The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

Counting Down to Christmas

Ever since he saw the first decorations for Christmas, back in October, my 5 year old has been asking, ‘How many days until Christmas?’  Now, with Thanksgiving over, and the Christmas push in full gear he is asking even more often.  Time is such a hard concept to explain to a child that is wrapped up in the excitement of a coming holiday.  Usually, we do a traditional advent calendar to countdown the days, but this year I opted for something different.

For the month of November we had ‘The Thankful Tree’.  With hopes of recycling those branches into our Christmas decor I came up with a new idea for our Advent calendar, an Advent Tree.

If you’d like to make one of your own, here’s what you’ll need…

advent tree

Small-medium branches, spray painted white (painting optional)

Base for the branches–I used a large Mason jar, but a vase would work as well

24 cardstock tags

24 festive stickers

string or ribbon to tie tags to branches

Lightly spray the branches with white to give them a more seasonal feel.

On one side of the tag write the date, on the other side write an activity, scripture verse or conversation starter related to Christmas.

Tie the string/ribbon onto the tags and hang them on your branches.

Each day, take a tag off, read it and follow whatever the directions may be.

advent tree

This came together easily in an afternoon and I even enlisted my 5 year old to put on stickers and write a few dates on the tags. At first, it was a little overwhelming to come up with 24 activities, but after getting started, ideas just kept coming.

Here are a few ideas for your tags…

Christmas scripture

Walking the neighborhood to look at holiday lights

Making hot cocoa and reading your favorite Christmas story

Making salt or cinnamon dough ornaments

Writing/making a Christmas card to send to someone special

Taking a bag of food to the local food bank

Doing a craft together

Making a Christmas playlist

Playing ‘I Spy’ for signs of the holidays when on a road trip

Lighting the candles for each new week of Advent

Choosing a favorite Holiday cookie/treat to make

advent tree

How do you countdown to the holidays?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

About Alison


Alison Bickel lives in the heart of the Midwest where, along with her husband, they raise their three boys. Whether it’s in the garden, the kitchen or tagging along on her boys’ latest adventure she looks for the simple beauty in everyday from behind her lens. The photography bug bit her in sixth grade, upon getting her first camera, a Kodak Disk. She has been chasing light and subjects ever since. On her blog, ‘This Homemade Life,’ Alison shares tales of mothering, her passion for vegetarian cooking and obsession with farmer’s markets.

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  • Allison Waken

    I love this and great ideas too!

  • http://www.staceywoodsphoto.com Stacey Woods

    Absolutely love it, Alison!

  • Christi Harrison

    love it! i am making one this year for the first time and love your ideas! thanks for sharing!

  • http://hannahmayophotography.com/blog Hannah

    I really love this idea! I want to do something like this once my kids are old enough to understand it a bit.