Christmas: Countdown-to-Christmas calendar

  • Cookie cutters
  • Adhesive-backed hook-and-loop dots (such as Velcro)
  • To Make Your Christmas Tree:

    1. Draw a large Christmas tree on a piece of mat board or cardboard.
    2. Cut out with heavy-duty shears or razor.
    3. Use tacky glue or hot glue to cover the front of the tree with green felt.

    Cut a hole near the top and tie a piece of ribbon through it. Use this to hang your tree on a wall or door in the family room or kitchen.

    Making the Ornaments:

    1. Cut out 25 shapes from thin cardboard or poster board to decorate your tree. If you don't like to draw freehand, you can trace cookie cutters. Make them small enough so that 25 will fit on your tree.
    2. You can paint your ornaments or cover each one with bright wrapping paper or construction paper.
    3. Decorate your ornaments with more paint, markers, glue, sequins and glitter.
    4. For preschoolers, you can number each ornament to help them learn to count to 25.
    5. After your ornaments are decorated, place the hook side of a hook-and-loop dot on the back and just stick them to the felt on your tree.

    This year, I collected all of the items that I plan to use to decorate the ornaments and placed them in a box with the ornament shapes. During December, I will get the box out once each day, and my daughter will decorate an ornament for our tree. This is a great activity for her while I get dinner ready. You can be creative making the ornaments to deck this tree. We went simple this time and just made ornaments in the shape of balls, bells and stars. You can use your tree year after year. Reuse your ornaments or create a whole new set each year, using new techniques as your children grow up. I'm looking forward to setting up our little countdown tree almost as much as the big, live one. And my daughter is excited that she gets to do a craft every day.

    Merry Christmas!

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