DIY Advent Calendar Ideas for Christmas

DIY advent calendar tutorials

December is always a month of excitement, and there’s nothing that makes us more excited for Christmas than a good old fashioned advent calendar! And if it’s a DIY advent calendar that’s even better!

Between trying to cut down on waste and making healthier eating choices, those £1 chocolate advent calendars just aren’t going to cut it. So we’ve taken a little time out to prepare a few ideas that are easy to make at home with the kids. 

The best part is, you get to decide what goes in them! Whether that’s toys, good deeds or the classic choice of chocolate is entirely up to you.

Santa Stocking Advent Calendar

First up, this clever little craft will look just perfect hanging on the wall with car

You’ll need:

  • A pack of mini stockings – the ones we used are a cute few inches tall!
  • A glue pen
  • Red balloon glitter
  • Gold glittery card
  • A sharp pair of scissors (to be handled by grownups only!)

A table display with mini stockings, red glitter, gold glitter card, a glue pen and a pair of scissors

Start by cutting 24 small circles out of the gold card. They’ll want to be about the size of a milk bottle cap – feel free to use a stencil, or if you have it, a cricut machine.

These will be our day numbers, so take that glue pen and draw your number onto the gold circle, then pour over the red glitter. Leave it for a few minutes to let it set, then tip off the excess glitter into a bowl or back into the pot.

Woman's hands drawing a number onto a gold circle with a glue pen

Once your glittery number is nice and dry, you can put it in pride of place on the front of a stocking. 

Whip out that glue pen again and draw a circle where you want the number to go. Fill in the circle to make sure you have enough glue to make it stick, then press the circle down onto the stocking. Put something heavy on top until the glue dries to be extra sure it’ll stay on!

Now simply rinse and repeat until you have 24 stockings each with a number on them. 

You can hang these up however you like – we loved the simplicity of hanging them from their red ribbon loops onto a white piece of string that would look perfect over the mantlepiece!

DIY advent calendar stockings hung by white string by the Christmas tree

Tag and Bag Advent Calendar

Next up, this DIY advent calendar gives you a little more room for bigger gifts each day!

You’ll need:

Wedding tag guest book, Kraft paper bags and number stickers

Add number stickers to each of the brown paper tags, and corresponding ones to each brown paper bag. How this works is that we’ll pull a tag every day and match it up to a brown bag.

Hand pressing a number sticker down on a tag

Fill your brown bags with goodies! These cute Christmas plushies are the perfect size, so you could spread these out throughout the month. You could even introduce your elf on the shelf on the 1st day of December by popping them in one of these (and we’ve got some funny elf on the shelf ideas to keep you going).

Woman placing a penguin plushie into a bag with number 5 on it

If you feel like you have the time, you could give the bags a won-deer-full makeover by transforming them into reindeer!

Hands attaching numbered tags to the peg board

Using the tiny pegs included in the guest book, clip your numbers onto the length of string in any order. Then simply tie the string on to the dedicated hooks!

Hands stringing numbers onto guest book peg board

Good Deeds DIY Advent Calendar

If you wanted to focus on a more sustainable, giving kind of Christmas, why not skip the usual sweets and instead have suggestions of good deeds they can do that day?

Envelope, coloured card, glue pen, scissors, string and glittery tape

You’ll need:

Start by making the cute present shapes that’ll be on the front of every envelope! Simply cut out squares of differently coloured thin card, then lay glittery washi tape in a cross dsign that looks like a present’s wrapping.

Use your trusty glue pen to stick the 2D present image to the front of every envelope.

Attaching a present-shaped piece of card onto an envelope with glue pen

Write down a selection of good deeds to do that day. We thought it’d be nicer to get a compliment or affirmation along with them – maybe tell them how strong they are, and ask that they help mumy by bringing in the shopping!

Hands writing good deeds on a piece of paper to go in a DIY advent calendar envelope

Here are a few good deeds to use as inspiration: 

  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Tell a joke
  • Feed the birds
  • Pick up 5 pieces of litter
  • Compliment a friend
  • Set the table for dinner 
  • Donate a toy you no longer play with
  • Write positive messages in chalk on the pavement
  • Fold the Christmas table napkins

Of course, you can add a few small Christmas chocolates or candy canes to the occasional envelope – everyone deserves a treat for doing a good deed!

Once all your envelopes are decorated and filled, simply hang them on a piece of string by their flaps (gluing them down if necessary).

Hanging decorated envelopes on a piece of string

We’ve left numbers off ours, so it’s a lucky dip to see which one you’ll get! If you’d prefer to have some order – or want to assign specific good deeds to specific days – you can easily pop a number on the front of these with a marker or number stickers.

DIY advent calendar from envelopes hanging on the wall

And there we have it! Three super simple ways to start the festive season off with a bang!

If this has got you in the mood for some DIY Christmas fun, why not check out our tutorial on making your own Christmas crackers – it’s much less wasteful than buying them! And if you’re going DIY to save a few pennies, check out some of our other suggestions for Christmas on a budget.