DIY Envelope Advent Calendar

Holy cats, who can believe that December is just days away?!?! Every year it just kind of sneaks up on me. This year I wanted to update our Advent Calendar. We’ve been using the wooden trees calendar for years, and while I still love it, I just felt ready for something different. I’m always super inspired by all the calendars Caitlin seems to have endless ideas for – check out all the past ones here. I wanted something that was simple, easy to change up the activities in and didn’t take up a lot of space.

This minimal envelope advent calendar is simple and easy to make and doesn’t take up a lot of space since it hangs on the wall. I hung envelopes from string and made printable advent activity cards to go inside the envelopes, which you can find the printable for down below. I added a bit of eucalyptus and a small dried orange garland to the dowel to make it a little more festive (and that helps cover up the strings a bit too!). Below you can find the steps for how to make your own minimal envelope advent calendar, as well as some advent activity ideas for inspiration!

wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and numbered envelopes
wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and envelopes with boy holding envelope
wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and numbered envelopes
minimal envelope advent calendar wall hanging by little christmas tree and couch
numbered envelopes and cards with dried orange garland on table

We’ve been doing some sort of advent calendar with the boys since they were tiny tots. I like to do simple activities, not gifts, with ours. I do however include a “treat” as one of the options, and I buy small Christmas candies they can choose. I save that for the days that I feel like an activity won’t work in our schedule. The boys take turns opening an envelope each day, and are actually disappointed if it’s the treat, which I think is really cute. Glad they love doing things better than candy! 😊 Below are some of the ideas we enjoy, if you’re needing inspiration for your advent calendar activities. We actually don’t do the 25th, since Christmas day is exciting enough, but there is a day 25 in the printable. I also usually wait to pick the activity until the night before because I’m always that last minute 🤦🏻‍♀️ and like to pick one that will work best with what’s going on the next day.

  • decorate house for Christmas
  • get Christmas tree and decorate it
  • build a snowman 
  • hot chocolate & popcorn night
  • make homemade Christmas cards
  • make sugar cookies and decorate them
  • go to live nativity
  • eat peppermint ice cream by the Christmas tree
  • read a Christmas book
  • make paper snowflakes 
  • camp out by the Christmas tree
  • eat dinner by candle light
  • buy gifts/groceries for a family in need
  • make toasted marshmallow milkshakes
  • go for a winter walk
  • go for a drive and look at Christmas lights
  • make hot chocolate from scratch
  • snowman pancakes for dinner
  • go sledding
  • make gingerbread houses
  • make Christmas goodies to give away
  • watch a Christmas movie
  • family game night
  • read the Christmas Story together (Luke 2:1-20)
  • set out cookies for Santa
number envelopes with string going through hole in envelope


  • 1/2-inch square dowel (I cut mine to 18-inches long)
  • string
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • small envelopes
  • number stamps or number stickers
  • advent activity cards – download printable here


Cut dowel to size if needed. Attach string to each end of the dowel, making it the length you want for hanging.

Number each envelope with stickers or stamps.

Punch hole in the flap of the envelope, I did mine this way so you wouldn’t see the hole and string going through from the front, and you can easily open the envelopes and slide the cards in and out.

Loop string through each hole and tie string around dowel. I did mine in varying lengths, and found it easiest to do while the dowel was hanging on the wall so you could see about how long you want each strand to be.

Add filled out advent activity cards (or if you’re last minute like me, you can add them in at any point).

If desired add greenery & orange garland to dowel (I tied mine on with the same string I used everywhere else).

wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and numbered envelopes
wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and numbered envelopes
wall hanging with eucalyptus, dried oranges and numbered envelopes over a table with christmas decor

– Manda

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