diy advent calendars

November 29th, 2012

We took out our advent calendar and hung it up yesterday. The children were ecstatic–their mother less so. I’d like to make a new advent calendar, something sparkly and with more candy involved.  Sounds like an easy sell to a bunch of kids, right? Oh no, my daughter started asking about advent activities before Halloween. I do love many of the things we do during advent, but around the 20th I run out of energy. If my kids weren’t such sticklers for tradition, these are some of the advent calendars I might make:

advent books

Books! 24 christmas books! Looks awesome, but sounds expensive, right? All the books don’t have to be new: use what you have, hit the thrift store, wrap a library book (why not?!). I think this is a great, simple, no-stress advent calendar. The kids get the excitement of opening a present each day and you all get to cozy up together on the couch every evening.

printable advent calendar boxes

Many Christmas songs and traditions come from Germany, so why not an advent calendar too? All 24 of these sweet boxes are printed with a christmas scene or saying (in german). And they are available as a free download!

advent candles

I love the idea of lighting a candle every night for advent. And I love even more the thought of having 25 candles burning for christmas dinner!  Here is another advent calendar that uses tea lights and a tutorial for numbered luminaries.

advent envelopes

Martha Stewart always makes office supplies look awesome. This would be a great advent calendar for flat gifts: stickers, temporary tattoos, coloring pages, more stickers, cards, other flat things.

printable advent calendar

Yes, this is an activity advent calendar, but it’s free and printable and totally awesome! Plus Mr. Printable is a great site for (flat!) things to put in all these advent calendars too! Go check him out.

advent countdown

Delia from delia creates made this super huge! super fantastic! countdown to christmas advent calendar. Pop on over to her post to see this and so many more amazing christmas things she made.

Have you unearthed your advent calendar yet? Or are you making one? Or are you going the chocolate calendar route?


Posted in christmas.

21 Responses to diy advent calendars

  1. molly says:

    oh, goody! this is an awesome round-up. i’ve so ogled that book idea (so so SOOOO up my alley), but shaken my head over the expense. but thrift stores! library sales!! library BOOKS!!! brilliant.

    also, i want 25 candles.

    happy adventing.

  2. Kristin says:

    We actually do the lego calendar and the playmobil ones. Less stress for me and the kids love them to pieces. (they are really cheap after the holidays so I get them for the next year)

    I banned the chocolate ones at our house because my daughter was eating them all!

  3. Molly says:

    When our elf visited us last weekend, he brought a magic bag from Santa. Every night before bed a “new” book appears. The books have come from all over. Some were mine as a kid, some I bought this year, but the bulk of them my son has received as gifts from family. It’s been really great so far.

  4. Lisa says:

    Just made an advent calender with pockets , going to mix it up, some activities , some times a mini treasure hunt for a “new” Christmas book or DVD, on lazy days a chocolate or some stickers. Love that book idea – maybe next year.

  5. Nancy says:

    I found a link on Pinterest to where she has created a free download of a Santa Claus (I know Santa isn’t really good for the meaning of advent but I think it will be cute for my 2 year old to do) advent calendar where each day you glue a cotton ball onto the number and by the time you reach 24 Santa has a full beard. I do like the idea of the books though too, just don’t think I could get my 2 year old to not open them all at once (maybe next year).

  6. carissaabc says:

    i did the advent books thing last year and loved it! the thing that initially stopped me (after I figured out that we could supplement our collection with library books) was not wanting to spend hours every year wrapping all those books and creating that big pile of paper trash, so i created simple felt envelopes that we’ll use over and over for years to come. here’s the easy tutorial:

    we also use a strand of mini stockings that i sewed up the first year we were married. Now, they contain either another character to add to our nativity scene or a fun activity to do together. Last year was the first year we did these traditions, so I’m excited to try them again and see how much my son remembers!

  7. Carla says:

    Oh one of these daysIve got to get my butt in gear and do more than the store bought chocolate advent. I could really get into the candles, although I’m with your kids, the activity advent you made rocks!

  8. *margie* says:

    I love the wrapped books! What a great idea for kids to count down the days! I went the cute-little-numbered-envelope route! It’s our first year doing this, but I hope to make a tradition out of it.

  9. Charlotte says:

    This year I’m buying a chocolate one, I’ve started making a cross stitch on linen pocket one but its so not going to be ready for this year. Hopefully next year I can use it to put a mix of to dos and chocolates in

  10. Becky says:

    I have a pocket one I made years ago that I was just reminded needed to be put out by tomorrow! I do a mix of activities and candy in the pockets that require coordination with our actual calendar. I’ve learned the hard way over the years it’s too hard to fit it all in, so I have activities like “Play in the orchestra concert” on night of her orchestra concert and I leave “Bake Christmas cookies” for a day that is currently clear on the calendar and I either keep it clear or I rearrange it as needed. It’s a great way to get rid of some of that halloween candy that’s still hanging around too.

  11. Irene says:

    Love the books!! I just posted a quick and easy photo advent calendar that is fun for kids.

  12. sanae says:

    I’m going to have to try the book advent idea next year – such a great one! We are huge book lovers. Just finished making our advent calendar and my daughter is so excited to start tomorrow!

  13. Amaya says:

    Bello! I read you in silent, but this post makes me write! I have created my own advent calendar too, it’s a Christmas tree, with little bags for candies, you can see it here:

    I love all the options that you described in your post, really beautiful!

  14. Lisa says:

    You can see our advent calendar at the end of this post : -I’m a bit late this year, it’s still packed away! I usually do very small things, or slips of paper telling them where to look.

  15. Growing up we had one at the bottom of the stairs so as soon as you come down the stairs in the morning you get to open a little ornament for a mini tree. So fun!

    Almost wishing i was doing one this year but its just my husband and i-not as much fun opening it all yourself. The candles could be a good idea for just us two!

    Can’t wait to see yours!

  16. Jane says:

    I love the examples you’ve shown! I finally got it together this year to make an Advent Calendar for my daughter (she’s 5). I found colorful small paper bags and filled each one with either a holiday activity (“let’s decorate cookies”, “let’s make wrapping paper”, Let’s go look at Christmas lights” etc ..) or with a small toy or trinket.
    The trick is to record on MY calendar which activity is coming up for that day so I’m prepared!

  17. Helen says:

    full confession: I quietly let the advent calendar languish. No one brought it up. But we did take a night to make lists of friends and family and what to make for them. We picked a softy pattern for a cousin, we plotted gifts for friends. So lots of crafting will happen just like with the calendar but somehow the pressure’s off to adhere to the damn schedule that calendar imposes. Liberating.

  18. Mary says:

    We have 24 mini-stockings that hang on the mantle. Every night, the elf leaves a small gift in that day’s stocking. I have 2 sons, so they alternate who gets the gift. My 18 month old has been getting animals to add to his Little People Noah’s Ark, and my 4 year old has been getting little action figures. It’s been fun this year- my older son wakes up wanting to see what the elf left over the night.

  19. Karin says:

    Stealing the first idea for Hanukkah next year!

  20. Mom says:

    keep looking for you. Love your blog, doncha know.

  21. Kate says:

    Thank you for sharing Mr. Printables website! I am a K-1 teacher and didn’t know about this sight – I’m so excited to share this with my students and start new projects! Do you know about DLTK Kids?