DIY Advent Calendar

In so many ways, it does not feel like it should almost be Christmas. This whole year just flew by, and now December is only days away. We have our Christmas tree up, and a few miscellaneous decorations, including festive penguins and snowmen. Only one thing was missing – an advent calendar.

Advent calendars were one of my favourite things as a child. The hardest part was sticking to just one small chocolate a day. These calendars have come a long way in recent years. Sure, you still have your standard one with the basic piece of chocolate, likely with a different design on it for each day, but now there are so many other options. Different chocolate brands have fancier options, you can get ones for toys like lego, or ones with various beauty products. There is even a Pringles calendar available in the UK. Count myself jealous on that one!

I knew I wanted a calendar with a treat in it, the question was what kind. Gummy candy is my favourite candy, but I wasn’t happy with what I was finding online. The prices were just too high for the amount of candy that was included. Thus an idea was sprung, I would make my own calendar!

The first step was picking up supplies. My husband got me a slab of plywood measuring 54″x32″. I had premeasured what I would need to fit the right amount of bags for 25 days. I hit up a nearby dollar store and found ribbon, a Christmas decal, chalkboard stickers and paper bags. I had clothespins from a project in my closet (more on that another day). With the clothespins and wood, I knew that I needed to introduce as much colour as I could in other ways.

My biggest concern with colour was not being able to find the right kind of bag. The last thing I wanted was to have brown paper bags, along with all the other brown I knew was going to be on the calendar. No question, the bags had to be colourful. The minute I saw these red bags, I knew they were perfect. The size was just what I wanted and the bright red was the perfect pop of colour. I went with two different patterns because they were similar enough, but it still added a bit more eye appeal.

The most fun part was picking out candy. I went to the bulk candy store and stocked up on enough gummy candy for 25 days. There were a couple of repeats, but overall I got a wide range of all my favourite types. I got small Ziploc bags for the candy for a couple of different reasons. The first, and biggest, reason is to keep the candy fresh. Some of these bags will be waiting to be eaten for over 25 days, I need to make sure they stay as fresh as possible! Gummy candy can also be a bit greasy, I didn’t want that grease to start seeping through the bags and ruin the overall appeal. The third, and final, reason is that I am hoping I can just keep re-using these red bags for a couple of years to save on that expense in the future.

The bags I am using are small ones I found in the craft aisle at the dollar store. They may be meant for beads etc, but they are the perfect size for candy!

My original plan was to attach ribbon to each side with hot glue and hook the clothespins overtop holding onto the bags. I also put a few dabs of hot glue along the way to add some extra support. Unfortunately, the weight was just too much and they were dropping down quite a bit. Thankfully, there was an easy fix for that. I measured along the ribbon that was in place and laid out the clothespins an even distance apart. I then glued the clothespins to the wood. This holds everything in place, and the ribbon still adds the perfect amount of extra colour and shine.

Next up was the numbers. I found these chalkboard stickers in the craft aisle as well, and I instantly knew they were perfect. The black stands out on the wood and the different shapes add some additional visual appeal. Black is a great neutral to work with and it allows the other colours to pop without making it too drab or too busy.

This ‘Merry Christmas’ decal and snowflakes was just the final touch that the calendar needed. I knew I wanted something to specify this for Christmas, and I wanted it to be simple. The red was a great match for the bags, and the red, blue and green snowflakes are complimentary colours for the calendar. Not to mention, red and turquoise is my favourite colour combination! The last touch was adding some multi-colour lights around the calendar, also from the dollar store. They are battery powered and the perfect final touch to this calendar.

I wrote numbers 1-24 on the chalkboard stickers but ran into an issue. There were 6 per page and I really didn’t want to buy a 5th sheet just for day 25. I marked this day with some snowflakes instead, since that’s the most special day!

The only thing I would change about this calendar is the hot glue. I will likely try to take off the pieces along the ribbon since they are no longer necessary. The best thing about this calendar is that it can be used year after year! The basics are all there, next year I will only have to purchase a new selection of candy and fill the bags.

If gummy candy isn’t your thing, you could put anything you want into these bags! You could include beauty samples, toys for your kids, chocolate, jewellery, anything you like! The world is your oyster, though I wouldn’t recommend including those on here.

I know what candy is on this calendar, but the bags got mixed up along the way so I have no idea what day I will get each type. If you prefer to make it a complete surprise, you could have someone that knows you well shop for little items to include each day. This can also make a fun gift for a loved one!

  • Being a crafting hoarder (notice not a crafting addict because I really have to be very enthused to start and finish a craft) I know I have nearly everything in the house already to try this out for myself.

  • The Nickel Nook

    That’s a great idea and you did a fabulous job!