DIY Giving Calendar

We started with the excitement and tradition of an Advent calendar and put our own twist on it: KIWI’s version counts down until the end of the year and incorporates the concept of giving. Instead of receiving a treat each day, kids get a slip of paper that suggests something nice they can do for someone else. And of course ours is eco-friendly: It’s made with upcycled mini mint tins, paper scraps, and string.


  • 31 mini mint tins (or other small boxes)
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • X-Acto knife
  • Old cardboard
  • Decorative paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Old greeting cards
  • Ribbon scraps
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small wooden beads
  • Markers


  1. Paint the exterior of the tins. Let dry completely.
  2. Use an X-Acto knife to cut a 13-by-17-inch sheet of cardboard.
  3. Wrap the cardboard in decorative paper, as you would a present. Secure with tape.
  4. Use scissors to cut up old greeting cards, then create decorative faces on the tops of your mini tins with the paper scraps. Mix and match patterns, and add ribbon to create a variety of designs. Secure the decorations with glue.
  5. Attach a small wooden bead on the top face of your tin using glue. It should sit on the longest edge of the open-side so that it resembles a doorknob.
  6. Use a marker to number each of the mint tins, 1 through 31.
  7. Secure each mini tin to the cardboard sheet using hot glue.

Giving Ideas

Use our ideas or make up your own!

  1. Help Mom and Dad make dinner.
  2. Call your grandparents.
  3. Write a nice letter to your parents, siblings, cousins, or friends and tell them why you love them.
  4. Collect canned goods for a local shelter.
  5. Put homemade holiday greeting cards in the neighbors’ mailboxes.
  6. Make a list of things you’re thankful for.
  7. Collect toys for a local toy drive.
  8. Make (or fill) a bird feeder and hang it outside.
  9. Help shovel a neighbor’s driveway.
  10. Donate old gloves/coats/hats to a local coat drive.
  11. Write a thank-you note to your teacher.
  12. Help with the dishes.
  13. Hold the door for someone.
  14. Pick up trash you see on the ground.
  15. Write a letter to a family member who lives far away.
  16. Make holiday greeting cards for your friends.
  17. Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  18. Leave a treat in your mailbox for the mail carrier.
  19. Make a giving jar to put loose change in, and donate it to charity at the end of the month.
  20. Say “I love you” to a family member or friend.
  21. Hug a family member.
  22. 22. Give someone a nice compliment.
  23. Donate used books to a school or shelter.
  24. Sit with someone new in the cafeteria.
  25. Make your bed (and another family member’s too!).
  26. Feed your pet.
  27. Call a friend or family member who isn’t feeling well.
  28. Smile and say hello to everyone at school.
  29. Set the table for your family.
  30. Write positive messages on your street’s sidewalk, like “Have a wonderful day” or “You’re a great neighbor.”
  31. Help make baked goods with your family and deliver them to neighbors.
  32. Visit with an elderly neighbor.
  33. Let your sibling or friend go first in a game or activity.
  34. Help your parents take out the recycling.
  35. Come up with your own good deed!