Thursday, November 19, 2009

Paper Christmas Tree Advent Calendar

We have three (at least) different advent calendars in
our house - two wooden ones with little nativity characters
to complete a scene, and one that is usually made of
paper each year. Last year we made a simple paper chain,
just to give Emily an idea of the time left before Christmas.

This year, with both Emily and Jenna being able (and
very interested) to craft, we made some paper cone trees.

The prep work was very simple: I cut out twenty-four quadrants
(with a little "seam allowance" on one straight edge for gluing)
from construction paper. The radius was roughly 4.5" - I cut
a semi-circle with the shorter edge of the paper as its diameter.

Then we got out the usual suspects: craft glue, foam
stickers, regular stickers, markers, stampers, adhesive
gems...... and let the girls decorate their quadrants.

When they were done, I glued the straight edges together
to form a cone, and we stuck stars on the top of their trees.

Here are some of the variations -

Foam stickers:

Foam stickers and gingerbread fairy tree-toppers:


Jenna did these. I continue to be amazed at her careful,
deliberate attention to detail and great need to cover
every single square millimetre with stickers.

Markers and stampers. Emily did all these except the
rightmost tree, which was done by Jenna before
she discovered her calling in jewels.

Other miscellaneous trimmings - chenille candy canes,
beads and stickers. Had we had these in the house,
I would also have used small uncooked pasta
and tiny pompoms.

This is still early for the advent season, but after Thanksgiving,
these little trees will be filled with small items and glued upright
onto a board and fake snow stuck on to create a snowscape.
We also plan to add more things to the snowscape over the
next weeks - styrofoam snowmen (will post tutorial when
we are finally there!), our
gingerbread houses and whatever
else we can think of. We'll number the trees 1-24 and have
the girls pop one open each day till Christmas Day.

Some of the items the girls might find under their little trees:


Chocolate coins
Other chocolate shapes
Clues to start a treasure hunt
Conversation starters
Verses from the Bible
Game instructions
Treat tickets

What other small items could we put under our
little cone trees? We'd love to hear your ideas!

Edited to add:
Forgot to mention that we are also making a bigger
cardboard version of these, that the girls will paint and
decorate. We'll mount them on circles a little bigger
than the base of the trees and add a loop handle at the
top. These will be gift boxes for Emily's teachers for
Christmas, and we'll fill them with treats and a baby
Jesus softie thing that Emily will draw on fabric.
She knows nothing of this yet, of course! I love
(successfully) keeping secrets from the kids! Will
post pictures when we get round to doing it.

Thank you for all the ideas already pouring in, folks!
There are so many good ones!


  1. These are SO cute! =) I'm trying to come up with an Activity Advent Calendar for B with one activity a day. I'm trying to figure out where to display these little slips of paper and these trees would be perfect.

  2. What a fun idea--I've never seen one like this--looks easy and fun! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Super duper cute. What a great idea! I think I might try this with my girls too.

    I love your crafts (and craftmanship in your sewing projects).

  4. we are fans of those little animal figurines you can buy at Michael's. the "babies" are $1.99. they are cute, small and we use them as educational for my 18month old.

  5. Great idea. I can see my girls enjoying this. I will see what new decorations I can find at the dollar store that I can add.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. These will be so nice set up with the gingerbread houses. Cute! My daughter is too young for an advent calendar yet but here are some ideas for inside (I love thinking up stuff like this): barrettes, bubble stuff, packet of flower seeds, whistle, harmonica, candles, little tape measure, bell, story- dice, silly putty, finger puppet, paper umbrellas, kaleidoscope, magnifying glass, rubber stamps... fun!

  7. Ideas to go inside them...
    -Dinner, movie and popcorn, my kids love this night on there advent calendar.
    -PJ, Coco and winter drive to see the lights, another favorite.
    -Make reindeer food, oatmeal and glitter, and sprinkled Christmas Eve in front yard.
    -This one takes time, save your Christmas cards (don't open when the arrive) and let the girls open them all on 1 night and hang them up. My kids loved this when they were younger.

    These items have been past gifts and yearly gifts, even my teen loves to get them still...but they may be a little big for the cone.
    -Chritmas pillowcases
    -Christmas Eve matching PJ's, since you have girls nightgrowns (always homemade)
    -Christmas aprons
    -fun slippers
    -elf, santa, etc hat
    -new mittens or gloves
    -new Christmas themed movie, this year is Santa Clause 3.
    -Christmas coloring book

    That is all I can think of right now. Enjoy the season!

  8. These are fabulous. We are definitely making some as decorations, although they do make a beautiful advent calendar (but we already have one).

  9. Whoa... those are gorgeous! I just love these colors. I love a bright Christmas. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

  10. These look great, I plan to make some with my kids!

  11. Wondering if you would want to add this to my Advent Roundup at

    I love these trees.

  12. These are super cute!! Love them!

  13. We made these - they look very cute. Here's the link to post.

    Thanks for the great idea.

  14. I am planning on doing this with my toddler. She has began getting quite crafty and I'd love for her to make trees for all her Grandparents!

  15. Hi,
    I love this idea. I am having some trouble figuring out how to make the quadrant. Can you give me step by step instructions. I appreciate your help.Thank you. Meg


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