Make your own advent calendar Christmas tree

Recycle the cardboard tubes from your kitchen towel rolls to make a lovely advent calendar to hide chocolate surprises in

Make this on a rainy afternoon with the kids, and get in the mood for the countdown to Christmas.

You will need:
  • Pencil
  • 10-15 empty cardboard rolls (from the inside of kitchen towel), cut into 25 equal lengths)
  • Scrapbooking paper in two different colours and patterns (recycled gift wrap from last Christmas is ideal)
  • Child-friendly scissors
  • Hole punch
  • String or strong cotton thread
  • Decorative buttons
  • Numbered stickers (or use a permanent marker or number stamp)
  • Glue stick
  • Gift-wrapping paper and/or wallpaper – one green and one brown, cut to the size of the roll segments
  • 25 small plastic sandwich bags
  • 25 chocolates or other small treats
  1. Using the end of one of the rolls, trace 75 circles onto the scrapbooking paper. The cut-outs will cover the back and front ends of the rolls – note that the front ends will be double-sided (which is why you need 75, not 50 circles). Use the two different pieces of coloured paper.
  2. Cut out all the circles.
  3. Use a mixture of the two different paper patterns to create the double-sided covers. (Once the date has passed, you will turn the cover around so there is no number visible.)
  4. Using the hole punch to make small holes near the top of each cover.
  5. Cut the string into 15cm long pieces and fold each piece into equal halves. Thread the string through the hole and pull the ends of the string through to make a knotted loop.
  6. Using the glue stick and buttons, decorate the covers for the roll segments. You can use any other scrapbooking embellishments you want, just be sure to leave space for the numbers.
  7. Add numbers onto each cover until you have 1 to 25.
  8. Stick the strings to the rolls by drawing a line of glue along the side of each roll. Do this for 24 rolls. Remember to pull the string tight as you stick it down.
  9. Stick the wrapping or wallpaper to each roll individually. Wrap it around the roll, sticking the paper firmly in place. For the base of the Christmas tree use a brown paper; the rest of the tree should be covered with green paper.
  10. Using the glue stick, stick the remaining circles to the back of all 25 rolls.
  11. To assemble the Christmas tree, start with the trunk. Place three rolls together and carefully spread a line of glue between each of them to stick them together side by side. Repeat this procedure until you have three rows. Then glue these three rolls on top of each other. Pay careful attention to make sure the numbers are in the right order!
  12. To assemble the green top of the tree: start with a row of five rolls glued together. When this is dry, glue four rolls into the dips created by the first row of five. Repeat this step for each row, decreasing the number of rolls by one until you have one roll at the top of the tree (number 24) – basically creating a pyramid. Add number 25 on the very top glued to number 24.
  13. Glue the trunk and top of the tree together, so that your calendar will have the shape of a Christmas tree. It should now stand up sturdily on its three-roll base.
  14. Divide the chocolate treats into 25 small plastic sandwich bags and slip them into the rolls. Or fill with other goodies, eg: colouring pens, a pack of stickers etc.

TIP: Glue a star shape on top of the paper circle for ‘25’ so you have a star on the top of your tree. Or a fairy, if you prefer!

More Christmas countdown ideas

If you’re all in a creative mood, why not save money and spend some family time together with these other inspiring ideas? From making to baking.