Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
Now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season has officially begun. And today I am kicking off my Handmade Christmas series with 12 days of my own tutorials for gifts and decor as well as Christmasy ideas and recipes. One of my goals for this year was to have as close to a handmade Christmas as possible. And I think I’m actually going to make it happen. I wasn’t really planning on making an advent calendar this year, but I got this idea sometime last week and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. So, my first Handmade Christmas project is for an advent calendar made of paper and a few scraps of felt and yarn.
Here are 24 little trees, each filled with treats and surprises for Creamie to open each day from December first through Christmas Eve. I’ve got three free templates for you to print at home,Small, Medium and Large. Click on each link, and the image will open, then just right click and print each file. It’s not a download. (And please don’t link directly to the file, if you want to share this project somewhere that is fine, just link to the actual post, not my pattern.) Each tree template will print on one 8.5×11 piece of paper, and any two trees will fit on a 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Templates printed on cardstock and cut out (or if you have 8.5×11 patterned paper to use then just print right onto the WRONGSIDE of your paper.)
- Cardstock or paper, patterns or solids. I used 12 sheets of 12×12 green scrapbooking paper because I had it on hand. You could also use newspaper, vintage papers, or any scraps of wrapping papers or wallpaper you want to use to make this project your own.
- Tree toppers, I used a combination of homemade pompoms and felt stars.
- Hot glue gun
If you are using 12×12 paper and need to trace the templates, above is a handy diagram of how each combination of sizes will fit on your paper. If you printed the templates onto 8.5×11 paper, then you can just cut them out. I cut out 8 trees in each of the three sizes to give me 24 total. The base piece for each size of tree is the same, so you don’t need to keep those in order. Handy, right?
After you’ve got your pieces cut out, fold down the flap on the tree piece gently. Don’t crease this very tight or your tree will end up a little crooked. Believe me, I tried it. Then run a thin line of hot glue along the flap and shape your tree into a cone. Fold all of the notched flaps around the base in towards the center of the tree. Fill your tree with treats and use a little hot glue and attach a base piece to each tree (I mixed and matched all my paper patterns here). I’ve found that hot glue works much better than anything else. Gluesticks don’t hold tight enough, bottle glue doesn’t dry fast enough. I tried the scrapbooking gluedots/sticky squares as well and they just didn’t hold up very well. But hot glue dries fast and strong. I wish I would have thought of it first.
Then top each filled tree with a pom pom or a star cut out of felt, attached with a little hot glue. (I actually didn’t glue the pompoms on. I stuck them on the end of a toothpick and slipped them in the top of the cone so I can pull them off and use them for another project next year.) Then decorate your trees however you like. I had mostly patterned paper, so I left those as is. But my solid green trees got a little dressing up with a few spare buttons or a yarn garland. Just wrap some yarn around them a few times and glue or tape to the bottom. My snowscape is just a scrap of batting left over from a quilt I made last year, draped over books and crayon boxes for some height variation. The two silver cakeplates I bought at a garage sale years ago.
So lets talk about treats. I actually only filled about 1/3 of these trees with candy. I filled another third with our favorite non-candy snacks (craisins, fruitsnacks, crackers, hot chocolate mix, etc.) and the remaining third I filled with an idea of something to do. A handful of chocolate chips so we can make cookies, a cup of popcorn for Scott to pop, a little note with an idea to go look at Christmas lights, or watch our favorite Christmas movie, some of my favorite verses from the Bible to read together, etc. I also didn’t number any of my trees. (If I was going to I’d probably write them on the circle bases.) I figure Creamie isn’t going to be too respectful of going in order, being one and all, and I’d rather not tell her which she HAS to open each day. Besides, it will be a fun surprise!
Come back tomorrow for one of my very favorite Christmasy things. I used to make them with my mom and sisters growing up and they always remind me of home.