Seasons Greetings! I’m so happy to share these fantastic DIY advent calendar ideas with you, today. Counting down to Christmas is sure more creative than it was when I was young. Back then, there wasn’t much to offer in the world of advent calendars save the disposable ones you got at the supermarket that were filled with, let’s face it, pretty bad cheapo-chocolate.
Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the feeling of opening day 1 each year knowing that the most magical time of year was back once again…but it would have been even better perhaps with a cooler calendar.
Luckily, as the years have gone by, Christmas advent calendars have really come a long, long way!
Nowadays, you can certainly still buy the disposable type with chocolates…probably even bad chocolate, but there are also LEGO countdown calendars, fun advent calendars with socks, countdowns with makeup, jewelry, and many many more options if you want to purchase one (check out this article with our favorite countdown calendars to buy).
But today it’s all about DIY! And frankly, I think these ideas are way better than anything you could buy. With a little time, and some holiday cheer, you can be well on your way to creating a one-of-a-kind countdown calendar to be cherished by your family this year, and for many more Christmases to come.
Oh, and question for you…is your home organized, decluttered, and ready for the holidays? No?! Well, you aren’t alone! Clutter can suck the joy out of the holiday season. So don’t let it steal yours! Grab your free copy of “Decluttering for Christmas” it’s my quick tip guide to help you declutter so that you can relax and enjoy this holiday season!⤵️
33 Awesome & Affordable DIY Advent Calendar Ideas
1. Colorful Felt Pocket Nativity Scene Calendar | Lovely Indeed
I’m a sucker for color, so this idea is probably one of my favorites.
That, plus the fact that the felt pockets here are stuffed with a mini nativity scene that builds and builds each day of December, until the last day when you add little baby Jesus to the mix for a beautiful and meaningful Christmas scene.
2. Magical Mousetrap Countdown Calendar | Fynes Designs
Virginia of Fynes Designs will show you how to DIY your own Christmas tree-shaped advent calendar from a simple wood scaffold, and…mousetraps!
Bonus: this idea can make a great Christmas card holder, too!
3. Ladder Countdown Calendar and Card Holder | Tatertots and Jello
Jen shows how you can wisely use a ladder two ways for the season.
The first being a card holder, the second being a fun Christmas advent calendar complete with numbered muslin bags, and embellished with candy canes and ornaments to make it even more festive.
4. Pretty Plywood Christmas Countdown Calendar | Pine + Poplar
If you have a sheet of plywood at home, great! Zoe shows you how you can fashion it either one of two ways to create a simple square countdown board, or this more shapely tree.
Use a mini-wreath, or favorite ornament to move along as you count down til Christmas.
5. Angel Advent | The Inspiration Edit
Many craft stores sell a pre-made advent calendar, like this one that is made of wood.
Paint it, decoupage it, or otherwise embellish it as you desire to make your own, personalized Christmas tree advent calendar to use year after year. This one done with an adorable angel-theme.
6. Barn Wood Slatted Tree with Rustic Wood Ornaments | Hearth and Vine
Patti will show you how to create this simple, primitive tree, as well as the numbered chalkboard ornaments.
Fun surprise…the back of the ornaments are super colorful, and painted with the alcohol dyes that are all the rage!
7. 3D Paper Tree with Pop In Ornaments | Barley and Birch
What a precious printable advent idea from Barley and Birch. You can download the free printable 3D template from their site.
They geniusly show you how to make the little paper ornaments pop into the tree each day. When December is over, they pop right out so you can use this year after year, or let the kids color a new one next season, your choice!
8. Numbered Magnetic Gift Boxes | Lemon Thistle
I love this genius idea of Colleen’s! If space is at a premium, or you don’t want to put lots of nail holes in a wall, this magnetic countdown calendar is perfection! You can put it right on the fridge!
Decorate your boxes, fill with goodies, or little gifts of your choice, and you’re off to the December races! No hammer or nails required!
9. Paper Bag Advent | Mom Hacks 101
packages bags tied up with sting clothespins…these are a few of my favorite advent things!
Seriously nothing special, fancy, or expensive is needed to make this awesome advent craft. Those paper bags for school lunches will come in handy for this simple project, and hanging it vertically is a big space saver, too.
10. Putz-Style Paper House Christmas Village Countdown | The DIY Mommy
If this idea isn’t adorable, I don’t know what else is. Then again, I’m a TOTAL sucker for a Christmas village (which is why I’ve made my own ceramic version that I add to each year).
Christina shares the printable files, and uses a Cricut for this project (I use the Brother Scan-N-Cut version of this tool), but you could also do this the old-fashioned way with scissors and your handy hot glue gun.
Once the houses are constructed, stash a little treat under each house.
Don’t forget to grab your free Christmas decluttering helper!⤵️
11. Santa’s Beard Countdown | Little Ladoo
Give kids a daily task that they will love, and that will help them to countdown the days until Santa comes to visit!
Grab some cotton balls, stash them close-by, and each day let the little ones help Santa get his snow white beard ready for the big day!
12. Wood House Tiered Advent Idea | Inspiration for Moms
Here’s another Christmas village-style idea…not surprising, I adore this one as well! Laura will show you how she used these little wood house kits, numbered them, and wired them with lights.
As you count toward the holiday, you can choose to light up a new house each night, add a treat under each house, or do both!
13. Advent Wreath by Kids Activities Blog
This advent idea doubles as an adorable wreath! This is fun to make and doesn’t require a ton of supplies to create.
14. Birch Wood Slice Tree Calendar | Making Manzanita
This beautiful calendar idea is so organic and earthy. If you love wood tones in your home, this is one you’ll definitely want to make.
15. Free Printable Coloring Advent Activity Calendar | A Little Pinch of Perfect
Give kids a daily coloring activity as they count the days until the holiday with this free printable.
Each day, a unique paper ornament can be colored, then attached to the Christmas tree.
16. Random Acts of Kindness Calendar | Lovely Indeed
Adorable, and done with heart. Either create your own random acts of kindness ideas for each envelope, or become a subscriber over at Lovely Indeed, and you can get the free printable files sent to you.
17. Christmas Book Advent | A Plus Teaching
Give your family the gift of a holiday read-aloud story a day with this festive and fun book Christmas countdown idea.
Originally posted by an awesome teacher who created this for her classroom, I so appreciate this concept as a parent, too! There are so many wonderful Christmas books to read and share, so this idea couldn’t be more lovely…and educational to boot!
18. Soda Crate Calendar with Muslin Bags and Tags | Thistle Key Lane
Ever seen a vintage soda crate at your local flea market or antique store? I see them all the time, and always wonder what I could do with them. Well, Michelle had an inspired moment when she created this awesome advent idea!
Grab the free printable tag templates to add to your own little muslin bags, and close them up with some festive butcher twine. Simple and very charming.
19. DIY Lego Christmas Advent Calendar | Little Bins for Little Hands
Lego lovers are going to squeal with delight at this daily building challenge!
20. Holiday Activity Ideas | Thistle Key Lane
Another inspired idea from Michelle and Thistle Key Lane. Grab some large shipping labels/tags and number them. Hang from a frame with some butcher twine.
Then sneak a peek at her great list of 24 holiday activity ideas that you can do throughout the month with the family and use one for each day of your advent calendar. Oh what fun!
21. Acts of Kindness Advent | Down Redbud Drive
Encourage your kids to spread the holiday spirit with this daily kindness advent idea. Instead of receiving, this calendar flips the script and will foster a spirit of giving each day leading up to Christmas day.
The whole family can get in on the fun, and will hopefully embrace doing good for others as anticipation for Christmas builds!
22. Matchboxes on a Cookie Sheet | The Craft Patch Blog
How sweet is this idea from Jennifer at The Craft Patch Blog? Gather some matchboxes and scrapbook them up to your heart’s content. She painted her cookie sheet to make the whole display more colorful…and we approve, right?
Jennifer suggests filling the matchboxes with activity ideas…but you could also do random acts of kindness, jokes, Bible verses, or even little toys, charms, or sugary treats. The opportunities are many, though the boxes are adorably small.
23. Tin Can Upcycled Calendar | Pillar Box Blue
Claire never ceases to amaze the way she turns nothing into something beautiful. Case in point, she upcycled 25 used tin cans into this perfect countdown calendar.
Nothing fancy needed, just a little time and DIY ambition. Her tutorial will show you all you need to know!
Fill them with cookies, candies, small gifts, stickers or other goodies. The choice is yours!
24. Antique Display Rack Turned Advent Idea | Sunny Side Design
What an amazing antique find this vintage display rack was, right?
While you may not be able to find something identical, you can still create a similar look with the free downloadable files for both the numbers, and the fun activity ideas that are stashed inside each delightful envelope.
25. Drop Cloth Bag DIY Calendar | Zucchini Sisters
Drop cloths are great, not just for painting projects, but if you want an inexpensive, neutral fabric to craft with.
Case in point? These darling drop cloth DIY bags used for this country-chic advent idea, complete with darling seasonal trinkets and little wood slice numbers.
26. Dog Treat Advent | Drugstore Divas
We can’t forget about the family dog at the holidays! Give Fido a bone everyday as we count down the days. Humans shouldn’t be the only ones over-indulging on cookies at the holidays!
27. Bottlecap December Countdown Calendar | Charleston Crafted
Adults can take on this calendar as a personal challenge for the month of December. Don’t let a day go unfilled. Because sometimes the holidays call for a treat slightly stronger than chocolate.
28. Vintage Shutter Countdown Idea | DIY Beautify
I love old shutters. We use ours as a Christmas card display, but Cindy from DIY Beautify has another cool idea for hers…she put together a fun advent idea, with some cool envelopes and twine. And the buffalo check ribbons and pinecone embellishments are a cheery addition, too!
29. Move The Tree | Jaime Costiglio
Such a unique idea from Jaime. And you worry…you don’t have to be a master woodworker to take this project on!
Your kids will love moving the tree one spot each day toward Christmas. And it’s the perfect size and shape for your mantel…or mantle…however you wanna spell it ;).
30. Christmas Activities Advent | The Printables Fairy
Skip the little treats and give your family a festive activity every day in December with this printable advent idea you can purchase on Etsy and easily DIY into a very traditional lift-the-flap style countdown calendar.
Instead of cheap (let’s face it, kinda gross) chocolates, this version has a different family activity to complete each day…from making reindeer food, to performing random acts of kindness, it’s a month full of family fun in one sweet printable calendar.
31. Santa’s Sack Advent Garland | Tikkido
This garland is cute for decorating and the little sacks (which you can buy or DIY) can be filled with a treat a day, or the free printable activity cards for the season!
32. Christmas Kindness Advent Printable | Coffee and Carpool
Encourage your kids to spread kindness with this free printable calendar. It has so many good ideas for spreading holiday happiness in your community.
33. Printable Advent Paper Village | Honey and Lime
This printable pack contains all the embellishments you’ll need to decorate your Christmas countdown, made with the simplest materials…construction paper and some small cardboard boxes.
That’s a wrap! 30+ darling DIY ways to help your family countdown to Christmas this year. I truly hope it is a wonderful, happy, healthy, and joyous season for you and yours!
On the hunt for more holiday ideas and inspiration? Be sure to check out these articles, too!
Pin this project for later! And if you decide to try it, leave a comment on the pin! That helps others know whether they want to try it, too!
Before you leave…it’s hard to enjoy the holiday season when we look around and all we see is clutter. Take control of the clutter, so you can truly relax this Christmas – our free Christmas decluttering guide will help! I’ve reserved a free copy for you. Grab it here! ⤵