DIY advent calendars

This year I decided to do a little something different with our traditional store-bought chocolate advent calendars.  Trying to create a new tradition that did not include our children devouring chocolate every day, unleashed an unknown world of DIY advent calendars.  A quick Google search showed me that there were many different variations with many different daily filler options.  How would I ever choose?

I set out to find an advent that I could create myself but wouldn't be expensive or time consuming.  Since I'm on maternity leave this year, I'm trying to be as budget-conscious as I can.  Keyword:  trying.

After an extensive search, I came across a fabulous DIY advent calendar via Polkadot Prints.  Not only does it come with detailed instructions, it also comes with free templates.  Yes, you read that right - free.

I happened to have a package of white cardstock paper lying around and printed each template on a page of cardstock.  The instructions were extremely easy to follow and you only need limited supplies such as double-sided tape, one-hole punch, craft cutter, bone folder or knitting needle {to help fold creases easier}, and ribbon.  I substituted the hot glue gun with a couple packages of stick-on velcros, just in case I decide to reuse the boxes next year.

I then cut out each numbered template with a craft cutter.  It definitely saved a lot of time and energy in trying to cut the lines perfectly straight.  Although the template came with 25 numbers, I decided to only go with 24 since the traditional advent calendars I grew up with only went up to Christmas Eve.  Plus the kids are getting a bunch of presents on Christmas Day, so they really don't need to be that spoiled.

Once I had all of the templates cut out, I taped and taped and taped until they started to look like this:

Before I knew it, my pile turned into 24 of these:

I pinched and hole-punched the sides to string the ribbon through and carefully applied the velcro inside the pouch.  If the kids were to peek inside the pouches, they may be able to catch a glance at some of the treats but so far they've been pretty good {even my 3 year old!}.

Finally, I was able to hang the pouches up this morning - just in time for December 1st!  I strung them onto our mantle using Command Brand damage-free hanging hooks, so it could hang on the fireplace.  Here is the end result:

I'm very happy with the way it ended up looking and I can't wait until Miss S comes home on Monday!  Lucky girl will have three pouches to open!  As for what's inside the pouches, I decided to stray away from chocolate and candy as much as possible except for a few days.  The other days will have Hot Wheels, tattoos, Cars stickers and Lego Mini Figures for Lil J, and Bath & Body Works hand gels, hand gel covers and jewelry from Claire's for Miss S.  Don't worry - everything that's in these advent pouches were bought at a very good price!

The only way I can justify spoiling the kids like this is not buying something like the Lego Advent Calendars for $50, which have random Lego pieces in it, and just making each day special with things that I would have normally bought them as regular Christmas presents.  Plus, I couldn't fathom the thought of Lil J eating a chocolate a day.  Crazy town.

Do you have an advent calendar tradition in your household?  Did you get creative and make a DIY advent or did you go for the easy {and more practical} store-bought version?


  1. This is awesome! Nicely done - I bet your kids will absolutely love it!

  2. Turned out GREAT!!! Nice work, mama. :)

  3. So cute! Great job! My little rascals have already taken down more than one a day, and pretty sure 3 chocolates were eaten today!! ;)

    1. Thanks Michelle! Did you make your own as well? My 12 step-daughter is pretty good and, surprisingly, my 3 yr old is actually listening to me! I must scare him or something, don't you think?! LOL!