A festive advent calendar is one of our favorite ways to mark the days until Christmas morning. Whether you’re looking for a family heirloom to bring out year after year, or an easy, affordable option, we’ve found a DIY advent calendar that will work for you. Pick out your favorite from our top picks below, and let the Christmas countdown begin!

Fabulous Felt

Feeling extra crafty this year? Try your hand at this adorable DIY felt Advent calendar. Perfect for transportation-crazy toddlers, this is an Advent calendar you'll use year after year. Plus, the sweet felt packages offer interactive entertainment for your little one. Find out how to make your own at Studio DIY.

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Simple Santa

What could be cuter than a pack of Santas? We love this DIY calendar because it's not just adorable—it's free! Pack each smiling Santa box with a piece of candy or other goodies. Grab the free printable and read the instructions at Hello Wonderful.

Upcycle Advent Calendar

Old toilet paper rolls get all dressed up in this DIY advent calendar. Add scrapbook paper in your favorite colors, and you'll soon have an easy, inexpensive advent calendar sure to delight your family. Jingle on down to Smashed Peas and Carrots to find out how you can make your own.

Heirloom Advent Calendar

A Beautiful Mess put together this stunning advent calendar. You'll love pulling out this calendar each year, with its sweet felt stockings and numbered stars. Crank up the Christmas tunes and find out how you can put it together yourself at A Beautiful Mess.

 

Character Advent Calendar

Take the focus of the Christmas season from what's going to be under the tree to what really matters with this character trait advent calendar that prompts discussion about what it means to be kind and honest. Putting together this advent calendar is easier than Santa sliding down the chimney, and you can add on these character trait cards to an existing advent calendar. Get inspired at Kiwi Co's blog.

The Kind Calendar

Looking to shift your family's focus from receiving to giving? Look no further than Lovely Indeed's Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. This free printable includes simple, actionable ideas like sending a Christmas card. The open-ended cards that say "Volunteer" or "Donate gently used toys" give you a chance to put your family's spin on the countdown by picking local nonprofit partners that are close to your heart. To create this beautiful, meaningful calendar, visit Lovely Indeed.

Candy Countdown

Make use of all those snack-sized candy bars in your pantry with Hey Let's Make Stuff's Leftover Halloween Candy advent calendar. Pick up treat cups and chalkboard clothespins, and you can create your own version. Click here to find out all the holiday how-to.

STEM-Mas

Little scientists will get a kick out of the STEM Countdown Calendar from Little Bins for Little Hands.  We love that the printable includes Christmas challenge cards with all sorts of things to build, test, mix and create. From festive homemade slime to gumdrop structures and a powerful Christmas catapult, you'll find loads of hands-on fun for dark winter nights. Find out how to create your own STEM countdown at Little Bins for Little Hands.

It's in the Bag

Little ones' eyes will be aglow when they see the toys and candy you put inside each bag in this advent calendar. We love that Alice and Lois's simple DIY Muslin Bag Advent Calendar can be used year after year—simply stuff your bags with new goodies or activities each November. Sled on over to Alice and Lois to learn how to make your own. 

Smash It Up

For kids who can barely sleep they're so excited about a visit from St. Nick, this DIY Punch Box Advent Calendar is perfect. Your candy cane-crazed kiddos can blast through each numbered pocket and pull out festive goodies. Studio DIY has all the how-to's you'll need. We predict this Advent calendar will be a smashing success!

 

Dino-Mite

Roar through December with this dinosaur-themed advent calendar. Your kids will love the Jurassic dose of fun, and parents will love that it's super easy for even the most exhausted elves to put together. Check out all the how-tos over at Boxy Colonial.

Scratch-Off Countdown

Who doesn't love scratch-off cards? This activity-packed advent calendar created by Melanie Blodgett for Minted adds extra, festive scratch-off holiday cheer. Make your own with paint and contact paper. Find out how here.

The Envelope, Please

We love Dandee Designs' simple, modern DIY advent wreath. Plus, you can pick up all of the supplies at the Dollar Store! This version uses red envelopes—but you can pick any color that fits with your holiday decor. Find out how to make your own at Dandee Designs. Happy crafting!

 

photo: Alison Suttcliffe

Reverse Advent Calendar

Give back this year with a reverse advent calendar. To DIY your own, decorate a cardboard box or basket, then contribute one item to the basket daily until Dec. 25th, when it’s finally ready to be delivered to a homeless shelter or food bank in your area. We suggest prepping your list and stockpiling supplies ahead of time, so it’s easy for your little elves to do their part!

photo: Jolly Mom

Story Time

December is the perfect time to snuggle up by the fire with a good book, and this advent calendar gives you two dozen chances to do just that! Wrap up Christmas-themed books you already own and pick up a few more at your local used bookstore to round out your collection. Wrap up the stories in paper and number the backs. Each night, your child will get to unwrap a book and hear a special seasonal story at bedtime.

Candy Cane Calendar

Advent calendars don't get much easier than this cheerful candy cane countdown. We love that it's a simple, festive way to deck the halls. Kids love that it's simply delicious. Pick up a few packages of flavored candy canes, and you're well on your way to building your own. A Pretty Happy Home will tell you how you can get started.

—Oz Spies with Erica Loop & Karly Wood

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