How to Make Your Own DIY Advent Calendar

November 23, 2021

One of my favorite parts about the holidays is having way too many advent calendars around. I just love the idea of counting down the days until Christmas, and if that comes with a mini present or sweet treat too, all the better. It’s the perfect time to start thinking about your own DIY advent calendar for this year.

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Start With the Calendar Base

There are so many great ways to build the structure of your advent calendar, from full DIY to guided kits to premade storage solutions you can use year after year. If you are more crafty, consider something made of plain wood, so you can make decorating it a fun activity itself.

Or if you are like me, you’ll want your advent calendar to be fully functional and ready to use right out of the box. Whatever you choose, there are options to fit all ranges of decor style and levels of Christmas glitz.

Homemade Treats Each Day

Now that you’ve got the basic idea for your advent calendar, it’s time to think about filling it! One of my favorite ideas is to make some delicious homemade sweets, and then pace myself to enjoy them throughout the month.

Think about what you’d get in a store-bought advent calendar, and how much better these will taste if they are fresh from the kitchen. Chocolates, caramels, truffles, candies — all of these tasty treats are the perfect bite of sweetness to celebrate each day in December.

Chestnut Chocolate Truffles

From Binky’s Culinary Carnival

Chocolate Covered Honeycomb Candy

From House of Nash Eats

Soy Sauce Caramel Candies

From Slumber & Scones

Festive White Chocolate Fudge

From That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Puppy Chow Truffles

From Sugar and Soul

Pumpkin Spice Pecan Toffee

From What a Girl Eats

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

From The Spiffy Cookie

Cinnamon Rock Candy

From Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

Who doesn’t love getting a mini gift every day of December? This year, try DIYing your own advent calendar, so you are sure to love every bit of it!

Food & Kitchen Themed Fillings

If you don’t want to put in the extra work of making your own treats, there are still plenty of ways to pack your advent calendar full of delicious candies or fun items for the kitchen. Whether you are thinking from a decor perspective, or want something more consumable, I love the idea of opening a surprise flavor, pattern, or color each day.

Non-Kitchen & Other Ideas

If you’d rather stay away from daily food or kitchen gifts, there are so many other options and ideas to try. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Buy a new puzzle, and separate out the pieces into each day, so you can build part of the puzzle building up to the big reveal on Christmas Eve.
  • Have friends and family fill out recipe cards so you have enough for each day. Then you can get together and cook new ideas for all of December or all year.
  • Start with a base to build on like a mini tree, charm bracelet, or sticker book on the 1st. Then each subsequent day, the gift is something to add on, like ornaments, charms, or sticker sheets.
  • Build up a craft supply with a new addition each day, like paint brushes, scrapbook stickers, or washi tapes. Then you can use these to make your own gift tags and decorations.
  • Fill out mini cards with holiday wishes like “drink hot cocoa” or “make up a new carol” and open one each day. Then you can try to accomplish each Christmas goal before the big day arrives.
  • Try a little self-care to cut down on the stress of the season. There are so many relaxing little trinkets you can gift yourself, or fill your calendar with happy thoughts to start each morning.

Make Each Surprise Exciting

Here are a few extra tips for how to incorporate advent calendars into your holiday fun!

It will become a daily ritual, so I like to fit it into my routine. Is there something else your family does each morning or evening together, like watch a favorite show or talk about your days? Add in the advent calendar surprise.

If 24 or 25 days are too many, cut it down to 12, for the twelve days of Christmas. You can do something every other day, or start partway through the month. Or you could do something weekly, similar to an advent wreath, for an even simpler countdown.

You can make it a whole event by adding more magical details. Add a fun note to each day’s gift, or sing a Christmas carol before you open each drawer. If your calendar treat isn’t a sweet, then you could try pairing it with a decorated cookie.

If you have a big family, 24 or 25 are great numbers to work with when it comes to dividing up who gets to open each drawer or bag. With my sisters, we created a system where I was responsible for the multiples of three. Then my two older sisters each had odds or evens in between. We all came together to finish with day 25.

You still have a few days to get your advent calendar together, so now is the perfect time to get started. Enjoy your little daily gifts to yourself and your family, or gift an advent calendar to a friend for some fun surprises to spread the cheer!


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