Adding an advent calendar to your holiday traditions is a fun and festive way to build excitement and enjoy the season with your family. But advent calendars can become quite the production – from getting all the materials, to putting it all together, to actually sticking to the countdown during an already hectic time. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Want to DIY your own advent calendar, with no fuss or muss and without breaking the bank? Here are 80+ fabulous countdowns to Christmas – broken down into varying levels of DIY-ability and ease of use. Find inspiration for your next DIY Christmas advent calendar and get ready for the Christmas season now!
80+ Fun, Fast and Frugal Christmas Advent Calendars
In this post:
Page 1: No Effort DIY Advent Calendars
Page 2: Easy DIY Advent Calendars
Page 3: Medium DIY Advent Calendars
Page 4: Expert DIY Advent Calendars
Ok, so no effort may be a bit of a misnomer, but these advents are so very LOW-effort, that it’s almost nonexistent. Many of them include printables which mean the work is nearly all done for you!
Advent Christmas Tree // Lil’ Luna
Probably the easiest way to incorporate your advent calendar is to just put it on the tree! You’re going to decorate your Christmas tree anyway, so use clothespins to attach tags with numbers on the front and activities on the back on some of the branches while you’re at it. Done!
Minimalist Printable Black and White Countdown // The Pretty Blog
This really is no effort whatsoever. Follow the link to print out the simple and classic calendar. Frame it and mark the days in dry erase marker. Now you have no excuse.
Cookie Tree Calendar // Life is a Party
Here’s a tree of a different sort, and it’s delicious! Grab some cookies from Ikea (they come with holes to use as ornaments!) Use icing to write the numbers and ribbon to hang from a tree or branch. Now just eat a cookie a day!
Sticky Note Advent Calendar // Apartment Therapy
Post-It’s make a great calendar, since each one is already a box. Just decorate one side and write an activity on the sticky side, then stick them to the wall in a grid shape. You could even skip the activity part if you want to make it even easier and just pull one down each day.
Paper Chain Scripture Advent // Activities for Kids
This printable chain couldn’t be more simple. Just print, and loop together. Each day, take one down and read the scripture on it.
Folk-Inspired Advent Calendar// The Pretty Blog
Your advent calendar can double as beautiful Christmas decor! This free printable includes circles for each day – with the look of hand-brushed writing and botanicals and a lovely color pallet, it’s a super pretty way to countdown the days. Just print, cut and attach to string. It’s that easy.
Upcycled Shoe Organizer Advent // Laughing Abi
Seems like just about everyone has a shoe organizer laying around. You can get fancy and decorate it or just shove some little gifts in tissue paper in each pocket, then number them. Either way is pretty simple!
Gum Advent Countdown // Delia Creates
This clever idea is perfect for kids. Take two packs of gum in the slip out envelope packs (like Eclipse), decorate the outside or not, and number the foil side of each individual gum window. Each day, the kids can pop out a piece of gum while keeping track of how many days until Christmas!
Pillbox Countdown // DIY Candy
Such a cute idea for the week leading up to Christmas – this version was created for a back to school countdown, but it easily translates to any holiday. There are 7 boxes with flip lids, so you countdown each day for a week. This shortened version of the advent may be more appealing to you, or you could use it in conjunction with the normal calendar you do!
Lego Duplo Advent Calendar // Jacks and Kate
This is the easiest, most kid-friendly idea I’ve seen! If your family has a collection of Duplos, you can use the mini people to create this fun advent with the free printable and straws! So quick and doable!
Matchbox Advent Jar // Just a Girl
Again, all you have to do for this one is decorate the boxes or not, then slip a little something inside (maybe a piece of paper with an activity?), number them and toss them in a pretty jar.
Neutral and Natural Advent Pouches // Mom in Music City
This is a great idea, because it uses scraps of fabric – any kind at all – which you likely already have on-hand. Just cut them into circles, put the treat in the middle, gather it up and tie with twine. Hang from a branch with ornament hooks!
Craft Stick Activity Jar Advent // Mess for Less
OR, just write the activities right on some craft sticks. You don’t even have to number them, just have the kids pull one out each day until Christmas!
Mason Jar Advent // The Country Chic Cottage
And if you’ve got extra mason jars around, you can just put some little presents inside, then screw the lids on and number them. Keep them in the case they came in so you can’t see into them.
Colorful Advent Calendar Wall-Hanging // A Subtle Revelry
This whimsical advent is made using the free printable templates provided – just print out the colorful envelopes and put them together, fill with goodies, then hang on string from a dowel or branch and you’ve got a perfect, colorful, fun and cheerful advent!
Take-Out Container Advent // Just a Girl
Take out boxes are a great idea – they’re cute and little, you can decorate them or not and they’d still be adorable, and all you have to do is fold them shut – no tape or anything else necessary!
Magnetic Advent Calendar // Lemon Thistle
Pop some magnets on the back of small white boxes and, amazingly, you’ve got an advent calendar! Really, that’s all it takes. Put them on your fridge in a cute design and let your kids pick them off day by day. You could decorate them super cute, as on Lemon Thistle, but it’s not required.
“Sour Cream Container” Ornament Advent Calendar // 100 Things 2 Do
Those cute little sour cream containers you rip open to use? You can make them yourself! Better yet, all you need is wrapping paper and double sided tape! Hang them on the tree for ornaments, or string them along a garland. So cute and easy!
Hanging Mini Kraft Paper Envelope Advent // Inspired By This
If you can clip a mini envelope to a ribbon or twine, you can make this advent calendar! Decorate the envelopes to your taste (or don’t, they’re already cute) then hang ribbon vertically on the wall. Clip and enjoy!
12 Days of Christmas Stocking Countdown // Bower Power
Instead of an advent beginning on December 1st, cut yourself a little slack and start just 12 days before Christmas. Include goodies and and activity in each stocking for double the fun. If you’re often overwhelmed with 25 full days of advent calendar countdown, this is the perfect solution. (Use store-bought stockings to make this DIY even more doable.)
Candle Advent Calendar // Sugar Bee Crafts
To make a candle advent calendar, you just measure every inch or so on a long taper, then use a paint pen to make marks and numbers. Each day, light the candle down to the current number then blow out. Easy and cheap to make!
Candle Countdown // The Merrythought
If you like the candle idea, and want to go even easier, get one in a jar and use this countdown printable.
Chalkboard Countdown // The Lily Pad Cottage
If you’ve got a framed chalkboard at your house, you’ve got a countdown all ready to go. Just make a grid and write the numbers! You can make it fancy too, just check out these tips for great chalk art!
Reverse Advent // Mum In the Madhouse
Here’s an idea that take literally no effort, but makes a huge impact. Every day add an item to a basket – non-perishable food, toiletries, etc. – and then donate it to a shelter, food bank or family in need.