Easy and Inexpensive DIY Advent Calendar

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A couple years ago, I made an advent calendar for the kids out of a bunch of mismatched socks I knew I was never going to find matches for.

It was a little bit cheesy, but I spent zero money on it and the kids loved it.

It lasted for two years before it fell apart.

I wanted to make another one this year, but I needed it to be cheap. Plus, I wanted it to last for a few years, and I didn’t want it to take too long to put together.

I also wanted it to be an “activity” advent calendar.

So here’s what I got:

  • a plastic over the door shoe holder ($8.99)
  • 2 packs of 12 goodie bags from the dollar store ($2)
  • ribbon from the dollar store (I only used two — $2)
  • 8 x 5 index cards (already had those)
  • foam stars (already had those)

So I spent a total of $13.

First, I dressed up the shoe holder.




Then I cut the index cards in half.


I numbered half of them 1 – 24.

On the other half, I wrote the activities I planned for the calendar.

I chose from this list:

Make Christmas Cookies

Go to the movies!

Make Christmas ornaments

Write someone a Christmas card

Watch Polar Express

Watch Rudolph

Watch Home Alone

Play Christmas Charades

Get a candy cane!

Donuts and hot chocolate for breakfast

Make gingerbread houses

Go into NYC!!!

Kent gingerbread festival (free)

Lights at Hubbard Park (free)

Deliver cookies to neighbors

Perform a random act of kindness

Give each family member a compliment

Sing christmas carols at nursing home

Make snowflakes

Make a paper chain

Color in a Christmas picture

Take a nature walk – find pinecones (to make Christmas decorations later)

Make milk jug snowmen

Make your own wreath

Go on a nature hunt for sticks and pinecones  (to use to make decorations)

Make an Elf Yourself Ornament

Next I took the list of activities and looked at the calendar for December.

I planned the activities around basketball games and swim meets and wrote them all down in my bullet journal so I’d remember what I had planned for when.


Then I put the card and any other stuff necessary into each bag.

I found some movie tickets someone gave us a few months ago. The kids are going to go crazy when they get that one because we never go to the movies.


Last year we did Christmas charades and laughed so hard.


The bags come in handy for the charade picks, and they also keep each day a surprise. But because I’m no dummy, I taped them shut, too.

Then I slid each bag into its corresponding pocket.


How cute is that?

Easy, quick, inexpensive, reusable parts (I’ll just have to replace the bags and some of the activities next year), looks good on the door, and it should last a while!


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