What To Put In A DIY Advent Calendar


To build up the excitement in the lead up to Christmas Day, many households display a seasonal advent calendar. This year, you can put up a photo advent calendar and start a new trend.

Traditionally, the Christian church advent calendar celebrated the period of preparation for the birth of Jesus, and for the Second Coming of Christ, by featuring religious theme pictures behind individually numbered ‘doors’. Modern day advent calendars are mostly decorated with images of Santa Claus or Christmas décor and are filled with chocolate or tester size products.

If you’re looking for fresh ideas for your DIY advent calendar this year, here are 8 fabulous suggestions…

Themed Advent Calendars

There are many pre-made advent calendars available to buy that contain a variety of themed items, like toys, ornaments, jewellery and hair accessories or beauty items. You can easily copy this idea by collecting themed objects and products throughout the year. You’ll obviously need a DIY advent calendar template that features boxes instead of flaps that open like doors.

Mix ‘N’ Match Advent Calendars

If you prefer to surprise the owner of the advent calendar, fill up your boxes with a random assortment of goodies. While finding a piece of chocolate is nice, having the same predictable surprise every day isn’t exciting. Shake it up by including sweets, toiletries, jokes, novelty items and collectables that are age appropriate.

Activity Ticket Advent Calendars

Don’t want to fill up an advent calendar with sweets, trinkets or novelty items that are random? No problem. An activity ticket advent calendar is all about experiences.

Build a list of experiences that you would like your child (or the person who the calendar is for) to enjoy. As you’re preparing for Christmas, you can include activities that are seasonal and festive – “bake a batch of cookies to share with your friends”, “write a letter to Santa”, “help decorate the Christmas tree” and so on…

Activity tickets are also great for experiences that can be looked forward to in the coming New Year.

Hide ‘N’ Seek Advent Calendars

If you want to include larger items in a DIY advert calendar that comprises of a collection of small boxes, you can always be inventive and create a hide ‘n’ seek option.

Instead of filling up the individual boxes or sections with tiny gifts or little sweet treats, you can add pieces of paper that provide helpful clues to where the actual larger items are hidden around your home.

The Photo Advent Calendar

If you want to create a unique item that lasts beyond the festive Christmas season, a photo advent calendar is a great option. A stylish modern photo calendar can be personalised with your favourite photos in a gallery style collage or with individual portraits. With this idea in mind, you can create a DIY advent calendar that is filled with an array of happy memories.

As with the hide ‘n’ seek idea, you can offer up clues like, “Remember when we got sunburned on holiday?” and leave the corresponding photo somewhere to be found. Or you can simply place the photographs in numbered envelopes that match the individual doors/boxes. Include funny snaps along with photos that invoke feelings of nostalgia and that warm the cockles of the heart.

The Joke Option

While children love to discover a piece of chocolate behind the ‘doors’ of their advent calendar, if you want to create a unique and quirky DIY option you can always swap the treats for funny jokes.

Collect 25 jokes and write or print them out on pieces of paper, like the jokes you find inside Christmas crackers.

Personalised Inspirational Quotes

If the young adults in your family, or your partner or best friend, don’t appreciate your sense of humour, you can personalise their advent calendar with handwritten quotes that are inspirational and motivational.

Keep someone who is goal orientated on track by filling up the DIY advent calendar with quotes that are specific to their hobby or task. “Become the person who attracts the goals you seek!” or “Never underestimate the power you have at your fingertips” are perfect for giving someone the extra encouragement they need to attain their desired results.

The Love Bomb Calendar

Creating a special DIY advent calendar for the one you love is the ultimate way to let someone know how much you adore, cherish and appreciate them. Go to town with your declarations of love by filling up the boxes of your heart-shaped advent calendar with love themed items, like foil wrapped chocolate, love heart sweets, keyrings, jewellery, stickers, love notes and handwritten poetry.

If you prefer, you can buy a pre-made novelty advent calendar that is specially designed for Valentine’s Day, and customise it for the festive season. Some paper mache designs supply 24 tiny heart-shaped boxes inside a super size heart box. Decorate the calendar with love motifs and a touch of Christmas sparkle.

A photo advent calendar that is stylishly understated is the perfect option if you love the idea of surprising your beloved, but you prefer to do it in a classier way. Choose an elegant template format, from a range of desk or wall calendars, and pick out your favourite romantic photos to feature on each of the pages. Personalise with messages of love, song lyrics that evoke the meaningful sentiments, and other appropriate embellishments. Although this type of calendar doesn’t have any daily surprises, it does offer love bombing that lasts the whole year long.