DIY Christmas Advent Countdown with Rainbow Envelopes

This season, I’m extra excited about our modern Advent Calendar as it was a family project of love.  While we have had fun with many educational Christmas crafts, I had a few goals for this year’s colorful Christmas calendar:

  1. Christ-centered
  2. Fun for kids
  3. Inexpensive
  4. Recycled or reusable materials
  5. Encourage literacy
  6. Doesn’t take up much space
  7. No nails (we have no wall space!)
  8. Involve all 3 of our family’s languages (English, Chinese, Korean)

The end result is a Christmas Advent Countdown with 25 envelopes, bible verses, & messages!  The envelopes are rainbow-colored at the request of my daughter who loves all things ROYGBIV! I’m happy to share the free, downloadable, envelope templates with you! 🙂

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Advent countdown activity inspired by our regular days

A typical take in our home starts with reading a children’s devotional with my children and my 5-year-old daughter and I taking turns praying before breakfast.

Twice a week, she attends school, after which she brings home several little envelopes with messages and drawings for our whole family.

My 2-year-old son is all about scribbling on anything he can, so we usually have plenty of cardboard around for him to get his scribbling on!

Important Christmas vocabulary in Chinese and English

  • 耶稣降临 / 耶穌降臨 or 圣诞降临 / 聖誕降臨 (Yēsū jiànglín or Shèngdàn jiànglín / Advent)
  • 圣诞节 / 聖誕節 (Shèngdàn jié / Christmas)
  • 耶稣 / 耶穌 (Yēsū / Jesus)
  • 生日 (Shēngrì / Birthday)
  • 倒数 / 倒數 (Dàoshǔ / Countdown)
  • 主日学 / 主日學 (Zhǔ rì xué / Sunday school)

What you need for the Christmas Advent Countdown with Envelopes

  1. Free printable bible verses inspired by this Preschool Devotions book:
  2. Cardboard trifold presentation board (39.25″ x 27.25″) – we got it from our local Dollar Tree!  We happened to have one at home, but I think it’s perfect for holding up the Advent Calendar and easy to store away.
  3. Colored markers / crayons / pencils / pens
  4. Paper – we used recycled brown packaging paper & construction paper
  5. Scissors
  6. Mini envelopes – we did not have any, so we made DIY mini envelopes with construction paper!  You can use this Mini Envelopes free printable template – 4 envelopes per page measure approximately 3.2″ x 1.9″ (8.1 cm x 4.8cm).
  7. Mini clothespins – we used the same ones from these activities
  8. String – we love this cotton twine
  9. Pushpin
  10. Xacto knife or box cutter
  11. Long ruler or measuring tape
  12. Bible verse of the day – for older kids and teenagers, you can use the YouVerision Bible app.  For younger kids, you can copy a child-friendly verse from this Preschool Devotions book.
  13. Optional: paint + paintbrush

How to create the Advent Countdown with Mini Envelopes

  1. Have your kids decorate the cardboard however they wish! My daughter got lots of writing practice in her 3 languages (English, Chinese, and Korean) in this fun, child-led way!
  2. Write daily verses on paper
  3. Cut out verses
  4. Write or paint numbers on mini envelopes (My numbers are totally different sizes because I am not good at painting, but I still like the look of painted numbers!)
  5. Insert daily verse into envelope.  Ask your child to write special messages to family members to add to the envelopes!
  6. Arrange envelopes in desired pattern on cardboard.  We did 5 rows of 5.
  7. Poke holes in the crease of the cardboard with push pins.  Use ruler or measuring tape to help align to poking holes on the opposite side.
  8. Use knife to lengthen the holes and to push string to other side.
  9. Secure strings with single knot at back of the board
  10. Clip envelopes!
  11. Open envelopes and read together with family!

Photos of the Advent Countdown Envelope Calendar process

Writing bible verses from our preschool devotions book – although I mainly speak to our kids in Chinese, English is our main family language.

We always do bible time in English because our family is not fluent in our minority languages, Chinese & Korean.

But we are adding in sweet messages and prayers in Chinese & Korean to the envelopes, and I love that my daughter decorated the cardboard in all of her languages! 🙂

Christmas Advent Countdown 25 Envelopes with Bible Verses & messages

Mini envelopes cut and ready to be folded!  We used a piece of cardboard as the stencil so that my kids could trace it to make other envelopes.

You can save time by using our printable which I didn’t create until after we already cut these out!

Christmas Countdown 25 Envelopes with Bible Verses & messages

Mini envelopes are lined up and ready to be filled with Bible verses and messages of love!

Christmas Advent Countdown 25 Envelopes with Bible Verses & messages

Here’s a close up look at how I secured the strings through the crease of the trifold poster board.

In this photo, you can see the slit clearly.

String inserted through cardboard slit, secured in place with a single knot

Close-up shot of the Bible verse for December 1st: In the beginning, you made the Earth.  And your hands made the skies.” Psalm 102:25.

Psalm 102:25

Voila!  Here is our Christmas Advent Countdown with 25 Envelopes, Bible Verses, & Messages!!!  My son says his favorite is number 25 haha!

Children’s devotions book and printable calendar

We used our One Year Devotions for Preschool Book (Little Blessings) as the source of our daily verses, and we kept track of the date with our printable Chinese calendar!

printable Chinese calendar and Preschool Christian Devotions book

Photo from an amazing bilingual mom

With permission, I’m excited to share this photo that a mom, Jo, showed me. She combined our Envelope Countdown idea with our printable Chinese calendar!  She was very clever to add a paper clip to mark the current date!

My kids were so happy to see other families celebrating the advent countdown like us!

Christmas Countdown Envelopes

Did you make this modern advent countdown with colorful envelopes?

If you decide to celebrate Advent with an Envelope Countdown, my kids and I would love to see how it turns out!  Please leave a comment below!

More Christmas activities for kids


  1. Sophia (aka sofiercely) says:

    hi betty! i’m not sure if your family has been reading these verses you linked here for this season’s advent (since you posted this project last year). i never got around pinning envelopes to a board (still in that newborn no sleep phase) but i did print the verses and we have been reading them in english and khmer. did you see the one from dec. 12? i refer to the verse here but like to open and read our bible too. so then i read the entire verse and i was laughing.. hahaha. i can see why they shortened the verse for the advent activity because… “everything to come is meaningless.” LOL. God has a most funny sense of humor.

    1. Hi Sophia! Haha I did see that and noticed the NIV version of the verse sounds more blunt than the version in the Preschool Devotions book! Agree with reading each verse in context of the bible 🙂 Enjoy the sweet newborn phase and hope you can get some rest soon! Merry Christmas!

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