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FORGET plain old advent calendars this year, and give the gift of something extra special in the countdown to Christmas.
The best make your own advent calendars are a chance for you to get creative, with 24 (or 25!) opportunities to surprise your loved ones everyday in December with a unique gift.
Whether you go for cardboard, wooden boxes or a hanging fabric calendar, you’ll need 24-25 different ideas for the gifts to put inside it!
Think travel-sized toiletries, socks, soaps, cosmetics, small toys, herbal teas, shopping vouchers, lottery tickets, stationery, sweets and boozy miniatures (not for the kids, obviously!) – let your imagination run riot and you’ll be amazed and amused at the ideas you can conjure up.
You could even bake some goodies… but be sure to put these in the first days before they go out of date!
Invest in one of the best make your own advent calendars we’ve rounded up below, and you could be all set to start a whole new family tradition.
This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.
1. Evance Advent Calendar Bags
- (AD) Evance advent calendar bags, £8.99 from Amazon – buy here
If you’re going for a country cottage look with your Christmas décor this year, these natural linen bags will add ‘made it myself’ rustic appeal.
In a palette of four tonal colours: purple, grey, navy and natural, these bargain bags come with 24 numbered stickers, tags, 24 pegs and a 10m-long hemp rope for hanging from wall-to-wall.
These advent calendar bags are perfect for doing double duty as Christmas tree decorations if you keep the contents light or alternatively, hang them from a string above a fireplace or over a door frame.
2. Artemio Wooden Advent Calendar
- (AD) Artemio advent calendar to decorate, £33.81 from Amazon – buy here
If you’re handy with a paintbrush, you’ll be able to decorate this simple, yet sturdy, wooden advent calendar exactly as you see fit – adding stickers, felt, ribbon and glitter to finish it off.
The calendar features drawers of various sizes so you can really get creative with the contents, and you’ll have a bit of fun figuring out what to put where.
But the real beauty of this DIY wooden calendar is that it’s robust enough to be used over and over again for years to come.
3. Super Sweet Party Boutique Kraft House Advent Calendar Boxes
- Kraft house advent calendar boxes, £9.95 from Etsy – buy here
Adorn your mantelpiece with a festive village of sweet house-shaped boxes, each containing a secret present of your choosing for someone you love to open each day in December.
This crafty kit contains everything you need to make 24 house boxes including three designs of cardboard house (eight per design), 24 wooden pegs, numbered tags, white twine with gold thread for hanging and 24 white dotted tissue papers for wrapping your little gifts.
You could even hang them from your Christmas tree (if you’ve not packed them with heavy sweets, of course).
4. Lakeland Fill Your Own Advent Calendar
- Hanging fabric fill-your-own advent calendar, £24.99 from Lakeland – buy here
If you haven’t got a lot of space to display your advent calendar (or to store it once Christmas is over), this hanging fabric banner is a good solution.
Its 24 little pockets are perfectly sized to take sweets, biscuits, handwritten messages and small gifts.
The calendar measures 45 x 69cm and the pockets are 9cm square, and looks great hanging on the back of any bedroom door.
5. RosyOhSo DIY Bunting Advent Calendar
- Bunting advent calendar, £29 from Etsy – buy here
If you can’t trust your little one to resist the temptation to getting ahead on the door-opening, this bunting advent calendar can be hung well out of harm’s way.
Beautifully handmade from natural coloured calico, with Christmas themed-pockets, the 10 x 7cm pouches are perfect for hiding sweets, chocolate coins or small toys inside.
The jolly bunting is made to order, so if you don’t have the room for a single 2m-long calendar, you can request two 1m stretches instead.
6. Ryman Plush Fill Your Own Advent Calendar
- Plush Fill Your Own Advent Calendar, £4.99 from Ryman – buy here
On a tight budget this festive season? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this Plush Fill Your Own Advent Calendar from Ryman.
For under a fiver (we know!) it has 24 individually-tied and numbered bags sewn to a plush banner, in the classic red and green Christmas colour scheme.
It’ll great to roll up and store away for next year, too, and easily hangs on any bedroom door with the red ribbon provided.
7. Hobbycraft Wooden Christmas Tree Calendar
- Wooden Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, £15 from Hobbycraft – buy here
This Christmas tree-shaped make-your-own advent calendar from Hobbycraft is another fantastic blank canvas.
Featuring 24 square blocks that make up our favourite Christmas decoration, this is bound to be hours of fun in the run up to Christmas.
It’s wooden, meaning it’s strong and sturdy to endure all kinds of bumps and grazes while being stored away for next year.
Plus, if you like, you could even rope the kids in to help out decorating it with stickers, paint, glitter glue, ribbon and more.
8. Hobbycraft LED Advent House
- LED Advent House, £15 from Hobbycraft – buy here
Hobbycraft has proved that it’s the best place to shop if you’re looking for a range of unique make your own advent calendars – and this cute LED Advent House is no exception.
This sturdy wooden festive advent house lights up (batteries are included) and has 25 empty box drawers to make your DIY advent calendar sparkle after filling it up with a series of treats and delights.
The design of the house is blank and ready for you to add some festive cheer to it in the form of glitter glue, sequins, stickers, and whatever else you can rustle up from your crafts drawer.
9. The Little Crafty Bugs Company Large Fabric Advent Calendar
- Large Fabric Advent Calendar, £19.28 from The Little Crafty Bugs Company – buy here
If you’re a dab hand with pens of all shapes and sizes, then this large fabric advent calendar from The Little Crafty Bugs Company is perfect for you.
Decorate the 24 pockets with handwritten names in a range of calligraphy, or Christmas carol lyrics. Or you could even stitch and sew on felt, or buttons.
It comes with a wooden stick for easy hanging on walls or doors, too.
How much are make your own advent calendars?
Make your own advent calendars are available in a range of budgets and styles to make sure that you get the best, most affordable DIY calendar to suit your needs and price point.
They generally tend to be around £10-£20, with some coming in at under a fiver from Ryman – or over £30 for a hand-crafted, bespoke piece from Etsy.
Where to buy a make your own advent calendar?
If you’re looking for a range at low prices, your best bet is Amazon.
If you fancy a project with the family or kids, spend hours of fun checking out all Hobbycraft has to offer when it comes to make your own advent calendars. They have plenty in wood, fabric or cardboard for you to enjoy, as well and mix-and-match options.
If you’re looking for a higher end, perhaps classier and more bespoke, handmade affair, then check out Etsy.
What to look for in a make your own advent calendar?
The best DIY or make your own advent calendars come with 24 or 25 pouches, bags or boxes of all shapes and sizes for you to be able to fit a range of treats in to surprise your loved ones.
They must have the ability to hang from a door or wall, and be sturdy enough to stand upright on a fireplace.
If you’re looking for a craftier project, look for a calendar that is essentially a blank canvas, and will allow you to stick or paint on to create your own, one-of-a-kind advent calendar.
Enjoyed our round-up of the best make your own advent calendars for Christmas 2021? We’ve also rounded up the best Christmas gifts for her and gifts for him.
If you’re after some Christmas board games to get stuck into after the turkey, check out our feature on the best board games for Christmas 2021.
We’re all about helping you find the best products at the best prices, so check out our very own Sun Selects’ recommendations.
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