How to Make Your Own Advent Calendars


It’s officially Christmas season! Bring on the eggnog, nutmeg, fruit cakes, and the decking of the halls with boughs of holly and the fa-la-la-la-la. Best of all, bring on the countdown! And, no, I’m not referring to the countdown to New Year’s Eve; I’m referring to the delicious countdown to Christmas! I am, of course, referring to advent calendars in all their delicious glory.

Now you could buy an advent calendar — many people do. But if you were to make your own, you could reuse or recycle something and cut down on waste. You’d be doing your bit for the planet in one more eco-friendly way. Every year, at Christmas, waste levels rise by over 30%. People are ditching packaging, wrapping paper, and all the Christmas trappings, and the planet is suffering.

Another upside to making your own advent calendar is that you can put your favorite chocolates or candies in the calendar; you may like milk chocolate, or you may have a favorite brand. Well, the sky’s the limit as far as treats are concerned. Or you could make a tea advent calendar with tea bags. I did that one Christmas and it was a blast.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s get onto the advent calendars!

10 Ideas to Create Your Own Advent Calendars

1. Paper City Christmas Advent Calendar

You could print out this adorable paper city calendar for free, and then you’d have the best advent calendar on the block. Get it? On the block. Okay, moving on.

2. Kraft Box Christmas Advent Calendar

This inspired idea utilizes little craft boxes that you then fill with papers that have tasks printed out on them so you don’t forget anything in the big lead up to Christmas. I particularly like the reminder about the Christmas tree because I always seem to leave that until the last minute.

3. Geometric Christmas Advent Tree Calendar

If you want to get a bit more creative this year — or even if you have a plain old advent tree knocking around that you’ve been meaning to spruce up — this is for you. I love the bright cheerful colors, and chances are that they will cheer you up just as much.

4. Matchbox Christmas Advent Calendar

Got some old empty matchboxes, spare wrapping paper, some glue, and some free time? Well, then look no further than this. The matchboxes are decorated and filled with advent treats. They look beautiful, and they’re already little boxes, so the sensation of opening a little gift every day is magnified.

5. Crystal Christmas Advent Calendar

I can’t resist this gorgeous printable because it looks like ice crystals! Look at it. Just look. Okay, so anyway, print this out and then make it because you want little ice crystals in your home that you can stash little gifts in. Who wouldn’t?

6. Clothes Hanger Christmas Advent Calendar

This is my favorite advent calendar and I seem to gravitate to it every year. It isn’t just laziness on my part. It’s just that I adore the sight of all the oddly shaped and wrapped parcels hanging on a clothes hanger that has been wrapped with some tinsel and decorated. It has a charm that cannot be overstated.

7. Light Chain Christmas Advent Calendar

One of the most unique advent calendars I’ve ever seen, this one features little transparent bags that hint tantalizingly at what reposes within. Make sure you buy LED lights for this because they don’t get hot.

8. Bunting Christmas Advent Calendar

If you like bunting as much as I do — and why wouldn’t you, really — then this adorable bunting advent calendar is for you. You could pin little paper bags to the bunting with little wooden pegs or you could have corresponding boxes or paper bags below the bunting. Either way, this is a really cute advent calendar you won’t want to take down.

9. Bucket and Branch Christmas Advent Calendar

This advent calendar was inspired by Pottery Barn but was put together for less than $20. The tutorial is very helpful, and the knock off is just as pretty as the shop one. I think the pots hanging from the branches are so much fun.

10. Stacking Christmas Advent Calendar

I save tins because I always mean to recycle them and I forget, so they’re stacked in the corner of my pantry, waiting for me to remember they exist. If you’re nothing like me and you don’t have any tins, you can buy them. But maybe it’s just better to invest in lots of tinned tomatoes (or any other tinned goods you use often) and save those cans to make this gorgeous but low-in-effort stacked tins advent calendar. Did I mention there’s almost no effort to this? None.

Happy holidays, everyone! Have a wonderful festive season, no matter what you’re celebrating.

Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.

Which advent calendar are you going to make? Let us know below. And share photos of your favorite advent calendars on Facebook and Twitter!

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