Dancing Rain

My Life Inspired by My Loves

Countdown to Christmas with a Family-friendly Advent Tree

on November 28, 2014

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Looking for a fun use of all those toilet paper and paper tower rolls you have been saving? Use them to make an advent calendar tree with punch-out numbers to help the kids count down to Christmas. Kids will love looking for the daily number and punching it open to see what fun activity waits inside.

How to make this:
1. Cut the toilet paper rolls in half to maximize your supply. Then cut the paper towel rolls to match. Skip this is you have plenty available and want to have larger tubes for your advent tree.

2. Prep your tube wrapping materials. This includes cutting 24 strips of wrapping paper to wrap around the tubes. Cut 24 squares of tissue paper that will be used to cover the tubes. And cut 24 strands of ribbon, long enough to make small knots around the tubes.

3. Gather your numbers. I chose a variety of sticker numbers that I had on hand. Printing small numbers in different font types and colors could also work. You would just need to cut them out and have double-sided tape handy.

4. Prep your advent filling. I used this printable list of kid-friendly activities and folded them up inside each tube. Some days I included two activities, especially on weekends, because there were so many cute and fun ideas. As a variation, you could include candy, a Christmas joke, an act of kindness, a bible verse, or mix and match!

5. Prep your backboard. I cut a cardboard box (diaper box actually) to use as the backboard of my advent tree. I wrapped it using a different paper than I planned to use to wrap the tubes.

6. Assemble. This is obviously the longest step, but once you get into a rhythm it goes quickly. To start, wrap the tubes with the wrapping paper. Then cover one end with the cut tissue paper and tie with the ribbon. Add the number onto the tissue paper.

7. Add your filling (candy, activity, etc.) and secure the tube to the board to make a tree shape. I used white glue and planned out the best tree design to fit my backboard before I started assembly.

8. Repeat for all tubes, making sure to vary the number placement on the board as you build the tree shape. This makes it more fun for the kiddos to find the number each day. I chose to make the trunk and star on top part of the advent calendar, and used different colored tissue paper to create the look of the trunk and star tree-topper.

9. Optional: I made this advent calendar as a gift for my sister and her family. So I planned ahead and got their gifts to include as gifts under the tree. I purchased small gift boxes from a craft store and wrapped them in a contrasting wrapping paper. I made little nametags by cutting tag shapes out of patterns on old Christmas cards I have been saving — DIY gift tags is something I plan to do from now on for all my gifts! Then I taped the gifts to the board so they would be able to pull them off to open on Christmas Day.

10. Optional: I also included instructions for the advent calendar in the form of a wall hanging/gift tag that I affixed on the backboard next to the tree. I again used a fun saying cut from an old Christmas card and wrote the message on the back, making sure to let them know to wait until Christmas to open the gifts under the tree.

I hope my niece and nephew enjoy this advent activity tree. Given that we won’t see each other very much this holiday season, I hope they will think of us each day they do their advent activity. I think I am going to ask them to send me pictures of them doing their activities too!

Happy crafting and have a blessed advent!

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