Looking for a more original take on a Homemade Advent Calendar? Here are 20 of our favourite themed advent calendars ideas for you to explore.

  • Family Friendly
  • Time & Effort
  • Supplies Needed
Santa Hats Advent Calendar Ideas

The beauty of a Homemade Advent Calendar is that you can include absolutely anything inside.  So if your friend is a huge fan of candles, or you have a little one who just loves to colour, you can embrace their passion completely (and often more economically) by creating Themed Advent Calendars.

We’ve gathered together 20 of our favourite homemade Themed Advent Calendars ideas for you to explore.  Scroll on to find out more…

Looking for more activities to enjoy?  Click here for other fun ideas.

Picture Perfect!

1. Photo Advent Calendar

DIY Photo Advent Calendar - polaroid style photos on strings

Red Ted Art’s Gorgeous Photo Advent Calendar is easy for even the least crafty of us to create, but will result in an incredibly thoughtful new piece of wall art for your loved one to enjoy well into the New Year.

Have fun selecting photos to warm your special someone’s heart!

reading snuggles!

2. Book Advent Calendar

DIY Book Advent Calendar

Bring the pleasure of reading to your friends and family this festive season. Finlee + Me’s enticing calendar presentation should encourage even the most reluctant reader to get cosy on a chair.

For older children and adults, consider separating a chapter book into sections to wrap up instead.

Knock Knock…

3. Jokes Advent Calendar

Kids Jokes Advent Calendar

Did you hear about the man who stole an advent calendar? He got 25 days.

You’re guaranteed to get each day off to a cheery start with Modern Parents Messy Kid’s jokes advent calendar. With so much going on over the festive run-up, sometimes simple shared pleasures are the best kind!

Spread The Word!

Like what you’ve seen? Be sure to share with your friends.

Let’s sprinkle Christmas cheer far and wide!

piece it together

4. Jigsaw Puzzle Advent Calendar

Instructable Jigsaw Puzzle Advent Calendar

How about taking pleasure in a puzzle coming together over the course of the Christmas Countdown. 

Instructables show you how to upcycle an old puzzle to make a lovely festive project. Of course, you can just buy a Christmas puzzle, enjoy making it yourself and then take it apart in 24 small sections to fill the calendar if you’d prefer.

Making Christmas Merry

5. Wine Advent Calendar

Wine Advent Calendar

A wonderful way to really make the Christmas Countdown merry 😉

There are so many ways to create a wine advent calendar. Will you use miniatures, half bottles or full-sized? Will you leave labels visible or cover them so your loved one can do a wine-tasting or guess-the-wine competition? And of course it doesn’t need to just be wine – beer, spirits and soft drinks work well too.

Your Modern Family have gathered some great ideas for how to present your chosen bottles.

Let’s Get Festive!

6. Activities Advent Calendar

Santa Hats Advent Calendar Ideas

Rather than filling the calendar with items, why not fill it with proposals of festive ideas and activities to enjoy together?

Check out our list of 30 fun suggestions. Each one comes paired with calendar filler ideas in case you’d like to add something extra in for a few days.

Yum Yum Yum

7. Recipe Advent Calendar

Making Christmas Cookies In Progress

Looking for advent calendar ideas for a keen cook? If so, Recipe Themed Advent Calendars could work a treat!

Make some recipe cards from recipes you find online for festive snacks and drinks – we can start you off with a few from the Jolly Festive kitchen!

Add a few cute Christmas kitchen utensils (such as cookie cutters and a festive spatula) and a handful of seasonal ingredients. If you’re really lucky, you might be able to taste test the results!

Hide & Seek Advent Fun

8. Treasure Hunt Advent Calendar

Treasure Hunt Advent Calendar

Rather than including treats inside a calendar, what about writing a daily clue to the location of each day’s item? The clues can be as fun or cryptic as you like. We love this chalkboard Christmas Tree presentation of the clues by My Scandinavian Home.

Jolly Festive Top Tip: save the details of each day’s items and location in your phone calendar with an alarm, to make sure you don’t disappoint an eager treasure-seeker!

share the love

9. Meaningful Messages Advent Calendar

Meaningful Messages Advent Calendar

As we all know, a handwritten message goes a long way.  Why not gather together twenty-four messages to share?  They could be wishes and inspiring quotes from yourself, or you could collect together messages from a whole host of friends and family to share.

Pop them in festively-decorated envelopes, or roll them and tie with ribbon.

We think this would be a wonderful joint advent calendar idea for a grandparent.

naughty but nice

10. Romantic Love Advent Calendar

The Dating Divas Love Advent Calendar

Oh la la!

If you and your partner are eager to ensure you have some time for each other during the Christmas Countdown, then love themed advent calendars could offer a fun shared focus.

The Dating Divas free printable calendar is brimming with ideas to tempt you both. Add a few romantic messages, some special homemade coupons and a few private treats, and you’re sure to enjoy a very passionate December!

light the way

11. Candles Advent Calendar

Christmas Tree Tealights Advent Calendar

One of the easiest themed advent calendar ideas but one that can add a lovely sense of calm to a Christmas Countdown.

Simply fill a calendar of your choice with small candles (festively themed or fragranced would be ideal) and present to your special someone, together with a homemade or purchased candle holder.

decorate the house over the countdown

12. Colouring Advent Calendar

A Little Pinch of Perfect's Colouring Advent Calendar

If you have an aspiring artist in the house, then A Little Pinch Of Perfect‘s free printable Countdown To Christmas will be just the ticket, with a new ornament to colour and hang on the cut-out tree each day.

Of course, your calendar can include any festive outlines ready to colour. Buy a Christmas colouring book and separate it between the days or print out Christmas pictures found online and, once coloured, use them to decorate the house.

spread christmas cheer

13. Kindness Advent Calendar

25 Days of Activities Kindness Advent Calendar

This calendar encourages its recipient to share the Christmas spirit within their community. Why not challenge a friend to complete the calendar with you, and swap heart-warming stories of your experiences?

We’ve put together some of our favourite ideas for a Kindness Calendar. Use it just as it is, or switch items out for others that are particularly important to you. You can find out more and download your own copy here.

More Like This?

Looking for other festive activities to enjoy?  Whether it’s at home or out and about, we’ve got a whole host of ideas to keep you in the Christmas spirit!

fill your tree!

14. Ornament Advent Calendar

Pottery Barn Ornaments Advent Calendar

Spread out the pleasure of Dressing the Christmas Tree with an ornaments calendar. Each day there’s a new decoration to add.

Buy some new ornaments for this year, select your favourites from your existing collection or try your hand at making some for that extra special personal touch.

We love Pottery Barn‘s beautiful advent calendar presentation; it’s a decoration in itself!

share the christmas story

15. Nativity Scene Advent Calendar

New Mommy Bliss Nativity Advent Calendar

New Mommy Bliss‘s nativity scene advent calendar offers a lovely way to talk with your little one about the story of Jesus’s birth.

You can make the nativity scene or buy a set in the shops. If you don’t have enough items for all the days, pad it out with extra animals in the stable.

puzzle your way through the month

16. Riddles Advent Calendar

Grass Potato Riddles Advent Calendar

Have fun over the Christmas Countdown with Grass Potato‘s Riddles-Themed Advent Calendars. Or use festive quiz questions or anagrams instead.

(We particularly love their touch of having all the answers ready under the tree so it’s a game of matching pairs as well.)

colour someone happy

17. Nail Polish Advent Calendar

Hannah Weir Nail Polish Advent Calendar

Hannah Weir‘s gorgeous nail polish advent calendar will make a wonderful treat for any budding nail technician!

Fill each pocket with a different coloured polish (don’t forget some sparkly ones as well!). You can add some other manicure or beauty products into the calendar as well.

busy hands

18. Crafty Advent Calendar

Crafty Advent Calendar Ideas - selection of festive craft materials

Make your crafter’s day (24 times!) with an advent calendar full of fun festive craft activities and accessories.

A few minutes on Pinterest will provide you with some great craft activity ideas to print off. And from cake toppers to small cross stitch sets, and knitting needles to festive stickers, there’s no end to the number of treats you can find to include!

building suspense…

19. The Big Reveal Advent Calendar – Gift

Stack of 3 Christmas Gift Boxes

Keep the suspense going all month!

Rather than arranging twenty-four pockets, boxes or drawers, why not create one enormous pass-the-parcel-style package?

Each day a new layer can be removed (maybe with a small treat or joke included inside). And then, on the last day (which could of course be Christmas Day itself), the present is revealed.

Just be sure not to do this with anything too fragile in case your  recipient can’t help but give the package the occasional squeeze!

christmas surprises

20. The Big Reveal Advent Calendar – Event

Christmas Scrabble Letters With Christmas Lights In Background

If you have a special festive trip planned, why not set a challenge via an advent calendar to build the excitement and anticipation as you head through the month?

Event Reveal Advent Calendar Ideas

There are so many different ways you could use this method to announce a Christmas event.

Here are three of our favourites:

  1. Provide a daily cryptic clue about the trip, with the clues becoming easier and more relevant as the month progresses.
  2. Find a crossword online (with solution) to pin on the wall. Use the solution to highlight the squares that will ultimately contain the letters needed to announce your trip. Separate and cut up the clues, providing one or two each day. Sit back and watch as the solved crossword reveals your secret plan!
  3. Use a more traditional fill-your-own advent calendar and insert a scrabble piece into each day (perhaps with a chocolate coin too!). When all the pieces have been collected, your lucky recipient(s) can solve the anagram to get the details of the trip.
MORE LIKE THIS: Advent | Homemade Ideas

Share Your Adventure!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @jollyfestive.

And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We love to see which Christmas activities you’ve been enjoying!

More Activities

Over 100 UK Christmas Train Rides In 2023

Over 100 UK Christmas Train Rides In 2023

With over 100 Santa Special Steam Trains included from across the UK, use our complete guide & interactive map to find the best Father Christmas Train Rides near you for 2023.