10 DIY advent calendars to inspire you to get crafty this Christmas

These DIY advent calendars are simple, stylish and are sure to become a tradition to be used year after year

DIY advent calendars using brown paper bags
(Image credit: Curated Living Limited)

Looking for DIY advent calendars that are going to make Christmas extra special? Sure, the festive season might look a little different this year but you can still start new traditions and build up the suspense of the big day. Plus so many of us got well into crafting during lockdown early this year so why not put those new skills to use again and have a go at making your own advent calendar.

In case you weren't aware, while here at Real Homes we love a good craft, we do like them to be as simple and straightforward as possible, so all these advent calendar ideas are just that! Anyone can have a go at them...

If you are after the best advent calendars that are out this year, head over to our buying guide too.  

1. DIY an advent calendar with brown paper bags

So simple and so effective!  Pick up some brown paper bags from a craft store or Amazon and then hang them using ribbons and strings. Use stickers to add the numbers, or a chalk pen to add patterns. You could hang the advent calendar anywhere too but we think it would look so cute in a hallway so the kids can just grab their bag as they leave for school.

2. Send a mini gift for everyday of December

Advent calendar with presents

(Image credit: krima & isa GmbH)

A very cute DIY advent calendar for older children or you could make this for your friends or S.O. Pick out 25 (or you could do 12)  small gifts, wrap them up beautifully and label them, one for each day of December. They needn't be expensive gifts either – bath bombs, stationery, socks, that sort of thing. 

3. Create a DIY advent calendar tree

Such a cute idea from @styletheclutter! Head into the garden or the park and pick up a bunch of sticks to form your 'tree'. Start with the smallest one at the top and gradually get bigger to form a triangle, tie them together with some twine and then just tie on either small boxes or bags for each day. You can make it even more of a feature by adding fairy lights too. 

4. Personalise a plain canvas advent calendar 

Hobbycraft have come up with the genius idea to stock blank canvas advent calendars that you can personalise yourself. You can iron on names, numbers and patterns or if you were feeling really crafty you could get embroidering for a really homemade look. 

5. Create a 'lucky dip' advent calendar 

Lucky Dip! For your holiday party. 🎉 Oh Happy Day

A photo posted by @ohhappyday on Nov 13, 2019 at 5:31am PST

This idea from @ohhappyday is a fab one if you have a larger family because you could take it in turns to pick a box every day. You can get small boxes on Amazon really cheaply and then decorate them yourself to suit your style. Pile them all into a basket and they make a cute Christmas decoration too. 

6. Turn your advent calendar in a decoration 

DIY advent calendar by Annie Sloan

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

After the easiest DIY advent calendar? Cut a piece of twine to the perfect length to fit where you want your calendar to hang – now, you could buy or make little fabric bags, but we think it would be so much easier to just use cut offs and pop in the gift and simply tie at the top. Don't worry about them all matching, it's meant to look rustic and homemade. 

7. Fill your DIY advent calendar with something different this year 

First of all, this DIY advent calendar by @houseofsparrows looks so beautiful. You could recreate it with a branch (or an antler if you happen to have one hanging about) and some folliage. But what we love most is the contents of each box – rather than filling it with sweets or chocolate, this one contains a note with something festive to do on that day! Such a lovely idea. 

8. Pop a note into 25 envelopes 

Another lovely DIY idea that isn't all about a gift. Fill 25 envelopes with a nice quote or memory or just something that's going to make someone's day start off well. You could spend some time turning each one into a bit of an artwork so they can be framed afterwards too. Use clothes pegs to hang them from some string and decorate the fronts however you like. 

9.  Make a DIY biscuit advent calendar

Have you ever seen such beautiful biscuits? Tough biscuits like gingerbread will last through the month (the might be a tad squishy by the 25th but totally edible). You could even add a whole into each one so you can hang them on the tree. 

10. Use advent calendar pegs to for an easy DIY

Hobbycraft are again coming through with the DIY advent calendars, these pegs are just £3 and you can mix and match what you hang from them. Some days a sweetie, others a little gift, you can totally personalise it for whoever you are making it for. 

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Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.