Looking for Advent Calendar Ideas

Updated on November 13, 2007
H.W. asks from Canyon Country, CA
15 answers

Hello Ladies! As the Holiday Season is rapidly approaching, and the count down to Christmas begins, I have started to look for cute/fun advent calendars for my son. Unfortunately, none of the ones that I have been seeing in the stores have struck my fancy. So, I thought I would make one with him, but I am stumped for ideas and running out of time. I would like to make one that we can use for years to come and hopefully that he can help make. If anybody has any ideas, I would love to hear them! Thanks a million and Happy Holidays!

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answers from San Diego on

Costco has a great advent Calendar for $35 (or so). We just got one and expect to use it for years to come!

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answers from Salinas on

I have the perfect one for you! It's a wall-hanging Christmas tree with ornaments to put on each day.

To make this advent calendar, you will need:

Background material (1 yard)
Contrasting material (1/3 yard)
Green Felt (about 1/2 yard)
Felt squares of assorted colors: red, pink, yellow, brown, etc
Fabric glue
Assorted sequins
Fabric paints (assorted colors) or permanent markers
Red rickrack
Sitcky-back velcro buttons (24)
2 Dowels
Cording (1 yard)

To make this, you do the following:
1. Cut the background material into a rectangle about 24" x 36". Hem the long sides. Make a casing at the top and bottom of the rectangle large enough to hold the dowels. (A casing is like the opening at the top of a curtain, for putting the rod through). If you sew, you can sew the hem and casing. If you do not sew, just use fabric glue.

2. Cut a large Christmas tree from the green felt; make the traditonal 'stacked triangle' kind. It should be about 18" tall and 20" wide on the bottom. You will need to fudge around with its size -- as well as the background materials size -- to get it to work for you.

3. Glue or sew this Christmas tree onto the upper-half of the rectangle of background material.

4. Cut the contasting material into 3 strips about 2" tall and 18" wide. Sew or glue a narrow hem onto all four sides.

5. On the lower half of the background material, lay the three strips out, leaving about 2" between each strip. Sew or glue the strips down. Attach the strips on only three sides: Bottom and two short sides. (You are making strips os pockets to hold the Christmas ornaments)

6. Divide each strip into 8 pockets. Sew (easy) or glue (harder) the dividing lines on the pockets.

7. Use the fabric paints or the permanent markers to number the pockets 1 to 24. If desired, use the red rickrack to simulate garland on the Christmas tree.

Allow to dry -- this step took me about 1 hour in total, done in 15 minute increments over several days. I find that sewing works better than gluing in terms of longevity and ease.


8. Using the felt squares, fabric paint, markers, glitter and glue, design and execute 24 different ornaments (about 1 1/2" square). Some ideas are: gingerbread man, candy cane, star, Santa's face, present.

9. Place a sticky velcro dot on the back of each ornament (the furry side). Arrange the rough side of the velcro dots on the Christmas tree, making sure that you have one at the very top.

10. When the ornaments are dry, tuck them into the pockets. Stick the dowels through the casings. Tie the cording onto the ends of the top dowel (for hanging.

You need to play around with the sizes of tree, ornaments, calendar pockets and background material to get them to all work together.

When I was a child, my family made a similar advent calendar. My mother gave us free-reign to make the ornaments anyway we wanted. Consequently, my older brother's ornaments are quite nice and recognizable (he was 9). Mine are interesting and somewhat recognizable -- especially the birthday cake as my birthday falls on December 14 (I was 5). My younger brother's (age 2) creations are sparkly geometric blobs.

My older brother inheirted this advent calendar, which is now on it's 39th Christmas. He and his daughters still place the ornaments on it every year -- which always reminds them to call me on my birthday. I made one with my mother-in-law for my oldest son's first Christmas; this will be its 16th Christmas.

When my eldest son was about 3 years old, one of the original ornaments for our advent calendar died. I had him make a replacement ornament, which looks just like a 3-year-old designed and made it. Over the years, as an ornament dies, I've let the children replace them. It's fun to see how the ornaments change over time.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I found the cutest idea in Family Fun lsat year. Get 25 socks, all in Christmas colors. Hang them from a string across your fireplace (or on the wall someplace.) You can put a treat or something fun to do together in each sock. Pick off a sock a day until Christmas! I didn't do it last year, but thought it was brilliant!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Since he's only 2, you might want to wait until he's a little bit older to try and "make" something that will be a keepsake. It will be WAY cuter when he can draw little santa clauses and maybe write the numbers himself (maybe 4 or 5, so that he can remember making it too). This year, why don't you have a fun craft, book, or snack wrapped for each day in December. Then you can have a basket filled with these things and choose one each day. I don't know if you have 24 christmas/winter books, but a different one wrapped each night would be cute. Or throw in some sticker pages or little things like that. You could also get a little mini tree and get 24 decorations for the tree, and add one each night. Gosh, you could even get really elaborate and make them photo ornaments, one for each special person in your son's life and relatives - gosh I'm really liking these ideas! That would initiate cool conversations about relatives like your grandparents and other cousins, etc who live far away. I think I will try that too!



answers from Yuba City on

Some ideas....
find or google a wooden box with 24 or 25 little doors, and you guys can paint it and for numbers you can use craft stickers. (I saw this painted box at target..I forget the price)

I saw this idea in a magazine last year, i will plan do this year and perhaps for a long time.
Dig out 24 or 25 baby or toddler socks if still have in storage. maybe holiday colors..red, green, stripes etc. and buy little wooden clothes clips and a nice ropey string. and hang it on the wall or mantle. And fill it with treats or little gifts.

......Just added info......
I just went to starbucks today (tuesday, nov. 13) and saw a cardboard boxes advent calender that is piled to look like a christmas tree. Pretty cute. Cheap compared to the wooden boxes version I've seen..the cardboard one is 15.95



answers from Sacramento on

This idea is not for a permanent advent calendar, but it is fun and can be done for more that one child - ie individual calenders. The materials include saran wrap, 24 to 25 small christmas related toys or candy, and ribbion, yarn or string. Lay the advent items out on a table with a few inches in betweeen. Next lay out the saran wrap the same length and place the items on the saran wrap. wrap the saran wrap around the items and tye off each section with the string. On first day cut the first item off at the bottom and continue to do so for the rest of the month.



answers from San Francisco on

I don't know if you sew, but if not you can use a hot glue gun. Get a piece of felt or material in a rectangle and cut out 25 squares of felt. Glue or sew them on in 5 rows of 5, leaving the top open. You can use fabric paint or a permanent marker to write the numbers on each square of felt. Decorate the felt with glitter, felt cutouts or anything else that you find. You can put a "suprise" in each felt pocket to find each day.



answers from Los Angeles on

OK...so I own a gift store and we have the cutest ones. They are slippers all strung together and they have the numbers of the days on the toe....super cute! My store is in Monrovia, CA. If you decide you want one let me know and I can ship it to you. Take Care,




answers from San Francisco on

check garnet hill for some fun ideas. You can google them and take a look online. They have one advent calendar made up of a string of colourful numbered knit hats, another is a doll with pockets. This may kick start your own imagination. Good luck with your project.



answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not creative at all, but a friend recently sent me this link for an advent calendar you can use for years & I thought it was so cool! Maybe it can help inspire you.




answers from San Francisco on

Use recycled boxes. Find 25 small boxes from jewelry boxes to tissue boxes in size. With your child, paint/sticker/color each of them and be sure to write a number on each. When he's not around, you add a small toy or item he likes (stickers, crayons, religious items etc.) inside each and put them on a table for display with the tops closed. If he's likely to get into them, tape each closed, as well. Then every day, open one of the boxes together. At the end, he has the items and you can still recycle all the boxes. It's easy and cheap to do, and kids love helping to make their own Advent calendar. While you won't use it necessarily for 'years to come,' you can certainly make a new one each year -- or save one of the boxes each year to remember the ones you made when he was small. Enjoy!



answers from San Francisco on

This is not a home made idea, but it's one we found last year and liked. My husband and son both really enjoy Legos, and we found a Lego avent calendar that allowed us to build a small Lego item for each day. When all the items were built, we had a little city. Not sure if this fits your style or not, but we found it fun for our family.



answers from Los Angeles on

I read your post about looking for an Advent Calendar. I run a scrapbooking and craft business from my home in Santa Clarita. I am teaching a class to make an Advent Calendar on Sunday November 25th at 1pm. They are made from cookie sheets and are really cute! The cost is $25. You can check out my website at www.kreationswithkris.com
If you want to see a picture of the calendar - you can send me an e-mail at ____@____.com

While you are at my website - sign up for my newsletter which has dates of my crops and classes as well as useful scrapbooking information.



answers from Los Angeles on

You know, I really don't know, but I would be willing to bet that any craft stores that carry a decent variety of woodworking stuff (you know, the little pre-built things that you paint) would have a "blank" one, and all you would have to do is paint it. If not, look for a local woodworker. He may be willing to build you one that will last.

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