Homemade Advent Calendars {Ideas & Inspiration}

I know it’s another Christmas post and I promise we aren’t trying to bombard you but after discussions amongst the team everyone seems to be in full planning mode now so they can relax and enjoy December. Plus the John Lewis advert has been released today and we’ve already fallen in love with Marks & Spencers Paddington Bear offering so we figured Christmas is really in full swing. On that note what do you think of this years John Lewis ad? I fear I am swinging more towards Paddington in the festive stakes.

Therefore we felt it was only fair we shared all our thoughts and finds with you nice and early. Today is the turn of the advent calendar.

Every year Edd’s dad buys the girls an advent calendar. For the last few years this has been a toy related one filled with playmobil, lego or playdoh which they have loved but this year I wanted to bring a little bit of my own magic back. So I am setting about creating my own advent calendar and have been scouring Pinterest for ideas. Seems the Rock My Team are the fountain of all knowledge though as Laura creates the most beautiful homemade calendars for her little girl and this year Lauren is attempting one for her husband which I think is the loveliest touch.

Last year the elves left the girls a mini christmas tree in their room on the 1st December and each day they got a little decoration to hang on it but I obviously can’t do that again so my plan is that on the 1st December the girls will wake up to find the calendar and a little note from the elves. I know, I am so good giving the elves the credit for my creation but the girls love things like this!

For those of you hoping to make your own calendars for your kiddies read on for our top tips….

Choose Your Holder {Homemade}

I have decided to go with the homemade approach, purely because I love making things and possibly love wrapping presents even more. I have taken inspiration from some of the lovely designs in our gallery and am planning little parcels, bags, and envelopes in brown paper accessorised with pretty ribbons to hang them from, pegs and cute tags. I will probably just end up with the envelopes but I will aim high to start with! We already have a cute hanging wooden tree a bit like this one so will be tying the ribbons to this to hang the presents from.

There are lots of cute ideas you could make yourself either from scratch or by popping to Hobbycraft for a few supplies.

I love the coat hanger idea where all the little presents are bunched together hanging at various lengths. It looks so effective or this idea also works from a branch.

How about getting crafty with the loo roll? You might need to get stealing from a few friends and relatives as you will need 24. First place a little gift inside each one, then stick a circle of brown paper over one end before sticking the other end on to a sheet of card. This tutorial gives you more detail and she’s also made it in to a super cute house.

In a similar vein matchboxes look cute wrapped and stacked with each box containing a little treat.

If you have one of the nice wire notice boards knocking around your house how about using bulldog clips to attach little gift bags?

Choose Your Holder {Shop Bought}

If you want to choose your own fillers but can’t be bothered with the hassle of constructing a holder or wrapping millions of presents there are some beautiful calendars out there to fill. The beauty of these is that you can use them year after year.

I always lust after the Ferm Living one but this year H&M have released the cutest one at a brilliant price point. This gingham one from The White Company is also so festive.

You can also buy lots of lovely boxes like the Meri Meri star garland or the gingerbread house hanging garland from NOTHS.

Laura shared this cute hanger from House Doctor with the team and I love the little loops that let you suspend little presents from each date.

This wooden train with it’s little drawers on the carriages is absolutely beautiful and can be personalised for a bit of extra magic.

I am kicking myself that I didn’t buy this amazing Fabelab set earlier this year when I found it half price in the sale. Each little pocket turns inside out to make a sweet pepper toy for your children to play with.

This wooden house from Hobbycraft is a bargain at £5. I rather like the plain wooden effect but you could decorate it to your hearts content with different papers in each section or by writing, stamping or sticking numbers in each bit.

We have a christmas stocking garland that my dad once sent the girls from Germany. They were so excited to receive it in the post filled with chocolates, Schleich animals and other treats. There were also lots of sprigs of Christmas tree poking out (they live in the forest so they have an abundance of trees!!). This one from John Lewis is similar and is a lovely decoration to hang in the house.

Choose Your Fillers

Now for the fun part, choosing your fillers. You could opt for sweet treats, toys, activities or a mixture of all three. I think I am opting for a mixture to give a bit of variety and also to keep the cost down. If they had a toy every day I’d probably spend as much as Christmas. Believe me, they will be just as happy with a chocolate coin! We’ve included some handy pins of the types of things you could include but go wild.

For the activities you could include the things they might need to complete it so a cookie cutter for the gingerbread men or a paper, envelope and stamp for writing letters to Santa.

I also love the idea of a book advent calendar where they unwrap a new wintery book to curl up and read together each night.

Laura’s top tip is to buy ahead to spread the cost so get organised for next years and hit the sales! She also recommends buying sets and breaking them down.

Homemade Advent Calendar Ideas and Inspiration

Is anyone else planning their own advent creation? What little treats will you be hiding inside?

Images via Pinterest.


Lottie loves teaching her girls to be cake baking and crafting supremos. It may be messy but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Follow Lottie on instagram @buttercreamanddreams

18 Comments. Leave new

Bloody love this post Lottie! Oodles of inspiration. That toilet roll advent calendar is genius as is the Fabelab hand puppets one. I’ve just bought Lyra a load of My Little Pony knickers (tacky and colourful but she loves em) which I reckon would make good fillers too.


Um, Alice has said tacky My Little Pony knickers and vests, oh and socks, waiting for her stocking! Love them! x


Aaah amazing thank you this is so helpful! We’ve been collecting schleich animals over the last year (charity shops/eBay/sales) so our little girl will have one(sometimes 2) a day but then realised I’d completely forgotten to actually organise a calendar to hold them all! She will then get some kind of zoo set up as a main present on Christmas Day. Currently looking at a play mat like the road ones you get for toy cars.


I am impressed with your organisational skills. Sadly, I’ve left it a bit too late so have to do all the shopping in one go! This sounds like the most wonderful present though and I’m loving the zoo theme on xmas day. Your little girl will love it. xxx


Cat this sounds amazing! What a super organised mama you are! X


Mainly the husband to be honest. My job was to source the calendar!! Oops!
Just to add this is the main present for both our little ones, just a way to spread out the excitement across December. The mat will be from one set of grandparents. we have small stockings for each of them and one small present each from us as something to open on the day.


I bought the H&M one a few days ago and eagerly awaiting its arrival. I love that I get to start a traditional with my own little family. My eldest is 2 and a bit so I’m thinking packets of raisins, a few little cars, some gold coins, stickers, and some colouring stuff to fill it. I’m going for pound shop hunt! I don’t want to spend lots as we’ve not much disposable. The baby is only 6 months so won’t bother for him. Love the envelopes stuck on a board idea – so easy!


Last year I bought a wooden house advent calendar from Matalan. It’s super cute but not easy to find 24 things that are a suitable price point and actually fit into the tiny drawers (aside from sweets of course)! I love the idea of putting activities in but think that’ll have to wait until my two are a little older.

I think this year I’ll make little slips of paper with Christmas themed jokes on, or saying how many sleeps it is until Christmas Day, and pop them in alongside the little gift.

Oh, and keep the Christmas posts coming please, I for one am loving it (in fact I’m secretly jealous I’m not the one writing them)! x


This is brilliant. So glad to see activities and gifts side by side for those of us who might be watching the pennies a little closely this year! Xx


I love adding some activities in as I think that is much more fun. Especially if it was something you were going to do anyway (like decorate the tree!) 🙂 xx


Brilliant ideas here Lottie! My son just 18 months so a bit early this Christmas I think for him to understand advent calendars are opened one day at a time but I will definitely be doing something along these lines next year. I love the range of ideas – from really simple like the envelopes or slightly more involved like the knitted stockings. And activities as well as gifts and chocolates for fillers is a great idea too.


So pleased you like them and I have to say it’s confused me as to exactly what style calendar I’m going to make! I’d use Laura’s tip and start stocking up for next year. You can keep a little bag of goodies and then next year you’ll have lots of things to pop in and minimum outlay in one go xxx


I’ve just bought the Ferm Living one – it’s pricey but it’s gorgeous and I plan to roll it out every year! My only gripe with it was the amount of packaging it came in – massive box, fragile tape, bubble wrapped, air pillows – it’s made from fabric – gah! Anyway rant over… I plan to fill it with mini animals, stickers, hair bands and crayons.
What do people think on the filling it all in one go versus putting in the next gift the night before – worried my daughter will raid it if I fill it all on day 1!


Oh no, I hate excessive packaging. It’s why I dislike ordering from Amazon. Oooh, I would normally fill in one go but my two seem to get the concept of one a day. My friends little boy opened all his calendar in one go though and it was game over! Maybe try popping 3 or 4 in to start with and see if she can resist. If she can’t then I think the overnight option will work well. xx


BIt late to this, but I grew up with a pixie calendar (Norwegian thing, shared by my cousins who lived there for a little while). It was awesome, and my daughter will get to experience it next year. Definitely agree on filling one every night though. And have an extra if a friend stays over, my mum was amazing at doing that!! Love the activities ideas, thanks Lottie


I am loving the sound of a Pixie calendar! xx


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