Growing up, my grandparents would mail us advent calendars from the UK. Customs wouldn’t allow chocolate so we got the simple paper flap ones. My grandparents were limited to what they could send us and it was a tradition, but I was always envious of my friends who got a chocolate each day counting down to Christmas or had a more elaborate one. So I wanted my son to have the most amazing Advent Calendar I could think of!!! I made it last year and at 18 months, he enjoyed sticking the decorations on the tree and playing with them. As planned, I completed the other levels of the calendar for this year, now that he’s old enough to enjoy them. Here it is, start to finish!!!
What you will need:
- A meter of green felt.
- 1 1/2 meters of white felt (I used a heavy felt so it wouldn’t curl up and I want it to last for years!).
- Brown felt for the tree stump.
- White felt for the back of the letter pieces.
- A variety of colours of felt to make ornaments, pouches, number tags, etc.
- Rough Velcro (you can buy this on its own by the metre at Fabricland)…enough for 48 squares.
- Computer, printer, laminating sheets (you can get self laminating sheets at Dollarama if you don’t have access to a laminator).
- 2 wood dowels, 1/2″ in thickness and 3 feet long
- Sewing machine and thread matching the colours of your felt.
- Just over 3ft of twine or rope to hang with.
- Number stencil if you can’t draw numbers free hand.
I started with some heavy, thick white felt for the background. 3ft wide and 49″ long. I made 2 button holes on the top approximately 3 inches from the sides and 1 3/4 inches from the top (make sure they’ve aligned).
After sewing and cutting the button holes I folded the felt over and sewed it so there was a big enough gap to slide a dowel in. I didn’t slide the dowel in until I was finished so I could maneuver the felt in the sewing machine.
I also folded 1 1/2″ of felt at the bottom and sewed it, leaving a gap for a dowel at the bottom to prevent the advent calendar from rolling up.
From there, I drew and cut out a tree from the green felt so I knew how big to make my ornaments to all fit nicely in the Christmas tree. My tree measures approximately 30.5″ tall and 28″ wide.
From there, I did the fun part, I chose and designed my 24 felt decorations for my son to add to the tree each day leading up to Christmas. If you search for “free felt ornament pattern” in Google or Pinterest you will find 100s! Be sure to add a small square of velcro on the back of each ornament before sewing it together.
After making your ornaments, cut out 24 pieces of different coloured felt for your pouches. 4″ tall and 4 1/2″ wide. Lay your tree and pouches on the felt to see where you want to position them and sew the pouches on, obviously leaving the top open and with a bit of give so your child can put the ornaments and cards in and out with ease.
I hand stitched my tree on because I wanted the look of big stitches (that’s true love because I hate hand sewing things!!) but you can easily use your machine to sew the stump and tree on.
Now for the numbers pieces. I used a number stencil so they would all be uniform. I traced all the numbers i needed and cut them out. Then I cut out the pieces of felt, 24 white pieces and a variety of colours. Each piece was 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ tall.
I sewed the numbers on the coloured pieces and velcro squares on the white pieces and then sewed the pieces together.
There is it, the felt part of the Advent Calendar is complete! Now for the next levels.
Scripture and Activity Cards
I wrote my own verses for each sheet with the help of some online examples but and here they are if you would like to print them! advent scripture.
Print your scriptures off and then place paper back in printer so your activities will print on opposite side of paper. Here are the Advent Activities I used that will align with the scripture.
Cut out the squares and laminate each one or place in the self laminating sheets.
Tie the twine around one end of a dowel and slide through the top. Pull the twine through the button holes and ties it to the other end by pulling the dowel out a bit at the other end. Push the other dowel through at the bottom.
Each year, on November 30th, your child can choose where each number goes on the pouches. Match the number on the scripture sheet to each pouch number and place inside. Choose which ornament goes in which pouch (I like the star to go in 24).
Each day after that, your child can search for the correct number pouch and pull out the ornament inside and choose where to place it on the tree. Together you can read the scripture and talk about the true meaning of Christmas and then plan to do the activity on the other side together as a family. I’m am so excited to carry this tradition on with my son this year!
If you are going to make this Ultimate Advent Calendar, make sure you give yourself enough time to make each ornament, depending on how detailed you want them, they can take some time!