11 June 2021 (updated)

Creative Ideas for DIY Advent Calendars

Grab your mod podge, fabric scissors, double-sided tape, and glue gun! It's time to get your creative juices flowing. We've got some great ideas for DIY Advent calendars just in time for the holidays.

With all this time inside, we know you're looking for something other to do with your free time than just watching the same TV shows over and over. Or maybe crafting just speaks to your soul and you MAKE time for it (I feel that). Either way, DIY advent calendars are a fun way to use the materials you have to create a memorable tradition that will last for years to come.

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DIY Advent Calendars: Garlands and Strings

  • Bulb Garland: We love this idea for a DIY Advent calendar from "The House that Lars Built" that doubles as a festive garland of Christmas lights. The best part? Each colorful "bulb" comes with a sweet surprise!
  • Paper bags:¬†can be perfect for storing little treats and sweets for Advent. Hang them on a string or wire, or even use a dowel rod and hang them at different lengths. You could decorate the bags with paint, stickers, or holiday paper.
  • 5-Minute Calendar with Envelopes: This is the simplest idea, as everybody probably has envelopes shoved in a cabinet somewhere. Organize them in an aesthetic way or hang them to some twine with festive clothespins.
  • Old Frame, New Name: Take the glass out of an old frame and turn it into an adorable advent calendar by stringing several strands of wire across. Then, hang your envelopes, bags, or mini stockings for each day of advent.

Papercraft Ideas for DIY Advent Calendars

  • Paper Christmas Village Advent Calendar: Unlike most Christmas village sets, which will set you back a few hundred dollars, this handcrafted series costs next to nothing to create and still has plenty of Christmas cheer. Check out this tutorial from Tilly's Nest.
  • Beautiful Boxes: Sometimes the simplest projects turn out the prettiest. What do you need for this DIY calendar? Mini boxes, pom-poms, and number stickers for an easy, yet colorful, countdown.
  • Ornament DIY Advent Calendar: DIY ornaments make the perfect advent calendar because finding each number on the Christmas tree is half the fun! They don't necessarily have to be made from paper, but if your house has little kids, sticking to paper, cardboard or plastic may be the safest option.
  • Toilet Paper Roll Calendar: If you go through as much toilet paper and as many paper towels as my house does, this is the perfect use for all those extra rolls!

Creative Ideas for Christmas Advent Calendars

  • Mason Jar Advent Calendar:¬†Decorate 25 mason jars so you can't see through them, fill them with fun little gifts. If you don't want to paint them, you could put them in boxes with compartments so you can only see the tops with the numbers. You could even add some fake snow for some extra winter magic.
  • Shoe Organizer: Shoe organizers are the duct tape of crafting...or maybe duct tape is the duct tape of crafting. Either way, the beautiful thing about shoe organizers: they're cheap, and perfect for compartmentalizing. It's easy enough that you and the kiddos could work on decorating it together! I got mine from 5 Below! You can also use a cheap jewelry/accessory organizer.
  • Wooden Pallet Calendar: Going for a rustic-country-chic look with your decor? Wood pallets are great because they're so easily accessible, and fun to get creative with! Paint a Christmas tree on your pallet and decorate it with your advent garland with the ornaments as the days.
  • Gumball Machine Advent Calendar: Does your child love those little vending machine capsules with toys in them? I know I always asked for one at the grocery store as a child. You can buy the empty capsules on eBay or Amazon and paint them so they're opaque. Then, fill each capsule with a little candy, toy, or treat for each day!

Out of the Box Ideas

  • Grown-Up Advent Calendar: If you're making one for the kids, why not make one for Mom and Dad? Does your husband love craft beer? Does your wife love fancy cheeses? Advent calendars don't just have to be for sweets. Get creative and make it personal for your spouse!
  • Christmas Countdown Fortune Cookies: I like this because it includes a baking element. Fortune cookies are already crunchy, so you don't have to worry about them drying out over time. Inside each fortune, write a fun activity idea for the day or a funny joke.

Homemade Fortune Cookies

The perfect after-dinner treat for any time of the year!

0 from 0 votes


a few seconds


a few seconds


a few seconds






36 cookies


52.0 kcal


  • 3

    egg whites

  • 3/4


    granulated sugar

  • 1/2




  • 1/4


    pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4


    almond extract

  • 3



  • 1


    all-purpose flour


  • Fortune Cookies

    1. Preheat.

      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    2. Line the pan.

      Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and have your fortune paper strips ready.

    3. Whip.

      With a mixer, whip the egg whites and sugar on high speed for about 2 minutes, until it's frothy.

    4. Whip.

      Whip in the melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, and water until mixed. Add the flour and mix just until the flour disappears.

    5. Set the cookies.

      With a tablespoon measure, spoon the batter onto the parchment paper and spread it out into a 3-inch circle. Set no more than 2-3 at a time. They set quickly and you'll not be able to fold more than that.

    6. Bake.

      Bake the fortune cookies for 7-8 minutes. The edges should be slightly browned. If you over-bake them, they'll break when you shape them. If they're not browned enough, they will also tear.

    7. Shape the cookies.

      When each batch of fortune cookies is finished baking, remove from the oven and quickly flip the circle over, and fold your fortune cookie in half, into a semicircle. This is when you quickly slip your note into the cookie. If you slip it in too early, your paper will stick to the cookie. Put your semicircle onto the edge of a cup, fold the ends down, to crimp into the classic fortune cookie shape

    8. Cool.

      Place the cookie in a muffin tin to let it cool.

    9. Repeat.

      Repeat with the remaining batter and cookies! Enjoy!



1.0 mg


52.0 kcal


6.0 g


2.0 g

Saturated Fat:

1.0 g

Serving Amount:


Serving Unit:



7.0 g

Vitamin A:

80.0 mg

Happy Crafting!

What is your favorite idea? Have you ever made your own advent calendar? If you make any of these fun ideas, be sure to share the final results with the ones you love on FamillyApp!

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