DIY a Kids' Advent Calendar

A DIY advent calendar with pen and paper tags around it.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-25
What You'll Need
24 paper flags
24 holiday tags
26 decorative push pins OR tape
1 colored marker or gold Sharpie
Command Hooks (optional)
What You'll Need
24 paper flags
24 holiday tags
26 decorative push pins OR tape
1 colored marker or gold Sharpie
Command Hooks (optional)

Christmas is the most magical holiday of them all, and nothing compares to the joy in your children’s faces as they count down the days until the holiday. Advent calendars are everywhere, but they often come filled with candy that your kids are sure to get enough of in the days leading up to the holiday. Forget the sugar in your kids' advent calendars this year —’tis the season to try something new and healthy for the entire family. Help your heart with our DIY advent calendar focusing on counting down to Christmas with good old fashioned family fun and good deeds.

Time: 30 minutes || Cost: $5 - $25

Step 1 - Consider Your Décor

The most fun way to create a DIY advent calendar is to consider your own home décor. Let’s say your Christmas decorations focus on gold and white with an added dash of color. You’ll want to ensure your banner, your tags, and your push pins tie into that. They can all be found anywhere from your local craft store to your favorite department store.

Step 2 - Make a List of Ideas

A DIY advent calendar.

This is the best part of the entire project because you can be as creative as you want. Since this project encourages the absence of sugar and sweet treats for once, we are focusing on the addition of fun family activities and lessons. Think of activities you and your kids can do together throughout the month. One activity per day is ideal. Write them down on the back of each tag you use for this project.

You’ll need 24 tags to begin the countdown from December 1st. Every day should be something different, and ideas can be as simple or as outrageous as you see fit. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Watch a Christmas movie as a family
  2. Decorate Christmas cookies
  3. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  4. Donate old toys to kids in need
  5. Volunteer as a family
  6. Choose an angel from the angel tree at church/school/the store
  7. Build a snowman
  8. Make s’mores by the fire
  9. Sing Christmas carols
  10. Do a random act of kindness

As you can see, the options are endless. A good rule of thumb is to keep more complex ideas for the days you have time to do them. For example, if you want to look at Christmas lights as a family, choose a night you have time to do that instead of adding it to a random date. Think strategically.

On the front of each tag, write a number from 1 – 24. On the back, write down the activity you can do that day. It’s as simple as finding 24 things you want to do with your kids throughout the month.

Step 3 - Put Your Banner Together

Now that you’ve got 24 great ideas for the month of December, it’s time to put your advent calendar together. This is simple. Start with the number 24 tag and hang them in order from highest to lowest. Push pins are a great way to attach your tags to each banner, but tape works just as well if that’s your preference. Remember to put the number side of the tags on the outside so they’re visible—and so you don’t ruin the surprise for your kids.

Step 4 - Hang Your Calendar

Now it’s time to hang your advent calendar. If you don’t mind thumb tacks in the wall, hang it up that way. Otherwise, you can tape it up or use Command Hooks to hang them up without making any marks on your walls.

Find a place that’s easy for the kids to reach. If you have wall space by the Christmas tree, this makes a great place to hand your advent calendar. If you have a mantle, that’s another great place. If your space is narrow, consider cutting your banner in half and hanging one above the other along the mantle or wall.

Your kids might be a little disappointed they don’t get a sweet treat every day, but they’ll get over it. Between holiday parties, class parties, and Christmas events, they’ll have more than enough candy to get them through the holiday season without adding more. Once they know how much fun you get to have as a family each day, they’ll be begging for more. Spending time focusing on doing good in your community and spending time together as a family is what this DIY project is all about!