Themed Advent Calendars: 20 Quirky & Unusual Ideas

The beauty of a Homemade Advent Calendar is that you can include absolutely anything inside.  So if your loved one 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.

Here are twenty of our favourite unique ideas for homemade Themed Advent Calendars:

RedTedArt DIY Photo Calendar

1. Photo Advent Calendar

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!


Finlee and Me Book Calendar

2. Book Advent Calendar

Bring the pleasure of reading to your loved one this festive season. Finley + 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.


Modern Parents Messy Kids Jokes Calendar

3. Jokes Advent Calendar

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!


Instructable Puzzle Advent Calendar

4. 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.


Your Modern Family Wine Calendar

5. Wine Time 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.


Santa Hats Advent Calendar

6. ‘Let’s … Get Festive’ Activities Calendar

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.


Making Christmas Cookies

7. Recipes Advent Calendar

Is your loved one 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!


My Scandinavian Home Treasure Hunt Calendar

8. 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!


Meaningful Message Envelopes

9. Meaningful Messages Advent Calendar

As we all know, a handwritten message goes a long way. Why not gather together twenty-four messages to share with your loved one? 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.

This calendar feels particularly fitting for 2020, and would make a really fabulous gift for a grandparent or someone who’s shielding.


The Dating Divas Love Calendar

10. Love (aka Naughty but Nice!) 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!



Christmas Tree Tealights Advent Calendar

11. Candles Advent Calendar

A really easy calendar idea but one that can add a lovely sense of calm to a loved one’s 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.


A Little Pinch of Perfect's Colouring Advent Calendar

12. Colouring Advent Calendar

If you have a little 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.


Reverse Advent Calendar of Kindness

13. Kindness Calendar

This calendar encourages its recipient to share the Christmas spirit within their community. A great way to give a thoughtful December focus to a loved one who is already a keen volunteer. Or challenge a friend to complete the calendar with you, and swap heart-warming stories of your experiences.

We’ve put together a few 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 download your own copy here.


Pottery Barn Ornaments Calendar

14. Ornament 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!


New Mommy Bliss Nativity Calendar

15. Nativity Scene 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.


Grass Potato Riddle Calendar

16. 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.)


Hannah Weir Nail Polish Calendar

17. 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.


Advent Calendar Crafts Prepared

18. Crafty Advent Calendar

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!


Pile of Christmas Boxes

19. The Big Reveal Calendar – Gift Item

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 loved one has to give the package the occasional squeeze!


Scrabble Christmas

20. The Big Reveal Calendar – Event

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?

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 loved one(s) can solve the anagram to get the details of the trip.

So there you have it: twenty of our favourite ideas for themed advent calendars. And of course many of these can be adapted to fit the particular interests of your loved one.

Do be sure to complete our 10-Step Calendar Vision Board which will take you through all the key decisions needed to make a fabulous Homemade Advent Calendar.

And, if you’re still eager for a few more advent calendar filler ideas, check out our 250+ ways to fill a calendar to really get those creative juices (over!)flowing.

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