christmas countdown

I can remember as a child getting the advent calendars with a little piece of chocolate hidden within the perforated square of each day in December. Not the easiest way to do an advent calendar with three kids still at home.

What do you mean we have to take turns?

Last year I really wanted to make a fun advent calendar come to fruition,
but other creative deadlines didn’t allow me the luxury.

But this year?

Oh yeah baby!

(whoops . . . i was obviously experiencing a dyslexic moment.
22 + 23 should be switched in the pic. oh well. lol)


Price: $12

This concept is very unique in that it’s just so darned flexible!

So many choices.

The ‘calendar’ is actually comprised of little open boxes,
which are hidden behind the tag shape. So it’s a tag, with a secret behind it.

You can put candy in there, a little note, gum, a Hot Wheels car maybe, Lip Smackers lip gloss . . . anything fun and small . . . or even bigger if you want to make the boxes bigger!

I made mine (and the shapes are sized this way) at 1.75″ wide and 3″ tall and the box is about 1/2″ deep. Of course, in the wonderful land of die cutting, you can always make it bigger.

My plan is to get a 16×20 frame–no glass–and string three rows of wire to hang the boxes from with  clothespins spray painted in red and silver…maybe white….maybe black too. Of course, there are sooooo many ways you can display and/or use them!

Tie them to a garland with string.
Hang them from a string of lights over your mantle.
Use those IKEA hooks.
Skip the box and just use the tags.
Use them in your December Daily . . . or any Christmas page.

The list could go on and on!

I also used a mat silver cardstock that I’ve had for like ever . . . along with shiny silver cardstock.

You can also cut boxes from your own holiday paper. I liked the cardstock method and sticking to red, white, silver and black . . . but it’s all up to you!

Here’s some tips on making it:

Cut 21 white cardstock boxes (7 pieces of cardstock) and 3 red cardstock boxes (1 piece of cardstock)
Print the 8×10 candy cane background found in the PROJECT_Print_Files and use to cut some of the pieces.

Note:  Since first creating the kit, I moved the candy cane backgrounds into the PROJECT_Print_Files directory so that all print files needed for the project will be in one directory. They were formerly in the PNG directory.)

Assembling the BOX.

  • Assemble decoration first on textured/decorated side.
  • Adhere the reinforcement.
  •  Assemble the box by placing adhesive on the very bottom rectangle section, the two side squares, and one side of the back–all on the textured side of the cardstock.
  • Flip it over, and roll up the bottom portion of the box so that the pieces form the ‘tuck in’ part.
  • Fold the side of the box with the adhesive inward first, then fold the outside on top of it.

Adhere the Santa image, ‘making a list’ and ‘one’

Adhere ‘2’. Wrap string around, thread ‘ho ho ho’ and tie in a knot.

Adhere ‘three’ background tag shape. Adhere ornament and add real ornament hook and rhinestones. Adhere ‘believe.’

Adhere candy cane background tag shape. Adhere ‘4’ to red circle and adhere behind ‘Noel’. Adhere ensemble to box.

Adhere a small section of foam between the two slits of gingerbread man cookie cutter. Thread small grey strip through slits and secure to foam. Adhere to box. Adhere ‘five’ on top of that.

Adhere ’06’ and accent with star gem or rhinestone.

Use a pop dot under the wing and adhere to bird. Add ribbon and rhinestone, if desired. Assemble domino. Adhere bird and domino to box, tucking the legs of the bird behind the domino.

Cut notches on the center sides of the ‘8’ card. Wrap string around and adhere to box. Tie a ribbon in a knot, trim ends and attach to box with a glue dot.

Adhere paint strip card to the right side of the box. Adhere ‘9.’ to left side of box.

Adhere definition word strip to left side of box. Adhere tree. Adhere ‘TEN’. Add star gem on top.

Adhere ‘Be Good’ and ’11’ as shown.

Adhere  card to box and secure with staples.

Adhere music to black background and adhere to box. Adhere ‘thirteen’.

Adhere grey tag portion to box. Adhere ‘deck the halls’ to base of grey piece. Adhere ‘CHRIS’ and ’14’ as shown.

Align ‘with boughs of holly’ with the  title on the 14 box. Adhere ‘TMAS’ as shown. Add large star, having the right edge hang over a little. Trim. Adhere ‘fifteen’ title. Add red star gem.

Adhere grey tag piece to box. Adhere snowflake so that a small portion hangs over the edge. Trim.  Wrap string around, thread ‘sixteen’ and tie in a knot.

Adhere Bingo card to box. Tie knot in ribbon, trim ends and adhere to box with a glue dot.

Adhere ’18’. Adhere ‘dear santa’ so that it overlaps the left a little and trim. Secure with staples.

Adhere candy cane portion to top of box. Adhere ‘nineteen’ to base of the candy cane piece. Adhere ‘Joy.’

Adhere ticket, ’20’ and holly in that order.

Adhere grey/white definition piece to box. Adhere ‘twenty one’ as shown.

Place paper clip on stamp. Tie ribbon on top of paper clip. Adhere ensemble to box.

Adhere candy cane background to box. Adhere ’23’. Wrap ribbon around and accent with snowflake charm or jingle bell (which is what I wanted, but opted for the snowflake since I didn’t have a bell available).

Adhere ’24’, ’twas the night’ word strip , and star gem.


Here’s how the kit comes:

The composite cut files are set up similar to the This+That kits and can be found in the PROJECT_Cut Files directory. I have it put together as I created it–in the color scheme I used. But you have total freedom to mix it up if you’d like :) The cut files are shown here in color for reference, but won’t appear that way when you open them.

countdown_cut1_0088 is 7.87″ wide
countdown_cut2_0088 is 7.5″ wide
tag_box_x3_0088 is 8.08″ wide


The composite print file looks like this and can be found in the PROJECT_Print_Files. It comes as an 8×10 file, so there shouldn’t be any issues with a photo developer accidentally changing sizes, if that’s where you’re choosing to print it..

And FYI, I didn’t save all those PNG images individually. I only saved some of the cards, music, and words that I thought might be used as a larger image in other projects.

When I get my ‘just the right’ frame, I will put it all together and share!

2017-02-07T18:28:24+00:00November 18th, 2011|digital kits|42 Comments


  1. rhadonda November 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    AWESOME!!!! I am substitute teaching today and can’t wait to get home and get this started for my little cousins! Gorgeous. Wow to infinity. Thanks!

  2. rhadonda November 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Not to be picky but your 22 and 23 are swapped in the picture! It’s all good!

    • Kerri November 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      BAH HA HA HA!!! Whoops!
      Thanks Rhadonda!

  3. Carrie November 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Totally puts me in the mood for Christmas! Gorgeous work.

  4. Sue November 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Love it!

  5. Ellie A. November 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Ok so I SO totally love your Spinach dip recipe but when I saw this I COULD NOT TELL YOU how loud I squealed! I’ll be using it on my December Daily which I will be finishing up today! YAY… Can’t wait to post it and share w/you THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH.. I get brave and do the Avent boxes for my youngest son’s class we shall see. hmmmm :)

  6. Cari November 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    LOVE it!!!! OMG. If only I weren’t leaving tomorrow for Thanksgiving and could actually put it together!

  7. Beth November 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    OH MY GOSH! These are incredible!! I SOOOO want to make these for my niece and nephew…but I’m afraid once I got them done I would want to keep them for myself!! I guess I could go “visit” them, since my sister-in-law lives right next door!

    As we have all said a million times before…Kerri, you are AMAZING!!

  8. Missy Gener November 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Oh wow! I just love these! I am going to forgo making the boxes and do all the tag fronts to be the numbers for my December Daily!

  9. Meredith Treloar November 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    OH WOW!!! That is amazing … can’t wait for my Cameo to arrive so I can get making but may not get this made for this Christmas!! Might just make it and hang it!! So so stunning!! Thank you!!

  10. Dolly/scrapthat November 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I am doing the DD and I NEED embellies! I LOVE your advent and I would love to do this for DD as well!! VERY COOL KERI!

  11. Mye November 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    You are just AMAZING!! This is just fabulous!!

  12. Ruth G November 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Ho! Ho! Ho! So this is what you had up your red velvet sleeve! Totally wonderful, and it’s a good thing after all the suspense!

    This is just so cool with the printable parts as well as cutting parts! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Connie Ziegler November 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Oh, I love the countdown calendar. It’s perfect!

  14. Karen W November 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Like Cari, I would start working on this if I was heading out of town! I will be thinking about it all week!

    Kerri, I just love this finished result.


  15. Sandra November 19, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Kerry, this is an amazing way to make an advent calendar. I have long been wanting to make advent calendars, but haven’t found such a nice way to make an advent calendar. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  16. lois paulo November 19, 2011 at 5:20 am

    i can’t wait to do this one it is spectacular, thank you kerri another winner!

  17. AmyH November 19, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Wow! Yesterday I just received my Silhouette advent calendar kit in the mail, but after seeing this I may have to do TWO advent calendars this year! (It will make up for all of the years that we didn’t do one!) This is just absolutely gorgeous. I am new to your site/blog and I have to say that I am simply in l.o.v.e. with your products and your beautiful style. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

  18. Sue Alg November 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Wow! Another wonderful project. I’ve been busily making various This and That projects on printer’s trays for family members and now I know I must have this to create for my grandkids.

  19. Michelle Liimatainen November 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

    OMG!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! I am a HUGE collector of advent calendars. I am making one now and you can bet that this will be next on my list!!! YAY!!!!

  20. Kim November 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Thank you for coming up with this awesome advent calendar, I have been looking for one that I liked enough to make and this is it.

  21. Lori Whitlock November 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Absolutely to die for!! Amazing job, Kerri!

  22. Patty Thomas November 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Keri, I can not believe how creative and computer literate you are… at the same time! Wonderful project and so adaptable for pages and cards beyond the advent calendar. Can’t wait to play.

  23. Erika November 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Yet another wonderful kit !! Your talent blows me away. I am going to make this for my 2 Nephews !

    And believe it or not I unzipped this kit without messing up !Maybe there is hope for me yet :-)


  24. Loni Stevens November 20, 2011 at 1:16 am

    SUPER DANG CUTE, MY FRIEND!!!! I am in LOVE with this!

  25. Kerri November 20, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Thanks you guys! I’m excited that you’re excited about it! :)
    It was sure fun to make and see it all come together.

  26. Teddi November 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Can you cut these with the sillhouette ?

    • Kerri November 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      You sure can! There are a few file formats in the kits for the various cutters out there.
      So it’s the STUDIO files you need for Silhouette. :)

  27. Krystyn November 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm This is absolutely the cutest, most fabulous advent calendar project kit-thingee I have EVER seen. I still don’t have my Cameo but I am SO buying this…maybe I’ll be able to make it in time for this year still. THANK YOU!!

  28. Sarah November 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I think I might make one of these this year! I have 2 kids at home, ages 16 and 10 and think I will let them take turns opening a box. Might also teach them to get along a lil more too, I can only hope, lol.

    When I was a teen, “santa” would leave small gifts on the kitchen table each morning for me and my sister. I’ve wanted to do the same for my kids, just never “got around to it”.

    Thank you this might help!

  29. Sarah November 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I just also thought that you could either reuse your tags on the boxes again next year OR put them in your Project Life album OR your December Daily album for next year??? Reuse, Refurbish, Save time and money…

  30. Connie November 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Awesome! Can these be cut with a Cricket???

    • Kerri November 22, 2011 at 10:35 am

      You can use Cricut with the SVG files that are in the kit, however you have to use it with SCAL version 2 or MTC that was dated from earlier this year.
      Provo Craft put the kibosh on those companies making their programs work with Cricut.

      Hope that helps! :)

  31. Carol Hinrichsen November 23, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I´m new to these… Can I print and cut with silhouette?

  32. vera rhuhay November 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    OMG…I LOVE IT!!!!

  33. LaTricia Kelly May 23, 2012 at 7:38 am

    OMG, I love this! Does the last file, the one with the Santa and backgrounds, come with a cut file, or a PNG?

    • Kerri May 23, 2012 at 8:07 am

      Hey LaTricia! The Santa comes in an image form–on a master sheet of all the backgrounds in PNG form. If you look down in this post, you’ll see how it’s all laid out for printing. You’ll print a candy cane background and then use that to run through your Silhouette to get the stamp image to layer the image of the Santa looking into his bag. Does that answer your question? :)

  34. […] that you can use in box or tag form or both! If you want to read all about it, check out this post HERE. And no, I still haven’t bought my frame, wire and clips to hang these cute little boxes. I […]

  35. Lori P. November 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Perfect! Such a great project for my Grandson (6yr’s old) & I to do tomorrow while we are together ALL day.
    Thank you Kerri! I am heading to the shop NOW!

  36. Barbara November 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    OMG these are adorable. I don’t normally have an advent calendar but this is making think twice. I have a daughter at college and this would be something so cute to send to her or her friend.

  37. […] is the calendar I saw which inspired me to make ours.  I usually fill it with chocs, sweets, mini cars, Lego […]

  38. […] was inspired by this Advent Calendar kit from Kerri Bradford which is available for purchase I think but I am not sure where. This project required heavy use of […]

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