How to make your own Advent calendar this Christmas

Have you ever thought of making your own Advent calendar? In this article, our writer Ian Cook shows you how to make your own personalised countdown to Christmas. Read on for more!

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will be looking forward to seasonal traditions like giving presents and eating festive food. But in the lead up to Christmas itself there is another tradition, one that runs from the beginning of December until Christmas Day.

I’m talking, of course, about Advent calendars. These calendars mark the days of Advent, the Christian season that precedes Christmas. Advent calendars act literally as a “countdown to Christmas”. 

Traditionally, Advent calendars are bought in shops and feature the Nativity scene, stars, and wise men. But, with the Covid pandemic, this past year has often felt like anything but traditional, so I decided to break with tradition and make my own calendar. I also decided it would be fun to have some scenes that incorporate my personal experience of Christmas as well as traditional seasonal themes. Seeing as it’s been so hard to see loved ones this year, a lovely way of seeing them each day is to include them in your calendar! 

Making your own advent calendar preparation

You will need:

Old Christmas cards

Family photos

Magazines/ newspapers

Christmas decorations



String or tape




How to make the calendar

The first thing I did was find a Christmas bag I had left over from last year. Mine was 33cm wide and 45cm long. I then cut off the front side of the bag and cut out the 25 windows on this side, keeping the bag’s string handle so I could hang the finished calendar on the wall. If you don’t have a bag you can use, you can decorate some card, cardboard or paper and use that as your base! Attach some string to the top so you can hang it once you’re done.

I made sure to only cut three of the sides of the “windows”, so that they could be opened simply by pulling each window open, and then folding them back on the fourth side. Oh, and I made the 25th window bigger than the other 24 with a picture of me looking suitably festive – well that was the idea!

The next thing I did was to stick my pictures on the inside of the bag to line up with the 25 holes so that I could see the images when I opened up the windows. If you are looking for seasonal images, then see if you have any old Christmas cards lying around that you can cut things like stars, or angels out from. Finding your own personal pics – yourself, your family, your pets – should be no problem. To finish off, all that needed to be done was to mark the windows with numbers from 1 to 25. I used marker pens and numbers cut out of magazines and papers. 

And that was everything I needed for my advent calendar, my own personal countdown to Christmas. It was an hour of great fun and cost me under £3. So, why not get creative and make your own advent calendar? If you decide to do the same next year, then make sure you don’t throw away this year’s Christmas cards or festive photos. They will come in useful for your 2021 Advent calendar!

Get creative for your 2020 advent calendar

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