Advent Calendars 2023

Oct 23, 2023

Using an Advent calendar is one of my favorite ways to prepare and pray in the days leading up to Christmas. Unlike the store-bought versions, my calendars have no doors, just blank spaces for the days of Advent. Instead of tearing apart a calendar day by day, I build the calendar. Each day I choose a person to pray for or a word to ponder. I write the name or word in the space and ask God to be with me in this daily journey. Then I sit with the word and surround it with doodles and color; I think of each mark or swath of color as a non-verbal prayer. Each day’s offering feels like a little wrapped package to bring to Jesus’s birthday celebration. Creating this calendar helps me to savor each day of Advent. I no longer want Christmas to hurry up and get here! I am content in the preparation. When the calendar is finished, the accumulation of daily doodles forms a colorful tapestry and is a record of my Advent spiritual journey.
This practice feels both prayerful and playful. No artistic skill is necessary! Examples from previous years are at the bottom of the post. Advent starts on December 3 this year, so there are only 22 days until Christmas. Scroll down in the post to see the section called Ways to Use the Calendar Templates.

2023 Advent Calendar Templates

Click on the name below the calendars to access the .pdf of the calendar template/s you want. Feel free to share the calendar templates with other individuals or groups. Please Share this post on your social media platforms. These templates are also available on the Resources Page.
Some templates have dates; others do not. Follow the designated path to Christmas or choose your own helter-skelter one.
The Wreath Template is new this year. Let your imagination loose as you pray and ponder; add lights, ornaments, stars, ribbons,…. 

Ways to Use the Calendar Templates

1) Pray for a person each day. Write their name  in the space. 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, pray them–in your mind or write the word on the page. Squeeze words onto the calendar in the shape or along the margins. 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) This tiny colorful mosaic creates a frame around the person’s name. Return to the calendar each day and let it be a visual reminder to pray for each person again. Add a new person every day.
2) Choose a word from the daily Scripture readings for the season. Here is a website to access the Revised Common Lectionary. The RCL uses the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, but look at other versions for slightly different language.
3) Choose a word from a book of Advent meditations. Combine your calendar with one of the many wonderful books of daily Advent meditations and reflections. Read the entry for the day and choose a word that jumps out at you. Write the word in the shape and start to doodle and color around it. Marinate in the word. What is it saying to you? What does God have to say to you about the word? Keep a computer or notebook next to your calendar so you can write any insights or “ahas.”
4) Write and ponder an Advent word like prepare, wait, pregnant, hope, watch, darkness, wilderness, longing, lightas you doodle and color. There are dozens of words associated with Advent. When you complete a calendar using these words, it is like having a mini, visual dictionary of the Season.
5) Use the words chosen by #AdventWord. This ministry of Forward Movement offers words for each day and the chance to see how others throughout the world have reflected on the word. Sign up to receive a daily meditation on the word. The finished calendar is a another version of a visual dictionary of important concepts of Advent. In the examples below are the AdventWord list for 2020, the calendar template I created for Forward Movement to go with the words, and my filled-in calendar.
6) Write something you hope for each day. Advent is a season of hope. Choose a word of hope and write it in the space. Let the word fill you as you draw and add color.
7) Celebrate the Women and Men of the Bible. Choose a different person for each day and learn what they did and why they are important to our story and God’s story. As you draw, be quiet and listen to what these people might reveal to you about Jesus and God.
8) Write one of the many names for Jesus in the daily box. Here are a few of the many ways we refer to Jesus: savior, messiah, friend, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.Use the Bible, Handel’s Messiah, Christmas carols, and hymns to uncover those names. Pray and ponder how that name for Jesus stirs, affects, annoys, delights, or inspires you.
9) Just color and doodle in the space. For smaller children, print the calendar on 11″x17″ paper to create larger spaces. (I do this for myself, too.) Teach them about Advent as a “one day at a time” journey. Light a battery-powered votive candle and give them a quiet, secret place to work.

Examples from Previous Years

Here are some examples from previous years. The blank template is on the left; the finished calendar on the right.

Thanks to Cindy O for her 2022 calendar and for the Box Calendar Template she created for this year. Thanks also to friends who allowed me to use their finished calendars from 2021.


  1. I did this last year in a journal – a two-page spread or maybe more. I’ll have to check. But I enjoyed the process so much!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *