Advent calendars are for adults and children. The calendar templates below offer a doable, simple discipline for each day of Advent. Instead of opening daily doors with pictures or retrieving small gifts or candies from pockets, these calendars mark the daily journey to Christmas with your prayers and drawings. The finished Advent calendar is a colorful reminder of what was in your head and on your heart each day. It is a record of the daily spiritual journey through Advent.
Here are four Advent calendar templates in both .pdf and .jpg form. Click on the words .pdf or .jpg below the version/s you want. Download first; then print. Feel free to share the calendar templates with others, for individuals or groups. Below the templates are ways to use them.
Note: I like to enlarge the 8.5″x11″ format to 11″x17″ card stock. It gives me more room to doodle and color and consequently more time and space with the person or word.
Thanks to Cindy O. for the 2017 Box Calendar template and to Jack Jeter for his creche drawing.
Ways to Use the Calendar Templates
1) In a space or shape on the calendar, write the name of someone for whom you are praying. Doodle around the name, add color. Think of each stroke of color or each doodled mark (line, dot, arc, spiral…) as a wordless prayer. If words come to you as you draw and color, pray them. Squeeze them onto the calendar in the shape or along the margins if they feel important. When you have finished with your daily entry, say “Amen” or recite a short passage of Scripture appropriate to Advent like “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” (Psalm 27:1)
2) Read a daily Advent reflection or meditation. Choose a word from the reading that jumps out at you. Write it in the shape and start to doodle and color. Marinate in the word. What is the word saying to you? What does God have to say to you about the word? Listening + doodling+ coloring = praying. Keep a computer or notebook next to your calendar so you can write any insights or “ahas.”
3) Write and ponder an Advent word––prepare, wait, pregnant, hope, watch, darkness, longing, light…—as you doodle and color.
4) Since Advent is a season of hope, write something you hope for each day. Offer that idea to God as you draw, write, and color.
5) For smaller children, print the calendar on 11″x17″ paper and just let them color. Light a battery-powered votive candle and give them a quiet, secret place to work. The Tree template might be a simple one for a child to use.
Remember this is not supposed to be a great work of art. Enjoy the process. The words, marks, and color end up creating a beautiful tapestry in spite of your skill level! Advent calendars can also be just black and white. No color necessary. Here are some samples of completed Advent calendars from past years. Thanks to Cindy O. and Connie D. for their calendars.