In today’s post: Make a simple (but FUN!) Christmas Advent calendar with supplies from the dollar store.
I used to be in charge of singing time for the kids at church. Every Sunday I’d have half an hour to teach a room full of children songs about Jesus. I loved it, but since they’d already been at church for at least an hour, keeping their attention was a challenge. So we played lots of games, and the absolute FAVORITE game among ALL ages of kids was Punch Out.
I mean, it makes sense. Punch out is fun. First, you get to punch something (and who doesn’t like that?). And next, you get a prize! Win win.
This year I decided to bring the punch out fun to Christmas with an easy DIY Advent Calendar:
Just tuck some little prizes or presents into dollar store cups, cover them up with a napkin and number them, and arrange them on foam core in the shape of a Christmas tree. Each morning in December your child will get to punch out one of the numbered napkins and retrieve what’s inside:
My daughter was really excited that she got to punch out a bunch of numbers for these photos. I’m pretty sure the punching is even more fun than the prize!
I’ve made it easy for you to make your own Punch Out Advent Calendar with some printables: The “Merry Christmas” and star across the top of the calendar is a printable, and I also have a printable template that shows you how to glue the cups on in a Christmas tree shape.
Punch Out Advent Calendar Supplies
To make this Advent Calendar, you will need:
- 20×30 inch foam core board (Dollar Store)
- 24 small paper cups (green and red – Dollar Store)
- green and red paper napkins (Dollar Store)
- rubber bands (Dollar Store)
- hot glue gun
- Printable Merry Christmas signs: Merry and Christmas
- Printable tree template
How to make a Punch Out Advent Calendar
To make a Punch Out Advent Calendar, start by printing out the “Merry Christmas!” sign that goes across the top. It’s two different sheets of paper. Click here for the Merry part. Click here for the Christmas part.
You’ll want to print both of those on plain white paper at full size or 100%. They are mean to overlap, so trim the edge of the “Merry” paper right at the middle of the star. Then overlap the pages and glue them down at the top of a piece of foam core (glue stick or adhesive runner should work great).
Next, fill 24 cups. I used 7 red cups and 17 green cups, but you can use all green if you prefer. You can fill the cups with anything you’d like – small treats, stickers, jingle bells, socks, nail polish, etc., – anything that will fit in the cups. Just AVOID using too many heavy things or the advent calendar won’t want to stand up against a wall – it will tend to fall forward.
Next, cut a couple napkins into a rough circle (you’re really just cutting the corners off, no need to make a precise circle). The napkins are 4 ply, so you’ll need 5 green napkins and 2 red ones.
NOTE: You can use tissue paper instead of napkins if you like. I just like that the napkins are easy to find right by the cups at the dollar store in the exact same colors.
Print out the Christmas Tree template (or just refer to it here in the blog post). This will help you know what color to make each number.
Then cover each cup with a numbered napkin and use a rubber band to hold the napkin on:
Time to start building your tree! Grab cup 24 and hot glue it to the foam core board right underneath the star.
Continue to glue on the numbered cups, referring to the template. To make sure they all fit on the foam core they need to be fairly closely spaced.
Punch Out Advent Calendar FAQs
Q: Can I glue all the cups onto the foam core board first and then fill them?
A: Yes, you could. However, the cups are close enough together that’s it’s pretty difficult to rubber band the napkins on after they are all glued to the foam core. Not impossible, just difficult.
Q: Can I wait until after the cups are glued on the foam core to add the numbers?
A: Sure. It’s a *little* bit hard to write tidy looking numbers on the napkins after they are rubber banded onto cups, so I wrote the numbers first. But if you aren’t worried about how it looks (and you know your kids won’t be!), then go ahead and add numbers later.
Q: Why are some cups green and some cups red?
A: Just to make it look cute. You can definitely skip the red cups/napkins and make everything green to simplify the process.