Finding an aesthetically pleasing store-bought advent calendar that works with your home's style and doesn't take a chunk out of your holiday budget every year can be a challenge. Making your own advent calendar is a festive DIY project that you can tackle by yourself or with roommates, partners, or kids, a fun Christmas tradition that helps you to slow down and build anticipation as the big day approaches and another year comes to an end.
Like your tree decorations, holiday table, and seasonal mantel decor, your advent calendar should reflect your tastes and lifestyle. You can make an advent calendar out of upcycled and scavenged materials or simple items you can find at the craft store or online. Whether you choose to fill each day on the countdown calendar with Christmas sweets and treats, small toys, activity cards, or thoughtful notes is up to you.
Take a look at this selection of DIY advent calendars that range from minimal and modern to whimsical and nostalgic for inspiration on how to build your very own countdown to Christmas that will help you and yours wring a maximum of joy out of the holiday season.
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Use Modern Graphics
Creating your own DIY advent calendar allows you to tailor it to your home's scale and style, and doesn't necessarily require any special skills. Interior designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs created a striking advent calendar that doubles as decor in this organic modern neutral-toned interior using simple materials like envelopes, red stickers, and roomy goodie bags sourced online, and made a hanging structure with wooden dowels and string.Continue to 2 of 50 below.
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Try Muted Colors
Erica of @home.and.spirit made a simple DIY wall-mounted advent calendar with fabric drawstring bags in a soft holiday palette of muted greens and reds that complements the soothing neutral modern color scheme of the room.Continue to 3 of 50 below.
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Let It Roll
This fun interactive DIY advent calendar from Ohoh deco is made from recycled baby food glass jars and scrap wood. The jars are filled with treats and lids are decorated with numbers and elf stickers. Inclining shelves allow the jars to roll and tumble as each day's jar is removed, turning the elves–and your kid's frowns–upside down. The structure is simple to make and will last for years to come, a family tradition born out of a few upcycled materials and a little bit of wit and imagination.Continue to 4 of 50 below.
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The Merrythought proved once again that there is nothing a little pegboard can't do with this crisp and modern DIY advent calendar. Made with kraft card stock and DIY favor bags, the calendar has a graphic black-and-white look that makes it perfect for grownups and minimalists.Continue to 5 of 50 below.
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Embrace Unconventional Colors
The House That Lars Built created a colorful DIY paper light bulb advent calendar template that doubles as a holiday garland to dress up a mantel, bookshelf, tree, staircase banister, or a bare wall in need of some Christmas cheer. The use of non-traditional colors—pale pink and yellow mixed with bright blue and red—gives it a modern twist without taking away any of the holiday spirit.Continue to 6 of 50 below.
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Put a Message In a Bottle
This chic little bottle brush tree forest advent calendar from Your DIY Family is made with mini cork-top bottles each crowned with a tiny tree. Each glass vial is filled with a rolled up paper message full of Christmas tidings and joy, a thoughtful way to show the people that you love how much you care that lasts longer than a bonbon.Continue to 7 of 50 below.
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Make a Driftwood Wall Hanging
Blogger Annie Diamond of Most Lovely Things made this tree-shaped DIY advent calendar using clay tags, driftwood, drawstring bags, and greens that doubles as wall decor and could easily sub in for a conventional tree in a smaller space.Continue to 8 of 50 below.
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String It From the Bunkbed
Designer Annie Sloan strung an advent calendar from the top bunk of a kids room to keeps the holiday magic going all season for the little ones who appreciate it most of all. Chic DIY black-and-white drawstring bags echo the privacy curtain and can be reused from year to year.Continue to 9 of 50 below.
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Make It 3D
Lia Griffith built a whimsical 3D paper advent calendar village and stacked it on the mantel, a fun and timeless set of Christmas memorabilia that can be enjoyed for years to come.Continue to 10 of 50 below.
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Finding Lovely filled the empty space between windows in this airy Christmas living room with a large DIY advent calendar. Neutral-toned stockings in varying patterns are strung up on wooden dowels with painted numbered wooden ornaments to mark the days. The calendar is tailor-made to fit with the pale coastal palette and makes a statement while fitting in with the light and airy feel of the room.Continue to 11 of 50 below.
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Take It Out
Studio DIY created a snappy modern advent calendar made from colorful stacked numbered take-out boxes that can be filled with anything you like.Continue to 12 of 50 below.
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Make It Interactive
The House That Lars Built created a photo-based advent calendar that encourages and memorializes a series of Christmas challenges in the lead up to the holiday. The staircase banister is decorated with captioned, dated photos tied to a garland with ribbons, with each image documenting an advent calendar challenge completed, anything from decorating the tree to building a snowman to volunteering at a soup kitchen. Once the season is over, the photos can be placed in an album, helping you to keep track of those precious holiday memories in a season that often goes by in a busy blur.Continue to 13 of 50 below.
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The Merrythought decorated a wooden dowel with fresh eucalyptus and a DIY dried orange slice garland and strung it with white paper envelopes filled with advent activity cards to create a simple advent calendar tailor made for minimalists that could work in any interior.Continue to 14 of 50 below.
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String Up Some Stars
A Beautiful Mess created a DIY advent calendar garland made from little numbered star boxes, strung nonchalantly from a leaning decorative wooden ladder in the hallway next to the dining room.Continue to 15 of 50 below.
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Take a Peek Inside
A Beautiful Mess filled the star-shaped advent calendar boxes with small decorations and toys after painting the insides in cheerful colors.Continue to 16 of 50 below.
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Use a Tabletop Tree
This farmhouse-style DIY tabletop tree advent calendar from Maison de Cinq is simple and sweet, with little numbered drawstring bags strung to a lighted tree and filled with holiday goodies to be enjoyed one by one. This multifunctional piece of holiday decor is perfect for small spaces or kids rooms.Continue to 17 of 50 below.
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Blogger KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms used store bought Christmas stickers and cards with bright red envelopes to create a "leave a joy trail" advent calendar, writing 25 acts of kindness and clipping them onto a mason jar rack in the kitchen. Every morning she and her family open the day's note, read it aloud, spend the day spreading joy, and share their stories over dinner.Continue to 18 of 50 below.
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This cute tree-shaped advent calendar from Craftberry Bush features little kraft paper boxes stuffed with greens and ribbons that are numbered from right to left and down to up for a twist that will delight the kids. Displayed on a shelf, the calendar is flanked by mini trees perched on stacks of white and red books. On the shelves below, red, white, and candy-striped wrapping paper covers books to create a cohesive holiday display.Continue to 19 of 50 below.
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Use a Framed Chalkboard
This DIY advent calendar from Thistlewood Farms is built using a framed chalkboard that is used to mark the days the old-fashioned way. Rows of favorite ornaments are strung up with jute twine and vintage clothespins for a modern farmhouse look.Continue to 20 of 50 below.
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This kid-friendly advent calendar from Lovely Indeed is made up of colorful felt pockets that can be stuffed with trinkets or used as a nativity calendar for a scene that they can build as the countdown to Christmas progresses.Continue to 21 of 50 below.
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Tie It With Ribbons
Designer Annie Sloan built a DIY advent calendar made from black-and-white-striped drawstring pouches tied with ribbons and strung with chalk-painted number tags for a Scandi-style dining room. But the design is classic and timeless enough to fit into any room in the house.Continue to 22 of 50 below.
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Build a DIY Ladder
Blogger Liz Marie built a DIY birch log ladder as a base, then strung it with stockings to create an advent calendar for her farmhouse living room decorated with vintage signs and fresh greenery.Continue to 23 of 50 below.
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Stitched paper star envelopes decorated with snippets of greens, wood beads, and miniature snowflakes and stuffed with suggestions for simple family Christmas activities—like baking cakes, eating crepes, having a pillow fight, and playing family games—make this simple advent calendar from Ohoh deco fun for the kids, and will ensure that you're making memories all season long.Continue to 24 of 50 below.
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Play With Clay
This DIY advent calendar from Craftberry Bush features numbered clay tags fastened to a linen backing in a painted white frame and strung with Christmas twine and greens. This timeless piece of homemade holiday decor will grow with the family as years pass and Christmases come and go.Continue to 25 of 50 below.
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Do Some Good
Lovely Indeed created an acts of kindness advent calendar that helps kids build good habits and embrace the spirit of giving rather than loading up on candy every day. The small acts of kindness envelopes can be strung up as seen here or if you're short on time or ambition, simply attached to the wall using washi tape.Continue to 26 of 50 below.
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This deconstructed advent calendar from Frichic is made from Polaroid-shaped photo prints and graphic numbers stuck to the wall that befits a modern interior. Both an alternative Christmas tree and an abstract reminder of the countdown to Christmas, this simple idea is perfect for small spaces and modern minimalists who want to create a nod to tradition without taking it too seriously.Continue to 27 of 50 below.
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Hang Some Stockings
This DIY advent calendar from A Beautiful Mess is strung with multi-colored stockings in non-traditional Christmas colors on a wood beam house-shaped frame. The playful and kid-friendly wall decor could double as a Christmas tree alternative centerpiece in a small space or a children's room.Continue to 28 of 50 below.
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String It Up
A Beautiful Mess created a green string art Christmas tree on a piece of wood that serves as the backdrop for a DIY printed activity advent calendar geared for couples rather than kids. Each day's envelope is filled with a simple activity, from trying a new recipe to visiting a cheerful spot, to listening to a special childhood album while eating dinner, that is designed for bonding and quality time.Continue to 29 of 50 below.
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Decorate the Coffee Table
This simple DIY coffee table advent calendar from Casa Watkins Living is perfect for small spaces and young kids, decorated with multi-colored ornaments that are numbered with a marker. The ornaments can be placed in a bowl on the coffee table and kids can hang the day's number on the tree until the bowl is empty and the big day arrives. If your kids are old enough, get them involved and let them write the numbers on the ornaments to help them practice their penmanship and DIY decorating skills and make them feel involved in the festivities.Continue to 30 of 50 below.
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Plant a Forest
Your DIY Family created an elegant little advent calendar forest of mini numbered terracotta pots and planted model pine trees. This DIY advent calendar installation looks like a miniaturized formal garden and would dress up a credenza, mantel, countertop, dining table, or any other spot that needs a festive but understated touch.Continue to 31 of 50 below.
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Make It Personal
Casa Watkins Living celebrated a passion for global textiles by creating a colorful DIY printed card stock advent calendar that is displayed on a store bought Christmas tree-shaped card holder from the holiday decor stockpile. The numbered cards have blank backs that can be customized as you like with love notes, favorite quotes, Santa Claus-themed jokes, family activities, or whatever else floats your holiday boat.Continue to 32 of 50 below.
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This simple advent calendar from Lia Griffith is made using an old thrift store picture frame with a holiday ready bright gold finish. DIY printable numbered flags are clipped to glassine baggies filled with small treats and gifts using mini wooden clothespins, suspended by twine across the frame. And as a thoughtful finishing touch, the back of each flag includes a bonus quote "to encourage reflection, gratitude and mindfulness" during this often frenzied time of year.Continue to 33 of 50 below.
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Make It Green
A Beautiful Mess stuffed the tiny numbered terracotta pots of this house-shaped advent calendar with pine trimmings. With a star-shaped ornament hanging above and a bed of greenery, lights, and mini trees, the DIY advent calendar is the centerpiece for a simple holiday display that is perfect for the plant lover in your life. Feel free to hang this one in the kitchen and sub the pine trimmings for rosemary sprigs.Continue to 34 of 50 below.
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Hang It From the Mantel
Lia Griffith created a colorful DIY advent calendar village suspended from a piece of driftwood perched on the mantel that creates a cheerful and festive centerpiece for the holiday season with a bright and modern holiday palette.Continue to 35 of 50 below.
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Make It Scrappy
A Beautiful Mess built a scrappy DIY advent tree from reclaimed wood pallets and hung a selection of small gifts, treats, and activity cards to it using nothing more than push pins. This simple and sturdy DIY advent calendar will last for years to come and can be stored outside between seasons if you don't have room in the house.Continue to 36 of 50 below.
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Cross It Out
This grown up advent calendar candle from Casa Watkins Living is an easy printable DIY that would work well in a small space. Create an evening ritual of lighting the candle, enjoying a festive drink, a relaxing bubble bath, a favorite holiday album or a holiday movie, and crossing out the days with a bright red Sharpie until Christmas finally arrives.Continue to 37 of 50 below.
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Create a Forest of Houses
Your DIY Family created an advent calendar made from a forest of sleek mini Balsa wood house facades with an activity posted on the back of each one, perfect for kids and adults alike. Little DIY deer and tree statuettes add charm to the streamlined look of the advent calendar, which can be arranged in any way you like to keep it interesting.Continue to 38 of 50 below.
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Add Favorite Photos
A Beautiful Mess made a colorful advent calendar from DIY envelopes covered in a mix of patterns and favorite family photos, stuffed with prizes and treats. The personalized set of numbered envelopes marking the days until Christmas are strung up on rows of twine with clothespins that creates a cheerful holiday display.Continue to 39 of 50 below.
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Do a Rainbow Ombre
The House That Lars Built chose a rainbow ombre for this freespirited drawstring bag advent calendar that proves there are no rules when it comes to choosing a Christmas palette. This idea would work especially well in a kids room or a bohemian style interior.Continue to 40 of 50 below.
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Scratch It Off
This DIY scratch-off snowflake advent calendar tree from A Beautiful Mess adds an interactive twist to the proceedings that will put a smile on kids faces. Each of the 25 snowflakes has a coordinating wrapped gift that is revealed when you scratch the center–like a convenience store scratch off card with plenty of built-in suspense but guaranteed odds.Continue to 41 of 50 below.
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There is a hidden surprise in each of the numbered advent calendar houses hung on this kitschy pink faux Christmas tree from Lovely Indeed that is decorated with bottle brush tree ornaments to make the village neighborhood feel even more cozy.Continue to 42 of 50 below.
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The Merrythought used black and upholstery fabric to create this reusable DIY advent calendar. The sober design includes textile envelopes for treats or that can be left empty and used simply as decor. The simple calendar is topped with some fresh eucalyptus to make it feel festive and green and add a pleasing natural scent.Continue to 43 of 50 below.
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Let It Snow
Sugar and Charm lined a holiday mantel with a long row of tiny DIY faux snow-covered numbered Balsa wood houses that can be lifted up and tilted back to reveal the day's designated treats.Continue to 44 of 50 below.
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Make a Stocking Garland
A cozy mini Christmas stocking advent calendar garland in a kids room from blogger Liz Marie adds a seasonal note while staying true to the neutral color scheme of the existing decor. A Christmas tree pillow and some green bottle brush trees perched on top of the armoire complement the low key holiday decorations.Continue to 45 of 50 below.
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Don't Forget Your Best Friend
If you are the kind of person who gets your dog a Christmas present, the next logical step is making sure that your best friend has a dedicated advent calendar to share in the holiday build-up, like this pawprint themed DIY doggie advent calendar from All For the Memories.Continue to 46 of 50 below.
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Make a Bucket List
This wooden tree DIY advent calendar from Sugar and Charm is easy to make and will last forever. Small galvanized buckets were nailed to a tree-shaped piece of painted wood and filled with candies and visible wrapped treats to make it feel extra festive and add color.Continue to 47 of 50 below.
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Fold Some Origami
Two-toned origami tree tops give this playful advent calendar from Your DIY Family a sculptural look that would appeal to kids of all ages and is meditative and fun to make.Continue to 48 of 50 below.
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Paint It On
This painted cardboard DIY advent calendar village from The Merrythought has cut-out windows and doors that can be opened in the run-up to Christmas, adding holiday cheer without breaking the bank. Attach notes or tiny treats to the back of each window or door to create an element of surprise.Continue to 49 of 50 below.
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Spell It Out
This simple DIY advent calendar from Monika Hibbs was made from small paper bags attached to the wall by clothespins that look like they are floating (but are attached using invisible adhesive strips). The bags are marked with days of the month in numerical form with a few random days spelled out to give it some variation. Bags are filled with tiny treats for the tots and finished off with a smattering of greenery for decoration. To make this simple DIY project even more fun, let your kids write the numbers on the bags, or break out that calligraphy pen you used to ink your wedding invitations and give it a whirl.Continue to 50 of 50 below.
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Use Numbered Votive Candles
Making an advent calendar can be as easy as this DIY project from Thistlewood Farms that uses white votive candles decorated with red number stickers to mark the days until the 25th. Displayed on a china hutch with a saturated navy painted back and bright white china, this simple advent calendar idea packs a graphic punch even when the candles aren't lit. The votives can be repurposed throughout the year for birthdays and anniversaries, or simply brought out every year when the Christmas countdown begins.