DIY Advent Calendars: 8 easy hacks for a fun countdown

It’s never too early to get ready for Christmas. A surefire way to get into the holiday spirit is to set up an advent calendar.

What’s advent?

For most parts of my life, I had no idea there was such a thing as an advent, what more an advent calendar. Later on, I learnt that the advent (the word means “arrival” in Latin) is a countdown to Christmas.

While many modern advent calendars focus on little treats and surprises hidden behind each calendar day, the original purpose of the advent season was to help Christians remain focused on the birth and return of Jesus Christ. In each advent package, there could be scriptures, Bible stories and prayers to help children understand what Christmas is all about, besides the sweet treats.

Traditionally, it can range from 22 to 28 days leading to Christmas. All in all, it’s a fun way to get children (and adults) excited for the holiday season.

IKEA’s 2022 Advent Calendar is here now

IKEA Advent Calendar 2022

Every year IKEA sells an Advent Calendar. For 2022, IKEA is offering a calendar with 24 flatpack boxes. Assemble the paper figures, fill them with treats and pop them into the cut outs within the box. Once assembled it’s a whimsy landscape of little homes, trees and figurines, set against a wintery backdrop.

The IKEA Advent Calendar sells for $19.99 (in the US). It always sells out quickly, way before December arrives, so make a beeline to your nearest IKEA store and put it in the cart. (IKEA Family Members get 5% off too.)

If not, roll up your sleeves and check out our ideas and hacks for a unique DIY Advent Calendar.

3 steps to a DIY Advent Calendar

Making an Advent Calendar is a fun project. Rope your kids in to help. The process is just 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Get ready your packaging

Gather any kind of small gift bags, boxes or tin cans that can hold your Advent gifts and treats. While they are usually of the same kind, you’re not confined to having same sized bags or boxes. In fact, a variety of bags and boxes can create a surprising vignette and generate more excitement as your kids open something different every day. The key is to keep some similar themes like color (black, as in the picture below) or material (cardboard boxes) to avoid it looking too chaotic.

black and white cardboard boxes for unconventional DIY advent calendar

Step 2: Get goodies and accessories ready

Shop for chocolates, Christmas cookies and small toys to fill the packages. Beautify your packages with ribbons and strings. Use stickers and tags to number the packages.

Step 3: Put them on display

Now that the Advent bags or boxes are ready, arrange them on a DIY tree or hanger or stand. Get creative and decorate them anyway you like. Some popular choices for Advent Calendars using IKEA products are:

  1. IKEA VINTERFINT wall decoration
  2. KORSMON memo board
  3. MOPPE mini chest
  4. KOMPLEMENT multi-use hanger
  5. BEKVÄM spice racks
  6. NEREBY hanging organizer
  7. EKET cabinets
  8. A wreath

Now that we know how to make our calendars, let’s get some inspiration from these 8 IKEA Advent Calendars.

1. IKEA advent gift bags and wall decoration

A fun use of the IKEA VINTERFINT wall decoration. Make your own gift bags like how DIY Mommy did or get the IKEA VINTERFINT gift bags. Stick the supplied numbers on the bag, fill them up with chocolates and candy. Finally, place them on the wall decoration. So easy.

2. DIY castle Advent Calendar

DIY advent calendar idea using a multi-hanger

Here’s an idea for a reusable calendar from IKEA made from the KOMPLEMENT multi hanger. Rolls of corrugated cardboard tubes slot into the multi-hanger and keep the surprises in tact until they are opened. The multi-hanger has only 18 rings so the remaining surprises are hid in paper cone trees. When the holiday season is over, use the multi-hanger in your wardrobe.

3. Wreath Advent Calendar

wreath for advent

Adults can get into the Advent Calendar fun too. Make one for your partner or friends that’s not about sweets and chocolates. All you need is an elegant wreath and numbered paper stars. On the other side, scribble down compliments, promises to a treat (Spa day!) or a date (Let’s go dancing tonight).

4. Bowl them over day by day

EKET cabinet with bowls for Christmas countdown

Need an unconventional calendar for your resident chef? How about wrapping beautiful bowls, plates and cutlery and let your loved one unwrap his or her way to a complete table setting. Replicate this idea with other themes to suit the recipient, such as art supplies, craft goodies, books, travel gifts and more.

5. Fabric Christmas tree countdown

This makes use of the printed IKEA Christmas Tree fabric. Use some clothes pegs and hang up the bags.

Add string lights behind the fabric for a whole lot more festive zing! See the video below for effect. Wait for it. It’s awesome.

6. Advent Calendar Box

There’s also the trusty MOPPE chest — container of all things sweet and nice.

7. Large scale advent calendar

IKEA advent calendar using KALLAX shelving unit

Go big and bold with a KALLAX. See tutorial here. There are 25 boxes in the 5×5 KALLAX with Christmas right in the middle. Sweet!

8. Quick and easy DIY napkin calendar

DIY advent calendar using napkins hung on tree branch

A simple and quick Advent calendar with IKEA napkins. It’s inexpensive DIY for a simple, subtle calendar. See the napkin Advent Calendar.

So, do you have a DIY advent calendar? Share your ideas with us.