12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes + an Easy Advent Calendar


There’s nothing like checking your phone on Sunday morning only to be greeted with the words “Winter Storm Warning”.  Seriously?  I’m so not ready for this right now!  Let’s hope that it helps to get me motivated to whip my house into a Christmas frenzy.

Speaking of Christmas, mark your calendars for December 1st, when I’ll be kicking off the 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes along with all of these lovely bloggers.  We’re getting an early start this year, in the hopes of inspiring you with fresh ideas for your own home.  And, we’ll be having a big link up party at the end of the tours where you can share your home.

If you want to check out last year’s tours, click here.

Given that I’m kicking off this shindig, that means decorating way earlier than I usually do. I’ll admit, it feels almost sacrilegious, since I think Thanksgiving is being glossed over more and more every year.  But, I’ll take one for the team and promise to relish every last bit of my Thanksgiving dinner, I promise.

One thing it’s not too early to start thinking about is your advent calendar.  My kids remind me every year to make sure its ready, and I’m happy to report that I’m ahead of the curve on this one.  I made it myself, and love how easy and high impact it is – and it’s low budget.

I started with a frame that I had actually spray painted last Christmas, but never used.  It ended up being the perfect size for this project.  I bought a piece of foam core board at Hobby Lobby, along with some of their wrapping paper.  I don’t need wrapping paper, but theirs is the best, and they always have such pretty patterns, so I can’t resist.

I cut the foam core board to fit the frame size, and then wrapped the front like a present.

 From here, I placed it in the frame.

I picked up some tags, mini card sacks, stamps and some festive twine to create the individual pockets for each day of December.  

But really, you could do this any way you wanted.  There are so many creative options here, the possibilities are endless.  Look at the frame as your blank canvas. 🙂

Once I lined everything up, I used some of my scrapbooking adhesive to mount the small paper sacks to the board, and then tucked the tags inside.

How do you write on them?  I used a white paint pen on mine, but they do sell chalkboard tags and you could use a chalkboard pen if you wanted to go that route (and you could reuse the tags for next year).

I have been trying to make our daily activities focused on family time and giving to others.  Some ideas for daily advent activities that we have used in the past include:

  • Play a game together as a family
  • Order pizza and watch your favorite Christmas movie
  • Tape a baggie of quarters to a vending machine
  • Donate a toy to Toys for Tots
  • Be a Secret Santa to someone
There are lots of ideas out there to spur your imagination – this is one that Lisa at Shine Your Light posted a couple of years ago after the Newtown shootings, and I think the ideas are fantastic.
Source: Shine Your Light
I had some Christmas stamps that I purchased last year that came in handy to create something different for December 25th.

Not only does it make for a pretty piece of Christmas decor, but my kids look forward to it every year.

So there you have it.  An advent calendar that you can make in plenty of time to reach that December 1st deadline!  

Just in time for the 12 Days of Christmas Tour of Homes. 🙂

Stay warm!

Linking up:


  • Reply
    Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    November 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    looks awesome! i made my new one yesterday and can't wait to share it! i couldn't find the right size envelopes though, so i improvised. love the frame idea!

  • Reply
    Beth A
    November 18, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Thanks for the idea, I want to do this ASAP! What size frame did you use?

    • Reply
      November 18, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Mine frame is about 19.5"w x 27"h – an odd size – can't even remember where this frame originated. It might have been a Goodwill find. Any frame will do though – there is plenty of wiggle room! 🙂

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