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Top Ideas for The Best DIY Advent Calendar for Kids

September 25th, 2023

The Christmas Countdown Is On

10 Fresh DIY Takes on the Traditional Advent Calendar

“How many nights until Santa comes again? How many days till Christmas?” For many children, the countdown to Christmas can seem unbearably long. Even in the midst of holiday decorating, Christmas parties and gift wrapping, the day they actually get to open all their gifts under the tree can feel like it’s a million years away.

Advent calendars are a fun and creative way to tick off the days leading to Christmas. While the concept started in 19th century Germany by lighting nightly candles or placing a straw a day in a Nativity crib, wooden Advent calendars with tiny drawers to fill were later introduced and met with instant popularity.

Today, Advent calendars remain a fun and whimsical way to keep the holiday season magically enchanting for the little ones. While there
are a variety of prefilled Advent calendars on the market, there really is nothing like making such a cherished Christmas tradition uniquely yours by making it yourself. The best part of all? Your Advent calendar can be anything you want it to be! The North Pole’s the limit when it comes to bringing your vision to life.

Here are 10 DIY ideas to get you started.

1.     Mini Gift Boxes

Decorate and number 25 small gift boxes, then fill them with small toys, candy or trinkets. You can hang them along the wall, put them in a basket, or place one next to their breakfast each morning. Each day, your child will open a new box with delight.

2.     Paper Chain Countdown

Cut colorful strips out of construction paper and paste them into circles to create a paper chain. On each of the 25 links, write a fun
activity or a clue about where to find a hidden treat. As your child tears off a link a day, your chain will become smaller and smaller as their smiles get bigger and bigger.

3.     Envelope Surprises

Decorate 25 numbered envelopes and place a small piece of candy, a gift card, or a ticket for a fun activity inside each one. Then, decoratively
display the envelopes with clothes pins on a string or even on the Christmas tree.

4.     Puzzle Pieces

Print a favorite holiday photo and cut it into 25 interconnecting pieces. Each day, your little one can add another piece to the puzzle. By the end, they’ll have a fun and festive image to adore (pro tip: frame it!), and they’ll feel proud and accomplished.  

5.     Holiday Activity Jars

Festively decorate the lid of a mason jar, then fill it with 25 different activities or gift “coupons” written on pieces of paper. Each day, they’ll draw one fun activity or a new surprise from the jar to keep them entertained for hours.

6.     Nature Advent Calendar

Calling all nature lovers! Encourage your child to spend time outdoors and discover winter’s bounty by bringing in one special treasure
a day. Pinecones, acorns and leaves. Hang them along a branch with string to create a rustic, one-of-a-kind holiday display.

7.     Interactive Storytime

Write a holiday-themed story that’s broken up into 25 parts. Each night, you can read that night’s “chapter” together. You can even make
your child the star of the story and fill the plot with all their favorite things and favorite people. For an extra special touch, end each night’s storytime cuddle with a small gift tucked under their pillow.

8.     Get a Little Crafty

A craft a day keeps the boredom away! Prepare 25 craft kits, one for each day, to inspire them to fill their days with creativity as the Christmas countdown continues. Include all the supplies and instructions they need and dedicate an area to merrily display the finished results.

9.     New Socks, Who Dis

Everyone loves a new pair of socks! Number 25 small gift bags and fill each one with warm and cozy socks to keep their little toes warm. Surprise them with fuzzy socks, sports socks, socks that have their favorite cartoon characters, or even personalized socks that have their photo or very own name.

10.  North Pole Mailbox

Together with your child, turn an empty shoebox into a magical North Pole mailbox. Each day, add a special note or small treat from Santa’s
elves for your child to discover. They’ll know they’re already on Santa’s nice list and will run to the mailbox every day with joy and anticipation.


“No DIY Required” Suggestion: Not feeling very crafty? Or does all the fa-la-la of the holidays leave you with no time to spare? Consider buying a custom Advent calendar you can use year after year. As your child grows and changes, so will the surprises inside!

No matter what type of Advent calendar you make, the memories are sure to last a lifetime. Fill every day with the magic of the holidays, one small surprise at a time.

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