20 countdown to Christmas advent ideas

November 12, 2013

Twenty crafty Christmas countdown advent ideas you can make at home.

Every year about this time I share a few advent calendar ideas so if you’d like to make your own, you’ll have plenty of time. 

Some of these advent ideas have space to add small gifts or candy, and a few with printed holiday activities. Of course you can combine both into one homemade countdown. 

Matchbooks covered in fun paper with numbers attached make for a gorgeous advent display:

Roeshel’s soda crate advent was so simple, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before!:

Her soda crate had 24 spots, so she used small gift boxes and stamped the numbers on. Uhhhh…why don’t I think of these things? I have a crate that would work perfectly for this!

You can make your own version with this cute wood organizer with compartments!

The pizza pan advent is a classic! Love the ribbon woven through this one: 

This muffin tin advent is a great idea!:

muffin tin advent calendar

From what I can tell you just cut out the paper (in circles or squares) and then glue magnets to the back. Pretty easy!

If you’re looking for a countdown that’s a little more decorative I love this chalkboard idea:

Years ago I made a round advent countdown with vinyl lettering and a wood tabletop:

I painted the tabletop with magnetic paint first and then painted over with the white. So cute!

This advent idea is pretty basic but kind of BRILLIANT:

toilet paper roll advent

Any guesses as to what that is? Yep, toilet paper rolls. ;) You could also save the paper towel rolls and get a few out of each one I bet. I LOVE the idea of the kids breaking through the front to get to the treat. How fun is that? 

You could easily dress that up – use colored paper or again, wrapping paper. You don’t even need to number them really.

And…you could make it into the shape of a tree perhaps? So cute.

I think this toilet paper roll advent idea is pretty and probably tons of fun for you the kids to open up everyday:

You could also just simply roll some card stock to make the tube. I like that you can use festive papers to customize it too. The kids could help decorate it after you fill them up. :)

My friend Beckie knocked off one of my favorite PB advent years back with this cute festive pail countdown:

bucket advent calendar

She used tiny buckets from the wedding section at the dollar store! (I think a few come in a package so this could be done for under ten bucks easy.)

You could also use these cute advent bags to make a simple mantle garland. 

Beckie also created this adorable DIY advent pillow

I made this Pottery Barn knock off advent years ago and it's still one of my favorite Christmas projects: 

wood Pottery Barn advent knock off

I saved TONS by making it myself! 

The easiest idea by far is printing off fun projects/events for each day. Well the easy part is just printing and cutting them out – the hard part is in actually doing each event. ;) 

I loved these ideas you can print out and use:

The best part about these is you can determine what event goes with what day – so read a story could be a week night and movie night could be over a weekend. 

I love the idea of these – it’s all about being with family and making memories, right?

I’ve shared this idea before but it’s so dang cute I have to share a few versions. They are pretty easy too – just print out this Santa face advent and grab some cotton balls:

You can have the kids color that one.

If you want one already ready to go check out this cute color Santa face countdown printable:

Super easy right? Print it out and pile up some cotton balls!

Here's another Santa face advent with a cute poem: 

I saw Melissa’s wrapped Christmas book advent idea years ago and thought it was such a sweet idea:

She wraps up Christmas books for the nights leading up to Christmas. Doesn’t matter if they are old or new – the kids will LOVE opening them up! 

This one isn’t quite as interactive for the kids, but Laura’s advent art from Finding Home Farms was so pretty I just had to share it:

advent calendar art

Isn’t that just beautiful? Sigh. Her fireplace looks amazing too.

And finally, I made our tiny box advent calendar five years ago and it’s still going strong:

advent calendar boxes

I usually just put the little boxes out but this year I may corral them into a tray or one spot. It was a lot of work when I made it (but fun!) but it’s held up great!

My son LOVES seeing these come out:

advent calendar boxes

I also love Carrie's adorable version. So cute!:

Do you have an advent calendar? Have you made one? Feel free to share a link to your DIY versions in the comments!

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  1. Source for toilet appear roll advent calendar is http://www.morningcreativity.com/diy-toilet-paper-roll-calendar/.

  2. I love that toilet paper roll one!! We started it last year with little muslin bags that I numbered. I just keep them in a basket. My kids love it!!

  3. I love, love, love Advent ideas...so here is mine: http://waldeewee.blogspot.com/2013/11/advent-idea.html I made several of these years ago and always love to pull it out and make sure it's full of goodies and the Bible story too.

  4. My favorite advent calendar is the one my mom made when I was little and now it is in my house. She would mix up the ornaments in the pockets every year and we would take turns who went first but Christmas Eve was always the Santa one, which meant Santa was coming that night. (Squeal! So exciting!) Here is a link to it, about 7 pics down http://rebeccasroundup.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-decor-2012.html. Thanks, love your personality and your blog.

  5. Mwaaahhh! Thanks friend....I have one more....

  6. Oh my goodness, these are all so cute! Just for grins I had to go check out the price on the PB one -- gasp, heart attack, and who buys these things? Well, not me, but it sure is cute!

  7. I love your advent calendar. I like colorful holiday stuff. :) I made one last year with a long ribbon and some decorated mini envelopes. Easy peasy! http://www.serenitynowblog.com/2012/11/diy-ribbon-and-envelope-advent-calendar.html

  8. LOVE these! I am not ashamed to say that I am decorating now (it usually takes a few weeks!) while our Canadian Thanksgiving is in early Oct, I'm pretty sue I'd start now if I lived in the US too. I wouldn't dream of criticizing anyone for decorating on Dec 24, or not at all, and it just seems to me that people are all too quick to criticize those that like to start early. Anyhow, I love that you posted this inspiration, and whether you decorate today, or next month, can't we all just be friends? :) I kid, this comment just sounds all too serious now.

  9. Nothing says Christmas like a countdown advent calendar. Love your ideas!

  10. I've done the muffin tin one and it's not hard at all. The fun is deciding what the "gifts" are going to be..

  11. I wrap up Christmas books and the kids get to open one each night to read during Advent. As the pile gets smaller they know it's getting closer to Christmas.

  12. These are all fabulous! : ) I have one I started last year with the kids. http://cherishedbliss.com/2012/11/christmas-advent-calendar-12-days-of-christmas.html

  13. I'm super duper excited to be working on my first Advent Calendar - made out of burlap bags. I love this time of the year!!

  14. I totally agree with you...if it snows then you can talk about Christmas! Heck, I will sprinkle glitter all around too! Unfortunately for this Tennessee gal we rarely get snow but I did buy my faux snow at Pottery Barn Outlet a couple of weeks ago! Love all the advent calendars! So cute!!!

  15. I don't have a proper Advent calendar but your post makes me want to make or buy one!
    Since I'm in California I would never get to be excited about Christmas if I had to wait for snow but I too love Christmas!

  16. My friend, Alex just did this one at www.Northstory.ca and I think it's so cute and clever! http://www.northstory.ca/diy-advent-calendar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=diy-advent-calendar

  17. Sarah - thanks so much for sharing my Advent calendar. I just got an email from a friend - I have finally made it in her eyes because I am on your site! Thanks for giving me some street cred!

  18. I'm still stuck on 18 days. My eyes glazed over after that.

  19. I love the Pottery Barn Tree Calendar!! Gorgeous! This is the link for the one I made last year, http://www.houseontheway.com/christmas-advent-calendar-idea/.
    House on the Way

  20. We have several, actually :) My parents have given us several, and I have a hard time deciding which to use each year.

    I did make one a couple years ago, from paper towel tubes, too! Here it is: http://agoodhomeblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/o-little-town-of-paper-towel-tube.html

  21. oooo love the punch out one the kids would have fun with that!
    i did one last year and im thinking of pulling it out again (with new cards though)


  22. I made a really fun one last year similar to the Etsy one, but in a wreath shape. Since I have teenaged boys I had to get a little clever with it and it ended up being a very special memory!


  23. We use one that my grandma made - it's so special and makes me think of her. I love the ideas that you shared!


  24. This is the first year we're doing an advent calendar, so I've been looking up all I can find--I'm ending up with a hybrid (of course ;). Great inspiration, Sarah!

  25. Aw shucks we haven't had any snow yet, I'm waiting for it, it's about time. ( live just few miles west of Grand Junction, CO) I've never made one, odd since we had 4 kids. Didn't know what we were missing huh? What area do you live in?
    I don't even need snow to think about Christmas, making things. Went digging in my holiday projects earlier this week to see if I could find some inspiration. I usually make paper ornaments every year but decided to make something else. Last year we didn't have a tree, (just a small table one). I'd love to have a small real tree but even those have gotten outrageous. Just love the smell of it.
    Maybe I can get some real branches to make a swag with to hang on the wall by the tree
    I just notice that the older I'm getting I'm not quite up to doing what I used to. Putting it all away is hardest part for me but I so love decorating and making things to give away. Love the hustle to get it all done on time. A few years ago I was going in to have a knee replacement and postponed for a week so I could get gifts finished and cards done. It's a 5 day hospital stay and you sure don't feel like making things or decorating when you get home (had already had right knee replaced year before) so I had surgery done on Dec.14th. instead of 7th. lol.
    I'm going to go back up to read all your comments and see what they all made for advent calenders. Great post, loved it.

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  27. They are supposed to be really good as well.


  28. My son has a lot of food restrictions, so I came up with this little food-free advent tree last year. Some dear friends gave us a special little tree one Christmas when our firstborn was in the NICU and we didn't have time or money to get a real tree, and now that we bought a bigger tree for our main tree, we use our little one for this!

    Just wrap 25 little ornaments and put them under the tree. Sing a Christmas song together and open one present every night before bed. It's so fun for little kids!

  29. These are all such great ideas, much better ideas than the store bought advent calendars! Thanks for sharing!

  30. What beautiful ideas! I'm new to your blog and I love it already. You make me laugh for sure and inspire me greatly. My daughter (age 11) and I are going to make one of these lucky crafts. Decisions decisions!

  31. My girls made cookies each year with their Nana that in turn were individually wrapped and hung in her kitchen as a countdown to Christmas. We live near and they were able to visit almost daily and eat a cookie from their ribbon hanging in her kitchen.
    Now it is time for me to carry on the tradition with my 3 year old grandson. We live in GA and they are in WI so we will wait until they visit and make a week countdown cookie ribbon. Best part is the time spent together making the cookies and decorating them. Also nothing to store away after the holiday except a bow and yard of ribbon!


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