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The Best DIY Advent Calendars

By Melissa Summers

The advent calendar is an excellent tradition meant to extend the excitement of the month of December for kids anxiously waiting for the big day on the 25th. Isabel shared lots of great advent calendars available for purchase over at here.
Advent Calendars
I’ve found some options for the DIY-er starting with this flower pot and frame version from the Crafty Chica. A painted frame and 24 labeled cups to fill with little treats, coupons and baubles. I like this idea and was thinking you could do the same thing with these watchmaker cases, fitting the fronts with numbers printed on label stock from your computer.
Advent Calendars
This advent calendar from Family Fun uses construction paper, puffy paint and rick rack with a design your kid can make.
Advent Calendars
Isabel linked to magnetic advent calendars for sale at Etsy. It seems like an easy enough project for the DIY-er. Theresa McFayden at My Minutia used to have a tutorial but it appears to be gone. However, Love, Joleen shares her finished project which, with the help of the scrapbook aisle at your local craft share and a metal baking sheet you should be able to create your own version.
Advent Calendars
Of course Martha Stewart’s advent projects are my favorite. I love this matchbook version from Good Things for Kids. As each day passes a treat is collected from the matchbox and it’s turned around creating a Christmas tree day by day. Lovely.
Advent Calendars
I know my kids would love this version of the advent calendar. Boxes are labeled with numbers, painted complementary colors, filled with treats and stuck to the wall with removable poster putty. I think this idea is visually stunning and fun.
Advent Calendars
Advent calendars from my youth were always filled with candy. Usually chalky little pieces of chocolate. Kiddley has an excellent list of activities your family can do together to fill your advent calendar. Because we all know kids don’t need more candy but almost all families need more fun time together. I also love their picture of small paper covered matchboxes piled into a glass dish ready for choosing, this would be lovely on your kitchen table for the month of December.

Do you have a handmade advent calendar your family loves?

Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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  • jen

    My grandmother buys us an advent calendar each year that has chocolates inside. They used to have edible chocolate but changed the formula at some point and now I end up throwing them away (imagine, inedible chocolate…I didn’t think it existed). I liked them when I was little though because the numbers were small and sort of hidden and so you had to really look for them.
    These are all really great ideas, which I’ll start as soon as my little one is old enough. I think I’d add some element like the calendars we had, where you have to find the right number.

  • When we were little, my mom made a wall-hanging advent calendar that featured a Christmas tree and little numbered pockets below, each with a tiny, needlepoint ornament inside. I can’t remember if they snapped onto the tree or tied with ribbon, maybe? Here are some (looooong) instructions for something similar:
    I’m going to make one with a more modern, abstract tree, I think.

  • You can find Teresa McFayden’s tutorial here – We used to make paper chains with an activity written on each link to count down the days to Christmas.

  • Mary

    This year I am stealing an idea from Pottery Barn…using oak tags on an old picture frame. We’re busy making ornaments (that I will combine with store-bought oranments)to hang on it. Hopefully ours will look as nice as the catalog version…or better!

  • Melissa – these are great! Did you find any more activities that you could list? I like Kiddley’s, but was wondering if you knew of others?

  • Abbey

    I LOVE you. Thank you. I have ben desperatly looking for something as a thanksgivng hostess gift and the kiddley advent will be pefect. I am canging a few to work with the MI cold, as in there will be no picnicing on the beach. Thank you. I have been saved from hours of stressful brainstorming.

  • Our kids love the advent calendar thing but we have always been lazy and bought the Playmobil or Lego ones. This year, though, I am making my own (using some of the ideas from Kiddley) and some of my own. I hope this isn’t one of those times when my vision exceeds my ability. There are just so damn many of those times…

  • we did the empty match box version last year and it was great.
    Thanks for the Kiddley link. Finding the activities was the hardest part!

  • kelli

    I love this photo advent calendar. I’m hoping to put pictures of all of the cousins in the windows and send it out after the long weekend.

  • I love the idea of advent calendars. I’ve been meaning to make an advent calendar for ages. And I finally did it! Yay me! I’m pretty pleased with the results. Check it out: