Make an Advent Envelope Calendar

[ 3 ] November 24, 2008 |

I love advent calendars because I adore secret treasures hidden in small places and the excitement of counting down the days to a favorite holiday (such as Christmas, birthdays, etc.). Over the years I have filled the little cubbies in our Christmas advent box with an assortment of candy, ornaments, and notes of activities or events happening during the month. However I found last year our schedule was so jam-packed and constantly changing that we did not attend all the events or do all we planned. Moreover, since sweet treats are everywhere during this time of year, having even more in the advent box seemed a bit much.

This year I am taking a simpler approach. Since I am a fan of beautiful and exotic paper and am always looking for a project that involves patterned paper, I am going to make envelopes from origami paper for each day and hang them from a string. If you want to make it even simpler, pre-made envelopes would work just fine. I plan to fill twenty five envelopes with a different word (e.g., snowflake, fancy, candle). Since my boys love stories, I think we can take turns using the “word of the day” in a sentence at breakfast or in a bedtime story–maybe on Christmas our family challenge will be to use all twenty-five words in a story. This way we do not have to remember (or stress if we forget) to make the cookies, eat the chocolate, or build a snowman (especially when there’s no snow on the ground).

Advent Word Envelope

Find more advent calendar ideas on Kidoinfo and learn how to make an embroidered felt one on whip up. I will let you know how mine turns out. You need to have twenty-five interesting words, so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below. See my list of words here.



  • 6-inch origami paper squares (available at any art-supply store or Michaels Craft Stores)
  • Plain paper for word cards (index cards work well)
  • Clothespins (small ones are available at most craft stores)
  • Long ribbon or string
  • Circle stickers

1. Make paper envelopes. (Template)
I use 6-inch origami paper squares. These work well because the paper is pre-cut and available in an assortment of beautiful patterns. You can also choose any colored paper or wrapping paper you have at home or use pre-made colored envelopes and decorate them with stickers. To simplify each envelope, I am not cutting the notches shown on the template.

2. Make word cards. Cut twenty-five sheets of paper to fit inside each envelope. Measure your envelope to determine what size paper you’ll need. My origami envelopes are approximately 4 inches square, so I will cut 3.5-inch squares to fit inside. Write a word on each card (or print from your computer) and place one card inside each envelope. Seal with a sticker (numbered 1 through 25).

3. Display. Hang string on the wall, mantel, or molding, and clip all the envelopes up in order from 1 to 25 (or place envelopes in a box in chronological order).

Category: crafts, holidays, made by hand

Anisa Raoof

about the author ()

Anisa Raoof is the publisher of She combines being a mom with her experience as an artist, designer, psych researcher and former co-director of the Providence Craft Show to create the go-to spot for families in Rhode Island and beyond. She loves using social media to connect parents with family-related businesses and services and promoting ways for parents to engage offline with their kids. Anisa believes in the power of working together and loves to find ways to collaborate with others. An online enthusiast, still likes to unplug often by reading books and magazines, drawing, learning to knit, making pop-up books with her two sons and listening to records with her husband.

Comments (3)

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  1. calendar cricket says:

    the word of the day–brilliant. although my first reaction was–wow, anisa’s kids are much mellower & less grabby than mine (i was imagining them outraged, saying, “the PRIZE is a WORD?!!”) now i realize i need to give them more credit–they would love making up a story–and i still have my little cubby calendar that i can put little candies or quarters (or…what else is a good, small prize? i need to review your past advent posts.) you have such good ideas.

  2. Erin Goodman says:

    Oooo…Anisa! I love your list of words!!! Beautiful!

    I’m heading to a friend’s tomorrow night to make a walnut-chain for Advent (hollowed-out walnut shells filled with tiny treasures like shells, rocks, candy, dried flowers etc.) that hang on a ribbon.

    This is my first time making one (last year we received one as a gift) so I’ll let you know how it goes…


  3. Anisa Raoof Anisa says:

    Thanks Sue for this cool advent calendar idea, using recycled materials (cards, gift wrap, bags etc.):

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