Advent Calendars: DIY or Buy?

Advent Calendars to DIY and buy- gotcha covered either way...

Advent Calendars to DIY and buy- gotcha covered either way...

Advent calendars were one of my very favorite parts of Christmas as a kid. The lure of waxy chocolate would shoot me from my bed every morning, down to the kitchen, where I would rip open the tiny cardboard door I had located the day before. Inevitably I would try digging the chocolate piece out and get some stuck under my nail. If that didn’t work, I would aggressively bend the calendar to pop the chocolate out, pick it up off the floor and cram it into my mouth, forgetting to see if it had the winking Santa or the holly on the front.

Advent calendars are bigger than ever now, with dozens of options to buy or DIY. I’ll admit I usually go the waxy cheap chocolate route because I’m nostalgic for the good old days where nothing edible contained anything natural. Although I do love a good DIY advent calendar where you can tuck sweet little gifts into each day so by the time Christmas rolls around your kid are whipped into a gift frenzy.

Let’s take a look at some of the coolest Advent calendars to buy, and some of the raddest calendars to DIY.

Buy ’em:


1. Big old snowman Advent calendar. I like the watercolor, and the fact that it is round. And I especially like Christmas mice.

2. Leave it to Land of Nod to come up with one of my favorites for this year: it’s a fabric Advent calendar that has the numbers printed on different size pockets. They also offer an option that comes with all sorts of tiny toys to stuff inside the pockets.

3. Eek! This is so cute. It’s a wooden house with a precious scene your kids can stare at, plus each drawer contains a little wooden ornament which means you don’t have to come up with your own ideas for treasures!


4. Eric Carle’s Dream Snow Pop-Up Advent Calendar – Click through to see another image; the whole thing is a cool pop-up with the little doors on the pages. That doesn’t make sense. Just go look at it…

5. Look at this 3D Advent Calendar Village! They include little jokes and facts to pop in each one, but I would also add cute chocolates.

6. This purple wonder holds puzzle pieces in each door, which I think is a faboo idea, as I love presents that double as other things.

DIY ’em:

DIY Advent calendars

1. Teeny tiny packages tied up with washi tape

2. Free printable Christmas houses from Mr. Printables.

3. Simple white paper bags make a beautiful Advent wall.

DIY advent calendars

4. Magnetic DIY Advent calendar.

5. DIY terlet paper roll calendar. I love this majorly.

6. Printable cone-shaped boxes to fill with goodness.

Ideas for Innards for DIY Advent calendars:

Charms with a charm bracelet at the end




Nail polishes

Cold, hard cash

Little love notes


Puzzle pieces


I’m joining Pragmatic Mom in a 12 Days of Shopping extravaganza for the next, um, 12 days. Come see our gift guides on these different topics for each day:

Day 1: DIY or Buy Advent Calendars – see Pragmatic Mom’s post on a DIY gratitude Advent calendar.

Day 2: Gifts That Give Back – Mine • Mia’s

Day 3: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids – My post on Gender Neutral gifts • Mia’s post on Gender bending gifts

Day 4: Gifts for Those Impossible to Shop for – My postMia’s post

Day 5: Gifts for Reluctant Artists- My post on Gifts for Reluctant ArtistsMia’s post on Gifts for Reluctant Artists and Gifts for Reluctant Readers

Day 6: Oops, I Did It Again; Worst Gifts Ever – My tacky gifts post • Mia’s post on ugly Christmas sweaters and other terrible gifts

Day 7: Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones – My postMia’s post

Day 8: Left Brain/Right Brain Gifts- My postMia’s post

Day 9: Gift Ideas for Clients (mine) •Gifts for Those Easily Forgotten (Mia’s post)

Day 10: Gifts for New Year’s Resolutions – my postMia’s post

Day 11: My post: Easy Holiday DIY Gifts • Mia’s post: Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts

Day 12: The Art of the Thank You Note- My post and Mia’s post

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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  1. Ooo, that Land of Nod calendar is so beautiful! It may be time for me to replace our old one (that I settled on when the kids were very young but never really liked). I’m brainstorming a fun DIY one this year now that the kids are older and can help make it with me. What a fun round-up — looking forward to the rest of the series!

  2. I knew nothing about chocolates in advent calendars until I was an adult. My mom made an advent calendar that my brothers and I would fight over – it was a Christmas tree with pockets for a daily ornament that we would affix with a straight pin. The 70s and 80s were a dangerous time to grow up.

    When I had kids my mom found an advent calendar for me that is similar but the ornaments stick to the tree with velcro. Please don’t tell my kids that advent calendars are supposed to contain daily presents. I can’t handle it.

    • If I hadn’t grown up with those nasty things I would probably have some cute, non-chocolatey calendar, too. Or maybe even just an office calendar they could x off with a pencil. That’s festive. Do you still have your mom’s calendar she made? I pull out our homemade Christmas stockings every year, and then I pull out our kids’ store-bought stockings and feel like a crafting failure.

      • Yes! We still have my mom’s calendar. Or rather, she does. She still puts it up and fights over who is going to put the ornament on with my dad.

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