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The Best DIY Advent Calendar Ideas For Kids and Adults

If you’re looking for some creative DIY advent calendar ideas for kids and adults, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve rounded up the best homemade advent calendars that are perfect for all ages.

Whether you want to know how to make your own advent calendar or buy a pre-made one that you can add your own gifts to, there’s an option here for everyone.

So grab your glue gun and get ready to have some fun making the 24 days of Christmas countdown extra special!

Diy advent calendar ideas

The Advent Calendar: A Christmas Tradition

An advent calendar is a popular Christmas tradition for counting down the days until Christmas Day. You can make your own advent calendar or buy a pre-made one from retail stores.

They range from simple paper calendars with scratch-off countdowns to elaborate gift-filled options that make every single day in December feel like Christmas morning.

The most popular option tends to be a candy or chocolate advent calendar, and you can pick up one of these pretty cheap at the supermarket or department store once December nears.

But what is much more fun is making your own creative advent calendar at home because you can choose the type of gifts that go in it, making it the perfect personalised Christmas countdown for your kids or partner (or for yourself… no judgment here)!

Tips For Creating Your Own Advent Calendar

Diy advent calendar supplies

Plan Ahead. Start in early November to make the countdown is ready to go by the time December 1st arrives.

Consider creating a ‘theme’ with your advent calendar so the gifts all relate to one another.

This is especially great if you want to add an educational element or create your homemade advent calendar around a collection of smaller gifts that all fit together.

If you find yourself time-poor by the time November rolls around each year, consider creating or purchasing a reusable advent calendar to save yourself time each year.

This way you only need to pop in new gifts each year.

You can use almost anything for your December countdown. Wrapped and numbered gifts, small bags, numbered pegs to hang on a line, decorated cards or little wooden or cardboard boxes.

Should an advent calendar have 24 or 25 days?

Either is fine. Some count down just until Christmas Eve as the last day before Christmas, while others have a final countdown for the 25th of December too. It’s up to you what you prefer to do.

DIY Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids

When making your own advent calendar for kids, the sky is pretty much the limit.

You can craft a calendar out of anything you have around your house, and pack it with any type of small gift or activity that will excite your little one on the days leading up to December 25th!

When creating a Christmas advent calendar for kids, you can wrap little gifts for each day or gift a special treat, or create a daily task with family activities or acts of kindness for others.

A few ideas for things to include in a kid’s advent calendar are:

  • Christmas books
  • Candy canes
  • Small toys
  • Pieces of a larger toy set given in a few pieces each day – LEGO sets are great for this
  • Puzzle pieces
  • A daily special treat
  • Craft supplies
  • Mini card games
  • Find more ideas for advent fillers here.

RELATED READING: Non-candy party bag fillers & party favour alternatives

Now it’s time to create your own DIY countdown calendars. Some simple ideas for crafting a DIY advent calendar for kids are:

1. DIY Tiered Wooden Advent Houses

Tiered wooden advent houses sitting on a bench.

These wooden tiered advent houses are incredible and you can follow the full tutorial to make your own version. This DIY turned out so good that Hobby Lobby made their own version to sell. Cheeky!

2. Brown Paper Bags

Brown paper bags are a great option if you want a very affordable and easy DIY advent calendar option.

Any little gift bags will work however there is something very classy about the look of the brown paper bags with simple decorations.

Use paper doilies, ribbons and twine, pom poms, pegs and stickers as a great way to make them pretty. And if the thought of remaking all your decorations each year sounds like a lot of work, why not make a set you can reuse?

The number cards and gift tags on each of the paper bag advents above can be reused each year with a new set of brown paper bags and surprises.

3. Hanging Fabric Bags

Fabric bag advent calendar

If you are handy with a sewing machine, create little fabric bags with pull string openings to hold your advent countdown treats.

This idea is great because it is a reusable advent calendar option, once you make it the first time.

And you can either sit them in a basket or do as they have here and hang them on a large branch using twine. You could even add a string of Christmas lights to the branch!

4. Toilet Paper Tube Advent Calendar

Toilet paper tube advent calendar

This easy to make advent calendar uses something you already have at home, toilet paper rolls! It’s fun for kids and adults alike to punch through the paper to find a treat. Find out how to make your own toilet roll advent calendar

5. Recycled Tin Can Advent Calendar

Recycled tin can advent calendar

Save your old soup cans to make this fun advent calendar. The upcycled tin cans can be stacked into a festive Christmas tree shape.

6. Muffin Tin Advent Calendar

Muffin tin advent calendar

Reuse this DIY muffin tin advent calendar year after year! Make custom covers, or use the free printables! This is a quick and easy option that is also budget-friendly when creating your own DIY advent for kids (or adults).

7. Recycled Dictionary Hanging Advent

Dictionary diy advent calendar

Use an old dictionary to make a fun and educational advent calendar. Fill the handmade paper envelopes with personalised treats.

8. Surprise Punch Box Advent Calendar

Punch box advent calendar diy

Easy surprise punch box advent calendar that anyone can make! Learn how to create your own DIY advent calendar with a surprise punch box!

9. Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar

Diy advent calendar

For a slightly different take on the toilet roll advent, this one is in the formation of a tree, with push through treat tubes. This is a thrifty idea and you could easily make one for each child. Just make sure you start saving your rolls nice and early!

10. Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Acts of kindness advent calendar

Put the focus back on giving this holiday season with this Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar! Make up your own ideas to fill it with or use the free printable list for easy printable acts of kindness ideas!

11. Scratch Off Ornament Advent Calendar

Scratch off ornament advent calendar

These DIY scratch off ornaments are perfect as a family advent calendar idea, with each day giving a new task or activity for the family or kids to complete. This is a fun way to enjoy the Christmas spirt all through December.

Tip: If you are making your own advent calendar, consider making your 24 of December gift a Christmas Eve box filled with fun activities and extra special items for a family Christmas Eve celebration.

12. Gift Tree Advent

Advent calendar tree with small gift boxes and decorations.

Use a mini Christmas tree as an advent tree with little gifts hung on the tree like this one.

13. Felt Non-Candy Advent Tree

Diy felt advent calendar shaped like a christmas tree with decorations.

This adorable hanging felt advent tree has little gifts for each day of the month as a non-candy alternative to the Christmas countdown.

14. Puzzle Cube Christmas Countdown

Puzzle cube diy advent calendar with coloured christmas tree.

For a printable advent calendar that the kids can help you decorate, this puzzle cube advent is a fun idea for younger kids that you can put little treats in.

15. Wooden Pallet Calendar

Wooden pallet advent tree with two little boys opening gifts.

This wooden pallet advent tree is a beautiful handmade calendar with little hanging bags you can fill with gifts and treats. It makes a lovely Christmas decoration in your home throughout December too.

16. Christmas Tree Advent

Cone shaped christmas tree advent calendar.

These Christmas tree cones are a fun way to create your own decorative Christmas village with hidden treats under each numbered cone.

17. Advent Envelopes

Envelope advent calendar hanging on a wall.

You really can’t get much easier than these advent envelopes that you can hang on display on a string or sit in a basket ready to be opened.

DIY Advent Calendar Ideas for Adults

Advent calendars aren’t just for kids! Adults and teens are just as excited about daily gifts and treats each December! Adult advent calendars are also a really fun gift idea.

And you can create a DIY advent calendar for adults or teens to suit pretty much any hobby, interest and budget.

Create gift based advent calendars, adding an adult spin to the ideas above, or create a simple count down advent to build excitement in the lead up to December 25th.

If rather than just a Christmas countdown, you want to gift an adult or teen with a daily surprise, here are some fun advent calendar fillers for adults:

  • Small bottles or cans of favourite beverages
  • Beauty and pamper items
  • Stationery items
  • Fancy chocolates
  • Hot cocoa supplies
  • Homemade treats

Find 60+ more advent calendar filler ideas if you need more inspiration.

Any of the kid’s advent calendar ideas above work great for adults as well, but here are some more DIY advent calendar ideas for adults and teens:

18. Fabric Christmas Countdown With Pockets

Fabric diy advent calendar

Sew your own decorative fabric advent calendar for your family. Super cute and fun to make! Inside the pockets, add small treats, notes, Christmas jokes or other small surprises.

19. Bottle Cap Advent Tree

Bottle cap wooden advent tree

Advent calendars aren’t just for kids! Get adults in on the fun with this bottle cap calendar. For a generous twist, you could always gift 25 of their favourite beverage to go alongside it so they can have one a day to fill the holes as the countdown begins.

20. Wooden Wall Mounted Advent Tree

Rustic wall mounted advent calendar

Build a wall-mounted advent calendar for your family. This DIY wooden Advent Calendar will become your family’s treasured Christmas decoration.

RELATED READING: 100+ Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids

Family Activities Advent Calendar

If you’re looking for fun advent calendar ideas loaded with Christmas activities, you can easily start your own family Advent traditions with an annual activity calendar.

Instead of being gift-focused, each day brings a new family activity or task to do together.

Some of these days may be Christmas preparation tasks, while others can simply be fun things to do together in the lead up to Christmas Day. This type of Advent calendar is a great idea if you have a larger family and don’t want to have an individual calendar for each family member.

To do this, you can write out or print activities for each day of the countdown. Or add related gifts and essential items for the daily task as a daily numbered gift to go with the activity.

Here are some activity ideas for creating your own family activities advent calendar:

  • Put up the Christmas tree
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Go out looking at Christmas lights
  • Do a Christmas craft project
  • Attend the local carols night
  • Do a random act of kindness for a neighbour
  • Play Christmas music
  • Go shopping for a special new Christmas tree ornament
  • Play a board game together
  • Make hot cocoa

If you love the idea of having an advent calendar but are running out of time to make your own DIY version, there are some really cool pre-made advent calendars available so I’ve put together a list of some great options just in case.

Pre-Made Advent Calendars For Kids and Adults

If you're short on time or want to skip the DIY options this time around, here are some fun advent calendars you can buy plus some reusable options that you can re-fill each year with new treats and gifts.

Final Thoughts: Homemade Advent Calendar Ideas

We’ve shared a few DIY advent calendar ideas for kids and adults. From simple countdown calendars to elaborate gifts and activities to build the Christmas spirit all December long. Now it’s up to you to choose which one is right for your family! Have fun with this holiday tradition, be creative, and enjoy every moment of the countdown until Christmas day arrives!

For more fun holiday gifting ideas, check out these gift exchange games and themes.

Diy advent calendar ideas for kids and adults

Sophia Barne

Wednesday 14th of December 2022

The random acts of kindness advent truly has my heart! I found this post weeks ago and decided to try it out on my two preteens. Since we refinished our floors last month my husband made me promise to keep Christmas expenses to a minimum. I thought the acts of kindness countdown would still help my family look forward to the holiday while remembering the reason for the season. We're now 13 days into it and my kids genuinely seem happier and more excited to celebrate Christmas. Thanks for the inspo!


Thursday 7th of October 2021

I love an advent calendar, especially a handmade one. There are some great ideas here. Thank you for including my dictionary advent.


Saturday 9th of October 2021

Such a beautiful idea!