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For us there’s no better way to build festive anticipation than with that most iconic of Christmas traditions: the homemade advent calendar. And whether you’re planning something conventional or find yourself seeking more unorthodox homemade advent calendar ideas, our guide to crafting your own DIY advent calendar is filled with more ideas than you can shake a sleigh at.


How to Make an Envelope Advent Calendar

A relatively recent addition to homemade advent calendar ideas, an envelope advent calendar is a unique, highly customizable type of advent calendar that you can make at home. Requiring very little craft skill, an envelope advent calendar doubles up a distinctive decoration that’ll perfectly complement your existing trimmings.

What You’ll Need:

  • Mini envelopes or brown paper bags
  • Twine
  • Mini pegs
  • Paper, felt or card
  • Micro dots or glue
  • decorations such as cinnamon sticks or candied orange


  • Start by cutting your card, paper or felt into suitably festive designs. (Our homemade advent calendar is heavy on the classics – reindeer, snowmen, etc. – but go with what works for you.) 
  • Next, affix your designs to the envelopes, using either micro dots or glue, before numbering.
  • Then, fill the envelopes with appropriately sized gifts. For a children’s envelope advent calendar, bite-size chocolates, or miniature toys work well, or, if you’re crafting a homemade advent calendar for adults, perhaps alcohol miniatures or fragrance samples.
  • Finally, hang your twine, carefully attaching the envelopes.
  • Voila! Let the excitement build as you use your homemade advent calendar to count down to the big day.

How to Design an Activity Advent Calendar

While not filled with tangible (read: edible and chocolatey) items, an activity advent calendar is perfect for those who prefer – quite literally – to think outside of the box; whilst also serving a custom decorative piece for your yuletide ensemble.

What You’ll Need:

  • Card or paper
  • Envelopes
  • Glue or micro dots
  • Scissors
  • Festive activity ideas galore!


As there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to an activity advent calendar, for the purposes of this guide we’ll assume you’re making pockets/windows with envelopes, but experiment as you see fit. This is, after all, your homemade advent calendar.

  • First, design your backing sheet and illustrate or trace directly onto your card or paper. We’re partial to a classic festive scene. Think snowy forests.
  • Next, design your envelopes to correspond with your background, before numbering and affixing using micro dots or glue.
  • Now for the ideas section. Devise an activity for each day of your homemade advent calendar. Set your imagination free! Examples could include going for a wintry walk, having a snowball fight, or watching a festive film.
  • Shuffle your cards and insert each (no peeking!) into an envelope.
  • Display your activity advent calendar and enjoy a month of yuletide fun!

Alternative Homemade Advent Calendar Ideas: Scavenger Hunt

Our final entry in our list of advent calendars you can make at home is deceptively simple, and perfect for the dedicated and adventurous amongst you, taking inspiration from both the envelope advent calendar and activity advent calendar. A cosy Christmas mystery in your own home, perfect for kids and grownups alike!

What You’ll Need:

  • Envelopes or small (concealable!) boxes.
  • Card or paper


  • Devise 24 cryptic, location-based clues, each linking to the next. For example, ‘Find me where you lay your head’, referring to beneath a pillow, and so on.
  • At the end of the epic hunt, and after the toughest clue, hide an early Christmas gift.

And there we have it; several customisable advent calendars you can make at home; sure to satisfy this festive season.

For more yuletide inspiration, check out some of our other Christmas blogs, filled with good tidings and better ideas! Or play our Countdown to Christmas advent calendar - the game & prizes change every Thursday and there are chances to win every day! For more seasonal hints, and to be in with a chance of winning daily prizes, sign up to our E-newsletter. And don’t forget to pop into your local SPAR for all of your DIY advent calendar supplies.