Countdown to Christmas: 14 Creative Advent Calendar Ideas

Advent calendars are a fun way for kids to count down the 25 days leading up to Christmas. Check out these festive and unique handmade Advent calendars you can create just in time to open the very first gift.

Takeout Goodies

This Advent calendar made from takeout food containers is a clever way to get your kids to count down to Christmas. Layla Palmer made the standard white boxes more jolly with construction paper and stickers.

Frame Job

A frame, cork board, holiday cards and ribbon are all you need to make a cute calendar like this one by designer Brian Patrick Flynn. Just add five rows of five cards to the cork board with push pins and mark each card with the numbered days.

Upcycled Chic

Got lots of old, patterned dress shirts on your hands? Put them to good use! Copy designer Casey Noble, and turn them into a chic Advent calendar garland that can be used year after year.

Can It

Recycled tin cans create a one-of-a-kind Advent calendar in this example by Cindy Hopper of Skip to My Lou. Fill each date with a toy, candy, or an idea for family fun.

Homemade Mitten Advent Calendar

Merry Mittens

Add a sweet and colorful touch to any holiday mantel with a festive mitten advent calendar garland. Layla Palmer used a variety of toddler-sized mittens in traditional Christmas hues and printed out 24 numbers small enough to tuck into each mitten. To add extra holiday cheer, she added a sweet sentiment below each number. String the mittens on a long strand of twine and start counting down.

Dome Advent Calendar With Presents

Interactive Centerpiece

Dress up the dinner table with a sparkling and unique advent calendar centerpiece. Jessica Wilcox of Modern Moments Designs used a vintage chicken-wire cloche dome of gifts and printable Christmas tags to represent the 25-day countdown. Add small, wrapped presents, decorative ornaments and ribbons underneath the dome. Each day, let the kids remove a tag and open a present. With each gift and tag removed, simply replace with the next consecutive number.

Special Delivery

Share My Craft user Katie Watson came up with a fun and creative way for children to count down the 25 days of Christmas. Using simple square envelopes with string closures, she adorned each one with different holiday-inspired themes, patterns and colors. Inside each envelope Katie placed a coupon for each child that can be redeemed for something special at home, such as a cup of hot chocolate, a piece of Christmas candy or Mom reading a bedtime story. Strung up the banister with colorful foam balls, the advent banner is not only a fun family activity but an original piece of holiday decor, too.

Advent Calendar Garland

Traditional Countdown

This holiday advent calendar is full of traditional charm and vintage style, keeping the Christmas anticipation alive for both kids and adults. Marian Parsons of Mustard Seed Interiors printed 24 different vintage images onto fused linen and freezer paper and painted a number onto the bottom corner of each. Each linen image was then assembled to form a pocket to hold candy or small gifts for the little ones. After attaching ribbon, the pockets can be draped around a Christmas tree or along a banister.

Advent Calendar Sacks With Bite Size Treats DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Christmas Treats

For this year's Christmas countdown, give your family daily surprises they'll devour. Using a sweet, holiday-inspired fabric, create miniature sacks to fill with delicious treats. After filling, add a corresponding countdown number, tie twine around the top to seal the sack and hang from the tree. Each day will leave everyone waiting in anticipation for another scrumptious Christmas treat.

Christmas Advent Calendar With Ornaments Tags

Ornamental Additions

This advent calendar idea is simple and perfect for last-minute crafters. Melaine Thompson of My Sweet Savannah stenciled 24 numbers onto manila shipping tags and added glittery adornments. Each day, as Christmas draws closer and closer, the kids take off an ornament and place it on the tree.

Vintage Thread Spool Holiday Advent Calendar

Repurposed Holidays

Share My Craft user Cathe Holden reused vintage thread spools to create a one-of-a-kind holiday advent calendar in her home. On each spool she added a numbered wrap with a special note or a clue to a hidden gift. Cathe, a passionate crafter and designer, displayed her Christmas countdown on a vintage, modified spool holder. Cathe also suggests creating individual, numbered spool ornaments for the tree, or stringing the entire set together to create an advent calendar garland.

Stocking Advent Garland Hung with Care DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Rustic Stocking Stuffers

Using a simple stocking template and patterns and fabrics of your choosing, this handmade advent calendar garland is the perfect family project. After sewing all the stocking edges, let the kids decorate the fronts. Add adornments and numbers, and then string onto twine, hang on the banister and fill with candy, gifts or notes leading to hidden gifts.

Christmas Advent Calendar for Kids Bedroom

Countdown for the Kids

This traditional, felt advent calendar is the perfect addition to a child's bedroom door over the holidays. By using simple and inexpensive materials, each child can have a calendar of their own. Try to create different holiday-inspired shapes to form the background — a classic Christmas tree, snowflake, mitten or Santa Claus hat.

Christmas Calendar Flavored with Treats

Eclectic Surprises

Nothing makes an advent calendar more exciting and mysterious for the whole family than when each day's treat is wrapped in different packaging. RMS user Annie16 didn't just gift candy and baked goods for the Christmas countdown, she had candles, ornaments, cards and toys all creatively displayed on a rustic, ladder-style rack.

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