Countdown to Christmas

With this Christmas calendar, you and your loved ones can enjoy the daily surprises under each door. Melissa LeBon, of Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, designed this clever house-shaped Advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas.

Level: Moderately easy

Time involved: Two to three hours


  • 12 — 18 inch foam sheets: one green, one brown, one red, two white
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting board
  • Glue gun
  • Bag of foam letters (These can be found in craft stores.)
  • Old Christmas cards
  • Bag of foam numbers (These can be found in craft stores.)
  1. Using scissors, cut two pieces of white foam sheet 13 x 11 inches. Cut two pieces of brown foam sheet 12 x 7 inches. Cut the sides of the brown foam sheet on an angle to resemble a roof and make two chimneys on top as shown. Glue the brown roofs onto the top edges of the white foam sheets to form two houses.

  2. Cut a rectangle out of the red foam sheet that is 3 x 5 inches to make the front door. Glue the door onto the white foam house. Place the house on a cutting board and cut around the top, bottom, and right edges of the door using an Exacto knife to make a door that opens. Make a 2-inch wreath out of the green foam sheet and glue it to the door. Cut a small red ribbon out of red foam sheet and glue it to the wreath as shown.

  3. Make hedges out of the green foam sheet and glue them to the bottom of the house. If desired, decorate the bottom of the house with scenes cut from Christmas cards.

  4. Form the words “Christmas Countdown” out of the foam letters and glue them to the top of the roof.

  5. Cut 10 brown boxes (doors), approximately 1 1/2 inches square, out of the brown foam sheet. You can mix up the sizes and make different shapes if desired. Glue these doors onto the roof of the house form containing the front door. Place the house on a cutting board and cut around the top, bottom, and right side of the boxes with the Exacto knife to form doors that open.

  6. Cut pictures out of old Christmas cards that fit the size of the doors. Glue the pictures onto the back of the foam sheet so that they are visible when the doors are opened.

  7. Repeat steps 4 and 5, making 13 green foam sheet boxes and placing them on the white section of the house. If desired, you can use a marker to make frames around the boxes, to resemble windows or shutters. Doors can also be placed in the shrubs around the house.

  8. Place the finished house over the second house, lining up the roof and sides. Glue the two pieces together.

  9. Glue the foam numbers 1 through 24 to the outside of the doors. The number 24 should be on the front door. If desired, you could glue small doorknobs to the door by using the dots that result when you punch out the foam numbers.

For added interest, make a production out of opening your calendar each day by gathering the family together and taking turns opening the doors. You might want to enhance this activity by reading a story or singing a song related to the picture behind the opened door.

Designing and cutting out your Christmas calendar.
Designing and cutting out your Christmas calendar.

More on: Crafts for Kids

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Holiday Crafts © 2002 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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