Thursday, October 29, 2015

Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner. I wanted to share a project with you that I made to donate to Close to my Heart’s annual Operation Smile auction at this year’s Convention. Operation Smile is an incredible organization that provides surgeries to children across the world who have a cleft lip or palate. I was thrilled that my artwork sold for over $400 which is almost enough to pay for two surgeries!!! Yay! Thank you to everyone who bid on it! I am overjoyed that two children will receive the surgery that they desperately need because of your generosity!

The project that I made is a large 24" x 36" Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar. I used the White Pines Picture My Life Cards and some  4" x 6" Flip Flaps to create this simple, but fun project. I bought a 24" x 36" frame from Michaels. (They had a great frame sale and I got the frame for only $14.) I used a large black display board as the background and adhered (25) 4" x 6" Flip Flaps to the board leaving a little extra space at the top for the title.

I slipped the 4" x 6" White Pines PML cards into the Flip Flaps and matted the 3" x 4" White Pines PML cards onto a piece of 4" x 6" cardstock so that they would all be the same size. Some of the cardstock backgrounds were stamped and some were embossed using various CTMH embossing folders.

Then I printed the daily activities on some white paper and matted them to more cardstock. I attached one under each Flip Flap with (4) Hook & Loop Dots so that they could easily be removed and switched with different activities. This isn’t the best photo but if you click on it to make it larger, you can see how I used the Hook & Loop Dots on the back of the cards.

I cut the title with my Cricut machine using the font and the word “Christmas” from the Artbooking Cricut cartridge. I also created some poinsettia flowers using the Artiste Cricut cartridge and added some Gold Bling Gems in the center of the flowers.

I have had a few people ask me about the different activities that were under the flaps. I will share them below. I searched the internet to get some of the ideas and I created the others on my own. They are all meant to be service-type activities that you can do with your family to bless others.

Click here to download the pdf file I created for my calendar. I also listed the activities below:

Create a Thank You Basket
At the beginning of Advent, fill a basket with small gifts and supplies to write thank you notes and every time you have an opportunity to interface with someone who does you a service – your mail carrier, waitress, cashier, etc., grab a little gift or write them a thank you note to honor their service and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Make Cards for Soldiers
Make and send holiday cards for soldiers overseas. Operation Christmas Cards will accept cards and letters from September 1st – December 5th, 2015.
Cards can be mailed to:
Operation Christmas Cards
867 Grafton St #10 #2
Worcester, MA 01604

Make a Giving List
Rather than write a list of gifts you’d like to receive, write out a list of gifts you’d like to give to someone else this year. 

Make Donation Bags
Fill gallon sized baggies with items to give to those who ask for handouts. Put one in the car so that you have it ready when you find someone
in need.

Make Thank You Cards
Design and create the thank you cards you’ll write as soon as Christmas Day is over OR to have on hand for birthdays and other times a heartfelt “thank you” is needed.

Choose a Toy to Donate
Go through your toys and books and choose at least one that is still in good condition that you would like to donate to someone who is less fortunate than you.

Make Cookies for a Neighbor
Bake a batch of cookies and bring them to a neighbor that you have not met before or one you may not know very well.

Donate Blankets
Go through your old blankets and choose some to donate to a local shelter or give one to a homeless person that you see who might be cold.

Trash Walk
Walk through your neighborhood or a local park and pick up all of the trash that you see. Don’t forget to bring a trash bag with you.

Make Grateful Jars
Make a “Grateful Jar” for each member of your family. Whenever you think of something about that person that you are grateful for, write it down and put it in their jar. On Christmas Eve, give each person their jar.

Donate to a Local Food Bank
Choose 2 or 3 non-perishable food items to donate to a local food bank.

Mail a Card
Mail a card to a friend or relative that you have not seen for a while.

Draw a Picture
Draw a picture(s) for someone at a local nursing home. Deliver the picture(s) and spend some time getting to know the person you gave it to.

Go Christmas Caroling
Go door to door in your neighborhood and sing Christmas carols to each of your neighbors.
Ask them if they would like to join you to sing
at the next house.

Be a Secret Santa
Make or purchase a gift for a child or family in need. Wrap the gift and leave it on their doorstep with a note letting them know that they are loved.

Make a Prayer List
Make a list of people that you know could use some prayers. Send them a note letting them know that you are praying for them. (Don’t forget to pray for them.)

Make and Deliver Water Bottle Socks
Stuff new, warm socks with water bottles and granola bars to give to homeless men and women you pass on street corners.

Hot Chocolate Stand for Charity
Host a hot chocolate or cider stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choosing.

Make “Thankful” Ornaments
Have each person in your family make an ornament for your tree. On the back of each ornament, write one thing for which you are thankful. Hang them on your tree as a reminder of your family’s blessings.

Donate used DVDs and Books
Donate your family’s gently used books and DVDs to a local children’s hospital.

Donate to Animal Shelter
Collect used towels and pet toys for the local animal shelter.

Bless a Family Member
Have each family member do something nice for another family member. It could be as simple as making their bed or doing one of their chores or saving the last cookie or piece of pie for them.

Random Acts of Kindness
Spend the day doing Random Acts of Kindness. For example, leave change at a vending machine with a note that says: “Please Enjoy This Random Act of Kindness. Happy Holidays!” or put some candy canes in a baggie tied with a bow and a note and leave it in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

Decorate a Neighbor’s House
Make some festive decorations and decorate a neighbor’s house or yard for
the holidays.

Open Grateful Jars
Open the “grateful jars” that you made on day 5 and have everyone go around and read the notes that are in their jar.

Bless a Family Member
Have each family member do something nice for another family member. It could be
as simple as making their bed or doing one of their chores or saving the last cookie or piece of pie for them.

Decorate a Neighbor’s House
Make some festive decorations and decorate a neighbor’s house or yard for
the holidays.

Celebrate the Birth of Jesus
Celebrate the birth of Jesus today with family and friends.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will
be on his shoulders. And
he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6


  1. Wow, Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing all the details for this ingenious creation! I love it so much! Hugs!

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment. I'm so glad you like it Melissa. *Ü*

  2. Smiling at the Cuteness - Loving the Kindness - and Appreciating You.

  3. This is a beautiful project - and the ideas for each day are so meaningful. I will definitely be sharing this with my ladies - they will LOVE this, as I do. Another Lisa Stenz masterpiece :)

    1. Thanks Alyson! You always know how to make my day! xoxo