For those that have been here long enough, you know that I’ve talked about making a DIY Advent calendar for, oh I don’t know, years?
Two years ago I finally made it happen – but never shared the simple DIY tutorial with you! We’re reusing the same one this year, and as December quickly approaches, I want you to know you still have time to make it happen! Sure, there are hundreds of Advent calendars you could buy – in fact, I shared my favorite 15 at the end of this post. But what makes this DIY Advent calendar unique is that you likely already own most of these materials; plus, you have total control over how it looks!
Like years prior, we’ll be filling our DIY Advent calendar with simple activities – everything from Christmas crafts suitable for toddlers to various holiday events we plan to attend to baking cookies for our elderly neighbors. I always try to keep plans super low-key and don’t stress out if we happen to miss a day – or three. The last thing I want this tradition to become is a distraction from the real reason for the season: Jesus!
Making an Advent calendar pushes you to figure out your priorities ahead of time and commit only to those! By all means, figure out how your family wants to spend the holiday season and focus on those activities; don’t do things simply to cross off some generic winter bucket list! Take ownership of your time and energy this holiday season, and don’t let the culture of busyness distract you.
Should you need help thinking of wholesome ideas, check out my 50 Advent Ideas: Acts of Kindness and Family Activities.
- Cork bulletin board: I bought ours second-hand for a whopping $3 a couple of years ago, and I see them regularly when I go thrifting. If thrifting isn’t your cup of tea, there’s this 2×3′ board from Amazon is the perfect size and comes highly recommended!
- Craft paper in patterns of your choice: I had some black and white patterned paper on hand from a previous craft project. There’s a similar option currently available on Amazon. If your Advent calendar is the kind where you put small gifts inside, you can easily trade out crafting paper for mini paper bags or gift bags. In that case, skip step 1 from the instructions below.
- Black and gold markers: Of course, if your color palette is different than mine, choose different colors.
- Push pins
- Stars stickers: I had these stickers left over from decorating the girls’ room.
- Miscellaneous items from your crafting stash: I used pom poms, washi tape, wooden beads, stickers, applique flowers, miniature ornaments, ribbons, bows, etc. that fit within my chosen color palette.
- 3M command strips: I used these for attaching the cork bulletin board to the wall. Other installation options include trading out existing wall decor or leaning the board atop a credenza or dresser.
- First, use the crafting paper and scissors to make 25 cards of the same size. Make sure to measure so your cards fit on your cork bulletin board – 5×5 if you’re doing 25 days or 4×6 if you’re doing 24.
- Next, number each card in a creative way. Alternate the font, size, color, and placement of each number. If you need ideas, just refer to my photo!
- On the blank side, write the Christmas activity, act of kindness, craft, etc. that corresponds with each day of Advent. If you plan to reuse the calendar in the years to come, simply use a post-it note to write the activity and stick to the back of each paper.
- Last, get creative decorating each paper with miscellaneous items from your crafting stash. Play with patterns, textures, cool 3-D effects, etc.
- Hang the cork bulletin board on the wall using 3M command strips for easy removal. You can also style atop a credenza, dresser or console table for an even less permanent display solution.
Advent Calendar Roundup: Favorites Under $50
As I already mentioned, if DIY is not your cup of tea, I’ve also rounded up 15 modern Advent calendars below that, last time I checked, can still be delivered before December 1st.
I think our girls would especially love numbers 7, 9 and 12, but my personal favorites are numbers 2 and 11. I can totally imagine them fitting in seamlessly with the rest of our neutral Christmas decor. I’m excited to see the girls’ reaction to this tradition, since they’re finally at an age where they’ll understand the concept.
Do you have an Advent calendar tradition? What do you put in yours?