DIY: Easy Christmas Countdown Chain

Kids love to countdown the days until Christmas! There are many ways to do it, too. Perhaps you have an advent calendar (for which I JUST bought goodies to fill  ours – a few hours after it should have been opened, but hey, no judgment, right?).  Maybe you have a cute countdown sign that you have to update daily (been there, forgot to change it – right along with moving the dang Elf.)

I needed something the kids can keep up with – one that reflects the passage of time and got the kids excited to see the days getting closer – and one that they would do themselves, because I have enough on my plate –  so I made a Christmas countdown chain, and it is so easy, it’s almost ridiculous.

Each evening, your kids tear one link off of the chain, until all the chains are gone. The last link in the chain comes off on Christmas Eve.

You need just a few things – a roll or two of fun wrapping paper, a stapler, a piece of ribbon, a whole punch and the star, for which I’ve attached a printable.  (Laminating it is optional but it allows you to more easily reuse it year after year!) Let me show you how to make it!


Print out the star and poem on card stock (or on printer paper, and laminate if desired).



I have a PDF version – which has two stars – ready to print HERE.

I prefer to laminate, so I can reuse the star year after year! (The trick is putting it away in a place you can find it quickly before December 1!!!!)



Now, sometimes I get lucky and I find pre-cut paper chains at craft stores or Dollar stores.




However, if you cannot find pre-cut paper chains, you can easily make your own out of old wrapping paper – and I have a great hack to do so!

Remove the tube from your wrapping paper (or just slide it out a few inches on the opposite side from where you will cut.)



Measure 1-inch from end of the roll, and make a clean cut through the roll.

Yep, lop that end right off.



Unroll the cut wrapping paper and cut in to 10-inch lengths. Measure and cut a second 1-inch loop and repeat until you have 24 paper chain strips.

Taking a strip of paper, make a link, overlapping the ends by about an inch, then staple to secure it closed.

Feed another strip through the first, then make a loop and staple. Continue adding a link to the most recent made until you have made 24 links.

(Or, if you are like me and making the chain late this year, make a link for each remaining day until Christmas Eve.)

If you are going to hang your paper chain, use a paper punch to create two holes in the star – one at the top (for hanging) and one at the bottom (to attach the links).



Run a piece of ribbon (I used gift wrap ribbon) through the top hole and make a loop. Tie off.
You have something to hang it with! Fancy person, you.

Run a shorter piece of ribbon through the bottom so to connect the paper chain to the star.



Now you can lay the chain across the mantel or hang it someplace where your kiddos will see it every night. Some years it is hung from a curtain in the bedroom (attached with a safety-pin), some years we hang it from the mantle or by the door.)

Of course, these are so easy and inexpensive that each child gets one!

It’s a fun tradition, and if you are finding this after the month has started  –  it’s not too late!!! Just remember  to reduce the number of links to the remaining number of days leading up to Christmas eve!


Countdown chains are very easy and can be used for any manner of event or celebration – to the last day of school, until you leave on vacation – or for the arrival of Christmas. All you need to do is switch up the paper (and make your own star with the destination event!)

What would you use a chain for????

Looking for more Christmas fun?

Check out my DIY Holiday Wreath here – it’s so easy and beautiful!

For a fun holiday drink, check out this yummy Pomegranate Martini here.



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