Are you thinking about having a homemade advent calendar this year? Our silhouette advent calendar is full of enchanting characters for kids to cut, colour and paste onto windows, creating a magical Christmas story!

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While we were decorating our windows with the silhouettes of winter wonderland, Anselm was a great help. He found it very exciting to arrange and rearrange the silhouettes of animals and people, creating little scenes. “Wouldn’t he like to have a set of silhouettes of his own to move around as he pleases!” I thought.

My friend Tanya, who created the first set, also thought that it would be fun, so two days later she sent us a special set of silhouettes. There are twenty four of them, and can you guess what this number means? Right, we decided to have a silhouette advent calendar this year!

First, we put a magical silhouette landscape in his windows. For now, it’s just a little border at the bottom edge, and a few stars in the sky. But nothing is happening just yet.

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On December 1, my son will get an envelope with his first silhouette, which he can attach to the window wherever he wants. There are a lot of characters to play with and to create a story with as they all arrive! Little boys and girls, house elves, flying reindeer, cats, and owls. They’re all getting ready for Christmas!

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This December, I hope it will be a beautiful and magical addition to every day. Lighting candles. Opening an envelope. Taking a silhouette out, and finding the perfect place for it on the window. The perfect place will probably change every half hour, accompanied by excited explanations. It will be fun!

Of course, you don’t strictly have to use it as an advent calendar. Print and decorate the pages any time! Just for fun.

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Cutting Silhouettes

  • First thing, you’ll need to decide is what’ll go into the envelopes. You can have all the silhouettes pre-cut, or you can slip a piece of paper with a printed image of a silhouette into the envelope. Upon opening, you or your children will have to cut the silhouette out. Another alternative is to print them on transparent vinyl to avoid cutting altogether. You can paint them like stained glass, and they will be robust enough to re-position many times.
  • Depending on your preferences, there are a couple of different ways you can cut the designs. You can do it with scissors and a craft knife the traditional way or cut them with a silhouette machine.
  • If you cut the silhouettes out of paper, use cardstock. It’s a lot sturdier for children’s handling!
  • You can make the silhouettes from any colour of paper. Insert the paper of your choice into the printer, choose the white designs and print. The printer will just outline the silhouettes.

Colouring Silhouettes

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  • Colouring silhouettes was one of my son’s idea of how to use the advent calendar creatively. He said he wanted to make them “even prettier”! My aesthetic preference is for the plain silhouetted, but I would not keep him from having some creative fun.
  • You can print as many of each image as you need. Then all the kids (and maybe even the adults) can contribute their own version!
  • If you colour the silhouettes, you don’t have to cut the inner holes out – colour them instead!
  • When everything is said and done, you don’t have to cut the designs out at all. Make it into a colouring Advent calendar!

Placing Silhouettes

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  • While in the beginning we only meant to decorate windows, Anselm successfully decorated walls and even toys with the pictures of whimsical creatures.
  • For windows, we used a simple glue stick; for walls, I gave him double-sided foam dots.
  • While finding a place for a new silhouette, he doesn’t just consider how it looks, but makes up a story. “This girl is running to decorate the Christmas tree. But this boy is in her way. I’m going to put him somewhere else.” Or, “This is a father moon, and this is his baby. The baby moon lives in this house.” This is my favourite aspect of the advent calendar.

Further Creative Exploration

  • Most silhouettes in the calendar represent a little Winter/Christmas tradition. If you want to, you can use them as prompts for additional creative activities. Suggest mailing a letter to someone when you open the picture of an owl carrying a letter! Listen to Christmas songs when you see the boy playing a horn!

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  • You can also ask questions such as “What is your favourite Christmas song?” or “This girl is skating. What do you like to do in the winter?”
  • Two of the pictures are associated with Christmas traditions from around the world. The girl with a wreath of candles on her head represents the celebration of Santa Lucia Day which happens in Norway, Sweden, Finland and some other countries in December. And then, there is a bowl of porridge with a little man standing by. It’s a tomte or a nisse or a brownie! The tradition of leaving a treat for a house spirit on Christmas eve is popular in several cultures. You can read more about these traditions or role play them together with kids.

I hope you’ll have a happy and magical advent! Here you can download all the designs, including more than 24 silhouettes (some pages have more than one character), as well as a winter landscape with moon and star silhouettes to go on the windows. Two formats are available. Black is good for printing silhouettes on vinyl, if you don’t plan to colour them. White is good for colouring or printing on different colours of paper.

Download the Design!

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