Christmas Holidays

17 Advent Calendar Ideas (DIY and Ones You Can Buy!)

Do you do an advent calendar in your family? 

It’s such a fun way to make December special (as if it needs more making special), and my girls are OBSESSED with any kind of advent calendar.

advent calendar

We do a couple of different advent calendars in our family, although I keep them all SUPER simple, and I’m sharing some of my favorites today.

Whether you want a DIY advent calendar or one that you can just have delivered straight to your door, ready to go, these are really fun advent calendar options:

advent calendars

DIY Advent Calendars

Clothespin Advent Calendar
I made this years ago and I still love how it turned out! Plus it cost me $2.50 to make, so that was for sure a win.

Mini Mail Advent Calendar
If your children are like mine, there is nothing better than getting a letter. This one, with tiny letters and packages, is SO cute.

DIY advent calendar

Stocking Advent Calendar
This stocking advent calendar is CRAZY darling – this one is made entirely from scratch, but you could always make your life easier by doing pre-made stockings.

Snowflake Advent Calendar 
I love how simple this one is and makes a beautiful classic decoration anywhere you want to put it – a door, a window, a staircase, or anywhere else!

Live Greenery Advent Calendar
I love how pretty and unique this DIY advent calendar is with tiny matchboxes hanging from live greenery. Even if you do a fake tree (raising my hand here), this is a simple way to add some of that amazing pine smell to your home without spending the entire month vacuuming up needles.

Mini Trees Advent Calendar
I’ve loved this darling tabletop DIY advent calendar since I first saw it more than 5 years ago. It’s simple and classic and easy to put together!

Free Vintage Printable Envelope Advent 
I love these pretty old-fashioned envelopes and they look so classic and festive hanging from a pretty ribbon or along a green garland.

Christmas Lights Advent Calendar
If you’re up for a little cutting and folding, this is the perfect project to do while watching a Christmas movie and then it doubles as a Christmas garland all month long.

wooden advent calendars

If You’d Rather Buy an Advent Calendar:

LEGO City Advent Calendar 2018
If you have a LEGO lover at your house, this is a total win. For 24 days, you get put together a little piece of the full set and then you can play with it as you go along. There is a Star Wars version, a City version, or a Friends version (It’s aimed at kids above age 5 generally).

lego advent calendar

Jacquie Lawson Digital Advent Calendar 
This is my number one favorite advent calendar. It’s digital (so no storage space!) and every day there is a sweet little video or fun interactive game to play and my girls are obsessed. Let’s be honest, so am I. It’s $5 (and less if you buy multiple) and we’ve been doing it every year since Ella was 18 months old (I have this super old video of her watching it and dancing along in our little Texas apartment that year!). My in-laws buy one for each of their children every year and it truly is a highlight of December for our family every year.

The World of Eric Carle Pop-Up Advent
If you’re an Eric Carle fan, it’s hard to beat this spectacular pop-up advent calendar with a big three-dimensional tree with gifts that go under it and decorations to hang in the tree. And it’s $10.

Merry and Bright Fabric Wall Advent Calendar
If you’re looking for one of those classic wall hanging advent calendars with pockets for each day, this is one of my favorites (and it’s on sale for $25 off right now)

Crayola Countdown to Christmas
For your craft lovers, this is a really fun one where every day you get a craft supply and an activity to go along with it. My project-obsessed girls would DIE.

The 25 Days of Christ Advent Calendar
My mom bought this advent calendar for our family this year after Ralphie from Simply on Purpose recommended it, and if you’re looking for a religious advent calendar, it’s beautifully done. It has wooden ornaments for each day counting down to Christmas along with a scripture to go along with it.

Merry Christmas Drawers Advent Calendar
I love the wooden advent calendars with a drawer for each day that you can tuck a candy, a note, or a little ornament into.

Glitter Lit Advent Houses
My assistant Analese made a note on this one saying, “the advent of my dreams” and I can’t blame her. This is SO beautiful – all those little doors! I guess you could say it’s the advent of my dreams too. (I also love this one with tiny houses, but for $249, I think my dreams might not extend that far). 

Classic Chocolate Advent Calendar
It’s hard to beat one of those chocolate-a-day advent calendars. You can pick them up for $0.99 each at Trader Joe’s (although they sell out in a hot second) or this pack of 4 is just over $5 and very cute.

chocolate advent calendar

I’d love to hear about your favorite advent calendar, plus what kinds of activities you do along with it!

If you liked this post about advent calendar options, you might also find these posts helpful:

Photos by Heather Mildenstein

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7 Comments

  • Reply Eleanor May November 21, 2018 at 2:07 am

    All these ideas are so lovely. I tend to not have much time to get all creative so I just buy a classic chocolate advent calendar. Hopefully next year, I’ll have time to DIY something!

  • Reply Natalie November 21, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I saw a little VTech one on Amazon that I want to get for my son! He’s too little to care about counting down to Christmas, but I know he’d love to get a new toy every day!

  • Reply Jenna November 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    This is a little different, but I saw a calendar counting down to Christmas that included giving something away/doing something for someone. I thought maybe we would have my church collect items for the local food pantry that is run out of our church, but we’re actually going to focus on the homeless teens in our community. I like the idea of making Christmas more than being about getting something, and collecting a small item for someone in our community like this seems deeply meaningful — even if I only end up doing half of it 😉

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw November 21, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      I love this! What a great idea – thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Abbie November 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    We have a wooden house with numbered doors in which a put an activity/treat in for each day. Each child also has their own chocolate advent calendar which they get the first day of the calendar and that’s the treat from the wooden calendar. This year I knit each child 12 mini stockings which I will string together to make 24. For this year these will be a decoration.

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