Make an easy paper-bag advent calendar

Hallmark designer Em Bronson is back today with more Christmas inspiration after yesterday’s stocking exchange story! (Told you she’s a walking encyclopedia of excellent ideas.) Today Em is showing us how to make an advent calendar out of simple materials. This easy project has a big-time happiness pay-off!

As holidays get close and the celebrating begins, I always try to find ways of connecting with my family even though I can’t be with them till Christmas. So, this year I decided to make a mail-able advent calendar for my mom. She is a total Hallmark mom! She was actually a Hallmark fan even before I ever worked here. She sends a lot of cards and decks them out in a lot of stickers. I think she enjoys the stickers even more than the cards, which let me to this idea: A sticker advent adventure!

Every day in December she has a bag to open and a new sheet of stickers to add to her stash. All the way until December 25, when I’ll get there to celebrate Christmas with her.


I like to challenge myself to create new things with what I already have in my craft room, so for this project I just needed a stack of paper lunch sacks, some acrylic craft paint, and a gold paint pen. I drew out some basic shapes and had fun decorating them.


I had done some traveling this year, and picked up some stickers along the way—they fit into suitcases really well! And then I picked up a bunch of seasonal and non-seasonal varieties in our own Hallmark card shop.

She got the special delivery in the mail just in time to start the month off, and I get a text everyday telling me which stickers she opened. It was a great way to celebrate the season with her.

What you’ll need to make the paper-bag advent calendar:

  • paper bags
  • acrylic craft paint
  • gold paint pen
  • scrap paper and glue for extra decorations
  • fun surprises to slip inside (stickers, treats, cards, ornaments, etc.)



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