Inside: The Perfect DIY Santa Mailbox to use as a meaningful alternative to the Elf on a Shelf; teach your children the joy of giving and receiving with this new family holiday tradition.
I have been waiting to share this project post with you since the summer! haha! I came up with a really fun and perfect DIY Alternative to Elf on a Shelf. It also combines the concept of an Advent Calendar too. I don’t know how the idea came to be – but I’d been on the hunt for an old mailbox for months. I found this old metal one at the thrift store back in June and held onto it just for this craft! So today, I give you The Perfect DIY Santa Mailbox 🙂
How we’re using our Santa Mailbox
Okay, I get it. If it took me years to stumble on the most perfect second hand mailbox, it could take you just as long. So unless you have one stashed away in your garage or something, you’re probably just interested in how we’re going to use our Santa Mailbox as an alternative to that (annoying) Elf on a Shelf.
My daughter is still super young, so she doesn’t fully understand Christmas yet. We are taking advantage of this time to instil some of the spirit of the holidays in her. The mailbox will be ‘filled’ on my schedule. So it’s not a daily thing and it’s not intended to be a good behaviour bribe tactic (though I can’t say I won’t use it that way every now and again). We will hang the box up around December 1st and plan to have four to six ‘pre-holiday’ deliveries.
Things to put in your Santa Mailbox
- A special chocolate bar and a second one to ‘give to another’ like a teacher, neighbour or daycare worker
- A new toothbrush and a storybook and some baked goods to give to another
- A small stuffed toy and a gift card to give to another
- New pjs and a hot cocoa set to give to another
Are you seeing what I’m doing here 🙂 It’s key to the function of the Santa Mailbox that the child start to understanding not only the joy of receiving, but also the joy of giving. When they are older, they can have a more active role in deciding what to give and to whom – for now, when my daughter is just two years old, we will guide her a little bit.
If you’re not wanting to DIY a Santa Mailbox, there are some super cute pre-made versions available too!
How to make a DIY Santa Mailbox
Here are the supplies I used to transform this mail box into a Santa Mail box! (affiliate links)
- Stain Blocking Primer
- White chalk-style paint
- Red chalk-style paint
- Silhouette Cameo with vinyl cutting blade
- Black adhesive vinyl
- Silver adhesive vinyl
- Red pom pom trim
- Black+Decker 20V Glue Gun
- Black+Decker 20V Jig Saw
- 1/4″ scrap plywood
First thing I did was dust it and give it a coat of primer and then two coats of white chalk style paint. Then it was just about embellishing it! I used my jigsaw to cut the shape of an envelope and painted it red. I glued it with my cordless glue gun.
Using my Silhouette Cameo, I cut out Believe and the little fairy as well as the stars. I used a combination of black adhesive vinyl and silver to add a bit of fun!
I love love how this project turned out and I’m quite chuffed that I found time to get it done this year with everything else we have on the go. It was important to me to start something special for LB around the holidays. I’m such a sap like that 🙂
Still looking for some other Alternatives to Elf on a Shelf?
- Check out this roundup of ideas from Happy Hooligans
- Apartment Therapy has dozens of advent calendar ideas
- And Fave Crafts does a cute round-up of actual handmade elves on shelves
Here are some other posts you’ll love
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my privacy and disclosure policy here.