Add a rustic touch to your Christmas home decor with a natural advent calendar. This easy homemade Christmas countdown calendar uses stones or rocks as an easy way to countdown to Christmas.
Countdown to Christmas with this easy DIY advent calendar! An advent calendar with a Nativity scene can provide a great way to remember the true meaning of Christmas. First, use this DIY Christmas tutorial to make a stone Christmas countdown calendar with children at home or in the classroom. Next, use your stone advent calendar as a fun and easy way to countdown to Christmas–no sugary treats, candy, or gifts necessary! You might also enjoy meaningful Christmas Traditions for a magical holiday season.
DIY Advent Calendar Christmas Countdown
Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin and represents baby Jesus’s coming into the world. This homemade advent calendar is designed to count down to Christmas–the coming of Christ.
My daughter has always had a thing for rocks. Our fall nature table has become littered with them! So when I saw THIS advent nature table by Explore and Express, I knew it was perfect for my daughter and our home, so I decided to make one on our nature table.
We made a festive homemade popsicle stick nativity stable with a nativity scene to go with this stone advent calendar DIY. Alternatively, you can use any of these lovely stables or nativity sets to set up with it.
This Willow Tree nativity set is one of my favorites, but I also love the simple look that wooden peg dolls can create, as shown in the photograph below.
Related: Rustic Walnut Shell Manger Christmas Ornament
Christmas Advent Countdown Calendar Supplies
- First, go on a nature hunt to find some stones or rocks, stones, or other natural treasures to use. You can also find stones that work HERE or at your local landscaping or gardening store.
- If you can not find any rocks that will work, try other natural objects, such as raw gemstones, pebbles, shells, pinecones, acorns, flat-backed gems, colorful sea glass pieces, wood slices, etc. Or, try rainbow blocks, lego bricks, or toy cars.
- Or, use tiny, individually wrapped pieces of chocolate like Hershey’s Holiday Kisses or milk chocolate novelty Christmas figures to give your children a treat each night. Any wrapped food material that is not likely to perish before Christmas will also work to make this Christmas countdown craft.
Related: Baby Jesus Christmas Ornament
Christmas Countdown Calendar Materials
- 24 stones, rocks, or other items (acorns or acorn caps, shells, wood slices, flat-backed marbles, gemstones, crystals, etc.–see linked recommendations in the section above) that can be used to countdown to Christmas or another winter holiday.
- Nativity stable with a nativity scene (optional)
- Beeswax tealights and a unique Christmas candle (optional)
Related: Angel Christmas Ornaments
Related: Ultimate Family Gift Guide with DIY and ready-made options!
How to Countdown to Christmas with a Stone Advent Calendar
A quick summary of how to make and use a stone countdown calendar follows. Please scroll down to see the complete DIY instructions for this Christmas countdown activity and craft.
- Layout 24 rocks or stones (in a straight or curved line) across a table, shelf, or windowsill, or make a spiral advent.
- Place a nativity stable with the holy family nativity scene at one end of the line of stones. (optional)
- Use the stones to countdown to Christmas starting on the first of December or any day after that. (Count the remaining days and add the corresponding number of stones, objects, or ornaments.)
- Remove one rock (or object) daily until the last stone is removed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depending on the design of your countdown.
- Light a beeswax candle in place of the stone or stones removed each night, and a unique candle on Christmas Day. (Optional)
- Follow the Christmas countdown calendar with three wise men peg dolls. (Optional–see Christmas countdown activity ideas below.)
Related: Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make Your Family Will Love!
DIY Stone Advent Calendar Step-by-Step Instructions
Learn how to make a simple Christmas countdown calendar with the step-by-step DIY project tutorial below.
Related: Christmas Ornaments Kids Can Make
Layout stones or rocks to create the Christmas countdown calendar craft.
- Layout 24-25 stones, rocks, gemstones, acorns, or other objects or ornament (in a straight or curved line) across a table, shelf, or windowsill.
- If starting your countdown after the first of December, count the number of days remaining until the desired date and add the same number of stones (or other objects) to the DIY countdown calendar.
- Or, place the stones or other objects into spirals or circles to make this festive holiday decor. You can see our DIY advent spiral countdown calendar–> HERE.
2. Add Wise Men behind the last stone or other objects. (optional)
- Place wise men, three wooden peg dolls, or another object behind the first stone of your advent calendar if desired.
- Adding wise men looks lovely but does not make the countdown entirely accurate because, according to the story of Christmas, the wise men continue to travel well after Christmas day. So, inform your children or students of this difference, or modify your countdown to continue after Christmas in any way you like, if desired.
3. Add a DIY nativity scene (optional).
- Make or buy a simple nativity scene to set up along with your homemade stone advent calendar.
- Place Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus into the nativity stable at the end of the stone Christmas countdown.
- Try our easy popsicle stick nativity stable craft tutorial.
- Make this wooden peg doll holy family with Baby Jesus in a half-walnut shell manger.
4. Countdown to Christmas by removing one stone or object per day.
- Begin your countdown on December first or any day after that. (As described above, count the number of days that remain until the desired date and add the same number of stones or other items to the DIY countdown calendar.)
- Remove one stone from the advent calendar each day to count to Christmas or another winter holiday.
- Remove one stone daily until the last stone is removed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depending on how you want to design your countdown calendar craft.
- Light a beeswax candle in place of the stone or other object removed each night (optional).
- Follow with three magi or wise men peg dolls (optional).
- Light a unique candle in place of the removed stones or other objects on Christmas Day (optional).
Related: Fingerprint Christmas Tree Cards
DIY Advent Calendar Kids Can Make
That’s it! Quick and easy, right? I knew you’d love it! 🙂
You can make a handmade nativity stable to go along with your homemade countdown calendar or use any of these lovely stables or nativity sets.
Make sure you look at family Christmas traditions for even more fun ideas! You might also want to look at our winter bucket list seasonal activity guide.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
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