16 DIY Advent Calendars to Countdown to Christmas
Offer daily surprises with this simple Advent calendar. Fill colored envelopes with treats; then seal and adorn with numbers. Get creative and trying using our simple hand-lettering technique to decorate the Advent calendar envelopes. Hang with clothespins across a line of twine.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Share a favorite holiday memory from childhood with your own kids.
Acts of Kidness
Celebrate the season by doing good. Create a handmade advent calendar that offers acts of kindness suggestions instead of gifts. You'll feel good opening each envelope.
Editor's Tip: This is the perfect Advent calendar for kids—it will help them discover the true meaning of the season!
Advent Calendar Lineup
This festive calendar doubles as an eye-catching piece of wall art. Hang two branches in an area where your family regularly gathers, such as a breakfast nook. Clip 25 little numbered bags or packages to the branches for family members to open.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Read a favorite Christmas story with cups of hot cocoa and popcorn.
Cardboard box lids double as an adorable 3-D Advent calendar. To create, simply glue onto a wire wreath frame. Fill each with a small toy and cover with patterned paper. Hang this toy Advent calendar near your Christmas tree or make one for each child's bedroom.
Farmhouse Advent Calendar
This galvanized bucket Christmas Advent calendar doubles as a rustic piece of farmhouse Christmas decor. To make, look for a set of mini galvanized buckets (we like this set of 12 buckets, $10, Oriental Trading). Finish with artificial greenery and a bow.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Write a holiday note to five special people, such as a friend you've lost touch with, someone who made a difference in your life, or a long-distance relative.
A handmade wood frame means you can customize this Christmas advent calendar to fit any space. A bright pom-pom garland gives it a cheery pop of color.
An Ornament A Day
No need to peek and see what tomorrow holds. This advent calendar idea puts every trinket in plain view. Hang baubles, handmade ornaments, or decoration next to poster board tags, then each morning, let someone hang a new adornment on the tree.
Collect small branches in a vase, then hang a mix of numbered tags and small envelopes to the branches. Write holiday quotes, or activity suggestions on the tags, then fill envelopes with small trinkets. Wrap any bigger surprises and nestle under the "tree."
Advent Activity Suggestion: "Pay it Forward" by picking up a stranger's coffee tab, giving up your seat on the subway, or adding a few quarters to an expired parking meter.
Whoops! Forget to start your Advent calendar on December 1? Go for a condensed version and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with this easy-to-make bulletin board calendar.
Lead up to the big day with 25 days of little gifts. Put a small treat or trinket inside a small box (a jewelry gift box works great) and wrap with festive papers. Number the gifts 1-25 and open one each day.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Instead of incorporating activities, write 25 reasons why you love your kid or spouse on slips of paper to include in your family's Advent calendar.
Christmas Countdown Wreath
Combine two Christmas classics into one project. Paint an 18-inch wooden wreath form white. Glue magnets to the form and to the bottoms of 24 small favor tins (approximately 2-1/4 inches in diameter). Cut 12 circles from solid-color scrapbooking papers to fit the tin lids. Adhere number stickers, 1 through 12, to the circles. Cut out 12 more circles from coordinating patterned papers. Adhere the paper circles to the 12 tin lids and fill the tins with treats or small gifts. Arrange the tins on the wreath form, alternating a numbered tin with a plain one.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Get out into the community and attend a live Nativity or see a holiday concert or play.
Hanging Advent Calendar
A fun treat for kids and adults, this hanging Advent calendar is a cinch to make with inexpensive boxes and spare supplies. Fill with fun trinkets, candy, and notes to make the days leading up to Christmas more enchanting.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or help your kids organize a toy drive at their school.
Happy Advent Calendar
This oversize Advent calendar is fashioned from a framed chalkboard and dressed up with a simple evergreen garland. To make, simply write a 24-day calendar and move a mini evergreen wreath (like this Mini Pine Wreath, $20, Wayfair) each day.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Go sledding! And afterward, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.
Stocking Caps Hung With Care
Behind Closed Doors
Turn a wooden cabinet into a surprise-filled Advent calendar by embellishing each door with rub-on numbers and designs from the scrapbooking aisles.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Craft the ultimate holiday playlist.
Elf Hat Advent Calendar
Count down the days to Christmas with a handmade elf hat Advent calendar. Fill this Advent calendar for kids with fun treats, small toys, and special messages.
Advent Activity Suggestion: Attend a community tree lighting.