more rustic look.
To cover the metal triangle, glue the end of a piece of brown string to a corner of the triangle and wrap the string around it until it's completely covered. Glue the end of the brown string to the triangle and place a paper clamp or clothes peg over it whilst it dries.
ALTERNATIVE: Instead of using a metal triangle, you could use a sturdy stick from the garden to hang your Advent calendar bags onto. Tie some string on each side of the branch to make a triangle for hanging.
Step two: cut out the numbers for the Advent calendar. It may be quicker for you to cut these out on a Cricut machine. I used my own printables and cut them out by hand with scissors. It only took me about ten minutes to cut out all the numbers so that was really quick too.
Step three: Fill your paper bags with treats or activity vouchers. If you're stuck for ideas, see the list of Advent calendar activities for kids and adults below.
Step four: Now it's time to add the numbers to the paper bags.
The paper bags for my Advent calendar already had holes punched in the top. If your paper bags don't have holes punched in them, you can use a paper punch to do that. You will need to punch some holes in the number tags too. Thread some string through the holes in the bags and add a number. Don't cut the calendar strings yet – see the tip below.
TIP: I found it easier to attach the bags to the triangle one by one whilst it was hanging up. That way, I could see where I wanted each bag to hang before cutting the string. I held each paper bag up to the calendar to see how low I wanted it to drop. Then, I cut off a little extra string to allow for tying the knot.
Step five: Tie all the paper bags to the bottom of the triangle.
Step six: Finish off your DIY paper bag Advent calendar by tying a few springs of greenery to the top.
Ta-dah! You've just completed an eco-friendly, reusable, refillable, paper bag Advent calendar DIY!
Advent calendar activities for kids
Looking for some Advent calendar ideas that aren't candy? Here's a great list of activities to add to your Advent calendar that will keep the kids occupied during Advent.
Just write each activity onto a card and pop it into your calendar. Use old Christmas cards, Christmas stickers or washi tapes to make the cards look more festive.
- Make salt dough ornaments
- Make Christmas cards
- Dress up warm and go on a winter walk
- Have a Christmas photoshoot
- Make a pinecone bird feeder and hang it in your garden
- Draw Christmas pictures for relatives
- Create an advent wreath
- Make a winter collage
- Bake sugar cookies with an embossed rolling pin
- Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas child
- Make paper stars
- Bake a gingerbread house
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Donate toys to charity
- Cook a meal together from scratch
- Make a hot cocoa bar
- Play a board game with the whole family
- Make a garland from popcorn (Make extra for movie night)
- Watch a Christmas movie together,
- Sew simple tree ornaments using felt (Stars/trees)
- Bake a Christmas cake together (Without the alcohol!)
- Make homemade Christmas cards
- Write a Christmas letter to Grandparents/relatives (Include photos from the photoshoot).
- Help decorate the tree
- Go sledging (if snow)
- Tea time with cake, cocoa, candles and an Advent story (Our favourite)
- Make chocolate dipped Christmas cookies
- Build a snowman
Advent calendar activities for Adults
Making an advent calendar for adults is easy with these fun activities for each day up until Christmas Eve!
- Make mulled wine
- Bake gingerbread
- Create a fresh evergreen wreath
- Drink hot cocoa,
- Donate to charity
- Make air dry clay ornaments
- Choose a tree together
- Make a stovetop potpourri
- Decorate the tree together
- Make a pretty Amaretto bundt cake
- Go on a winter walk
- Pack a shoebox for charity
- Create a cocoa bar
- Make homemade presents - Bath bombs
- Do something crafty
- Make embossed Christmas cookies
- Make a Christmas cocktail
- Enjoy a candlelit dinner
- Make a Christmas crate
- Try a new craft
- Make Christmas candles
- Make eco-friendly gift wrapping paper
- Drink winter tea and put your feet up
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Try a new festive recipe
- Wrap presents together - eco friendly
- Go ice-skating
Frequently asked questions
An advent calendar marks the twenty-four days before Christmas being December 1st to 24th.
Advent is a Christian tradition. Originally an Advent calendar would show a chapter of the Nativity story behind each door.
Open number 1 first. Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Traditionally, you count the days up to Christmas starting with December 1st.
Do you make a calendar for Advent and if you do, what sort of things do you like to put in it?
Can you recommend any Advent calendar activities for kids or adults? Please let me know in the comments so that I can add them to the list.
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Super cute and easy! A win win! Love reading all the history and tidbits as well!
Jayne Westerholt says
Thanks, Jenn! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post!