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Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

November 29, 2010

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.

advent calendar tutorial

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?

making trees

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.

finished tree

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.

advent calendar

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.

137 Comments leave one →
  1. sewshabby permalink
    November 29, 2010 8:36 am

    Love this idea…thanks for sharing!

  2. November 29, 2010 9:04 am


    Your crafty never ceases to amaze me. Those are adorable! Love it.

    xo -El

  3. Elena permalink
    November 29, 2010 9:18 am

    This is such a darling project! I can’t wait to start my own. I was going to get busy on this project right away, but the links to the templates don’t seem to be working 😦

  4. November 29, 2010 9:28 am

    this is SO cute!!! 🙂 ♥

    You’re making me think I should have scrapbook paper in my life… but seriously, how can I afford more than 1 hobby!?! 😉

  5. November 29, 2010 12:08 pm

    This is too cute and too much fun! Man, hope by the time my kids are older that I can be half as cool as you or else I’ll have to stop talking to you so they don’t hate me. 🙂

  6. November 29, 2010 1:47 pm

    This little advent forest is fantastically fantastical! I love it! I will never make one – my hands just can’t handle that type of work, but honestly, coolest advent idea I’ve seen in years! Please share some photos of Creamie ripping them open!

  7. November 29, 2010 1:57 pm

    This totally makes me want to make an advent calendar? Is it wrong if it’s for myself?

  8. November 29, 2010 7:43 pm

    I love this idea! You are so crafty and creative. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the tutorials include.

  9. November 30, 2010 6:56 am

    This is so charming!! I have been promising my captain spectacular an advent calendar! I will strap on my ambition and see hoe many i can come up with. Benjamin will definately want numbers which i can put on the top stars and will be pleased with popcorn, tiny ornaments etc. so we can escape the candy thing which gets to be a bit much since, as a 5 year old, he gets plenty of treats. Thanks!

  10. December 1, 2010 8:28 am

    I love this! I hope I have the stuff on hand to make this! Maybe tonight when my kids are asleep!

  11. December 1, 2010 11:34 am

    I tried downloading the templates and it didn’t work…any suggestions?

  12. Nicole permalink
    December 1, 2010 4:55 pm

    I love this! So simple and elegant. I also could not get the templates but would love them if you have time to send them.

  13. Jessie Your Neighbor permalink
    December 1, 2010 9:40 pm

    As if it were a new thing, I’m feeling very inspired by you and have to make a comment to let you know it. You are totally inspiring.

    And irritatingly brilliant. 🙂

  14. December 2, 2010 1:18 pm

    I loved this tute. Thanks so much for posting it. I made mine last night. You can check out my version here…..

    Yours are much cuter but I just worked with stuff I had around the house. Thanks again for posting such cuteness!

  15. December 7, 2010 9:08 pm

    i can’t get over all the fun/amazing/gorgeous/awesome things you’ve been posting! this is definitely one of my favs! once again – i’m going to have to do this next year!

  16. Jenny permalink
    December 16, 2010 10:34 am

    I cannot download the small, medium or large templates for the trees. Can you email them to me?

  17. November 15, 2011 6:44 pm

    LOVE this!! I’m including your adorable little advent trees in a Friday Favorites – Advent Countdowns post on my blog. Thanks for the inspiration : )
    Jaimee @

  18. November 17, 2011 7:30 pm

    These are the sweetest things! I already have my advent calendar so I am going to make these into place cards for our Christmas table. I will make a paper star on the top of each one with the guests name. Not to sure what I’ll put inside though….

  19. Melissa permalink
    November 26, 2011 10:56 am

    Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  20. November 26, 2011 8:29 pm

    I love this idea! I might make the trees just for display, and not actually hide goodies in them for my kiddos…. too much pressure to buy 25 days worth of treats for 6 kids! 🙂 I plan to feature a picture and a link to this post tomorrow over at!

  21. KimberlyRose permalink
    November 30, 2011 7:46 pm

    I love this idea! I wish I’d seen it a little earlier so I’d have been able to make it this year–it’s definitely going on the list of things to make next year!

  22. Wildcat - Erika permalink
    December 3, 2011 7:00 am

    I think you have such great creative ideas! I will be blessing our friends and family with some hand made treats here in South Africa. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Alecia permalink
    November 2, 2012 9:57 pm

    OMGoodness – I am so excited!! I’ve been looking for weeks trying to figure out what I was going to do this year for Advent and this is it!! I can’t wait to make these in my daughter’s favorite color – PINK – to sit around her pink tree!!! Thank you ever so much!!!

    • November 7, 2012 12:38 pm

      Thanks for this tutorial. I haven’t started yet but you gave me a solid base to start. Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Amy W. permalink
    November 12, 2012 12:58 pm

    I really love this. Thank you.

  25. Betty permalink
    November 14, 2012 11:55 am

    This is absolutely beautiful and classy! Thank you for sharing!

  26. vixenmade permalink
    November 14, 2012 2:08 pm

    I LOVE these!! Cute!! I just had to share them on my blog here:

  27. Cathie permalink
    November 26, 2012 1:53 pm

    the most wonderful advent calendar ever!

  28. December 3, 2012 8:03 pm

    I thought I’d seen every advent calendar out there, but apparently not. Your trees are adorable! Thanks for giving me a reason to make another advent calendar!

  29. November 22, 2013 3:50 am

    Hi! thank you for your FANTASTIC Tutorial! I cited it here:

    Hope hear from you soon!

    Besos, Baci, Kisses,

  30. Jennifer permalink
    November 23, 2013 6:56 am

    Hi! I’m tying to print the templates, but the pages are coming out blank. I can see them on my screen, but nothing is being printed. I tried printing something different and the printer is working fine. Do you have any helpful advice? 🙂

    Thank you for such a beautiful way to celebrate Advent. I went out last night to buy cute Christmas paper, and I hope I can get it to work!

  31. Jenny permalink
    November 24, 2013 9:49 am

    As others have said above, the links don’t seem to work. I am able to open them but when I try to print them only a blank page comes out:( Would like to do these with my kiddos soon, any way to get the templates?

    • November 24, 2013 12:19 pm

      I just wanted to mention that after having tried printing this all different ways with no luck, I clicked the option to ‘print in grayscale’ and it worked perfectly. I hope that will work for others as well!

  32. November 29, 2013 3:26 am

    I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic.
    I must spend some time learning more or working out more.
    Thank you for wonderful information I was in search of this information for my mission.

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