I love the tradition of the advent calendar. When I was little we had one that sat on the piano and every day during December we would open a little door on it, which revealed a part of the Christmas story. I’ve been wanting to create an advent calendar for our kids but didn’t want to give them candy every day, or even the little gifts every day (Christmas is enough!). So I created this Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar with free printables to share with you. The cards and the envelopes are free to download and print, and we came up with a fun way to display them. But if all that’s too much, just tape them to the wall with some washi tape and they’ll be just as good.
We added a few extra cards with various acts of kindness, so you can pick the ones that work for your family. I’m so excited to share this with my littles, and teach them about the spirit of Christmas a little every day. The acts of kindness we brainstormed range from simple things like “Smile and say hello to someone,” to more specific, teachable things like “Volunteer” or “Donate gently used toys.” I’m excited to see how it shapes our holidays.
- printable Advent calendar cards and envelopes
- printer and computer
- white cardstock
- scissors and paper trimmer (optional)
- scoring tool (or the back side of a butter knife blade)
- double-stick tape or glue stick
- black number stickers
- 12″ gold macrame ring
- 24 clothespins
- decorative holiday pick or fresh greenery for decor (we used this felt mistletoe)
Make Time: 3 Hours
Step 1: Download and print our advent cards and envelopes on white cardstock. You’ll need to print 12 copies of the envelope page so that you have 24 envelopes total. (Note: we printed at 100%. Be sure that if you resize one file when printing, you resize the other accordingly. The cards are sized to fit within these envelopes when the pages are printed at the same ratio.)
Step 2: Use a paper cutter (or scissors) to cut out the cards. There is a faint gray line on the border for cutting.
Step 3: Cut along the outline of all of the envelopes. Do not cut the inner lines — these are for scoring and folding.
Step 4: Score along all four inner lines of each envelope.
Step 5: Fold your envelopes. We secured ours with double-stick tape but glue sticks will work also. Start by folding the two rectangular sides in and affixing them to each other. Then fold up the bottom round flap and either tape or glue shut. Leave the top flap open.
Step 6: Stuff your envelopes with your chosen Acts of Kindness cards. Place number stickers on the front of the envelopes, numbering them 1-24. (Note: We had an assortment of black number stickers on hand in all different styles, so I mixed them to get a multi-font effect. You can get a similar effect if you just hunt a few different styles in the sticker aisle of your local craft store.)
Step 7: If you’d like to display your advent cards like we did, follow steps 7-9. (If not, you can use washi tape to tape your envelopes to the wall and call it a day!) Cut a length of yarn and string it through the metal coil on a clothespin. Knot the ends of the yarn together around the gold ring with a double knot. Make sure it’s nice and tight so that you can slip the knot along the ring and it will stay in place, creating space between all of the strands of yarn.
Step 8: Continue in the same manner, cutting your yarn at various lengths according to how long you’d like your clothespins. Attach all 24 to the ring.
Step 9: Clip the envelopes to the clothespins in order. Hang your ring on the wall and add a small piece of decor to the top. The felt mistletoe we had on hand worked perfectly, but some fresh greenery or berries could be really lovely!
I’m so happy with this little project. It’s one of those that comes together just as you imagined it, and maybe even better. And the best part is that it’ll be bringing my family together all holiday season. I hope you print one out and share it with your family too! xoxo