Homemade Advent Calendar Gift Ideas
If your love language is gift giving, advent calendars are perfect for you.
Are you someone who
- truly loves giving little gifts,
- enjoys the anticipation of watching someone open gifts,
- thoroughly enjoys shopping for special items for loved ones,
- often finding yourself with a pile of gifts because you couldn’t decide on just one,
If these resonate with you, then Advent calendars are the perfect thing for you to add to your holiday to-do list.
When should I start making my advent calendar
Preparing for the season of Advent could begin quite early, like September or October if you are wanting to order a specialty calendar.
If you choose to make your own calendar, you may want to begin in early to mid November in order to have enough time to craft, wrap, shop, and plan out what to give on which day. It’s entirely up to you as to how complex you want your calendar to be, and whether you need to wait for items to arrive.
For example, one year I created a themed Advent Calendar for my husband with the idea of fun events being the primary gift theme. It took some time to gather the big and small presents I included and to write the little notes that went with each one and then wrap them up all fancy, but it was a huge hit!
To spark your own ideas for Advent Calendars see below for a list of ideas.
Questions to ask yourself when planning your advent calendar
- Will I be making any of the presents?
- Do I need to go and shop for gifts or can I order them online in time for the beginning of Advent?
- Will I be wrapping them individually? or using small bags with numbers on the outside to represent the days?
- How will I display or present the days of Advent? Hanging from a tree (do I need to purchase a small display tree), hanging from the wall or door, or small boxes or drawers of treats
- Will I need to purchase tickets in advance or clear the calendar for a particular day?
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Making Themes for Your Advent Calendars
Coming up with creative and custom themes for your Advent calendar is half the fun – especially if you love to plan, craft, and create.
By designing the gifts around a theme, it allows you to narrow your search and find only those things related to that idea.
I like to mix up my gifts with a range of very small or basic items like candy or an orange all the way to larger, more expensive, or customized gifts.
This means that on Christmas Day the person will only have 1 gift from me instead of several. Effectively it spreads out your gift giving and maximizes the anticipation and excitement of the season.
Theme Ideas for your Advent Calendars
Gift cards, gear, clothing, tickets, memorabilia, socks, trading cards, keychains, classes or training (like a day with a golf pro), tools or accessories, IOUs to take them to an event or host a Sunday football dinner, lots of fun options for this theme.
Cookbooks or special recipes, unique ingredients like expensive truffle oils, accessories and cooking tools, clothing like food theme socks, gift cards, or treat them to dinner. You may even do a surf & turf kind of theme, or Italian wine and dine, or spices of the world kind of gifts. Lots of fun ideas that don’t have to break the bank.
All about self care, beauty, style and decadent little treats for those who like to pamper themselves. If you have a teenager, perhaps a day at the spa with mom is a fun gift and way to spend time together.
Disney themes, Harry Potter themes, Anime themes, Superhero themes. These could all be broken into gifts like clothing, accessories, books, subscriptions or game credits, toys etc.
The love of words, reading, and literature can spark a number of gift ideas. You could give a book from a certain genre, author, best seller, alphabet or gift tailored to book lovers.
A book a day to represent the letters of the alphabet. However, one day will have to have 2 letters so the calendar keeps in line with December 25, unless Boxing Day becomes a bonus day.
Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm All is Bright
A different twist on Advent Calendars
I love challenges and twists on the ordinary.
These types of Advent calendars are great ways to reign in consumerism and focus your time on giving back to friends, family, the community, and yourself. In many ways the reward at the end is better since you’ll feel more connected with those around you, more accomplished, and each day will have brought you a greater sense of wellbeing.
Bust a Move Calendar
Each day you do a different physical activity. That could be anything from walking, lifting weights, yoga, or trying something completely new. You could even challenge yourself to reach a certain number of exercise reps by the end of the calendar.
The Whole FamJam Calendar
This calendar involves a new activity the family can do each day. It can be any type of activity appropriate for your family and may include both free and paid activities. For example, take a family selfie, go mini golfing, bake cookies. It has the added benefit of connecting with family on a deeper level that doesn’t involve sitting on screens.
Hugs & Kisses
This sweet calendar is a great way to recognize your loved ones or spouse or girlfriend / boyfriend each day of Advent. It can be mixed up with little gifts, trinkets, and activities to keep it fun and entertaining and maybe a bit risque.
Doing something kind each day. Kindness isn’t difficult to do but sometimes when we are so caught up in our own lives it’s hard to see areas of need. Need inspiration for a list of pay-it forward good deeds you could add to your Advent Calendar check it out this post with longer lists of resources and ideas.
Find one item each day of Advent that you no longer need or want and at the end you’ll have 24 or 25 items to donate, sell, or give to friends.
A little history of Advent Calendars
The season and celebration of Advent is rooted in the Christian calendar and is the second most popular feast day besides Easter. It comes from the Latin word for “arrival” – adventus – which has three meanings of ‘coming’ that Christians give attention to during Advent.
The first meaning is the anticipation of the birth of Jesus coming into the world on Christmas Day; the second can be focused on allowing Jesus to “come into our lives”; whereas the third is anticipating and preparing for the coming return of Jesus.
Advent calendars originated in Germany in the early nineteenth century. At a time when German Protestants marked the days of Advent by burning a candle or marking the walls or doors with a line of chalk. In the early 1900s the Advent calendar took the form of what we know it as today. It which is made of paper and meant to display a new image or greeting when you open the little doors and windows. They made their way to North America following World War II and the soldiers who either brought them home or sent them home to their families.
The daily activities you do leading up to this celebration are meant to remind you of the meaning of Christmas, and connect with it on a deeper level. Regardless of your views on religion and involvement in religious traditions – the anticipation of Christmas is a wonderful tradition that can create plenty of opportunities for reflection, trying new things, reconnecting with your faith or family, and living the season intentionally. A daily reminder of appreciation is never a bad thing.
When does Advent start?
The actual start day shifts each year as it’s based on the previous four Sundays before Christmas. The length of time between those four Sundays and the day of the week that Christmas falls means Advent will sometimes begin in late November rather than the beginning of December.
Regardless of the starting day, Advent is twenty-four days long and the final day is always on December 24, Christmas Eve.
In 2021, Advent will begin on Sunday, November 28th.
In 2022, Advent will begin on Sunday, November 27th.
So why a calendar?
There are a couple of ways people count down the days to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
The time of Advent has been observed, and still is to varying degrees, through fasting, hanging an Advent wreath, reading Scripture, not eating meat or dairy, saying prayers and lighting candles, putting up the Christmas tree or other “hanging of the greens”, and counting down with little treats and reminders.
During Advent, each day you open a new door or window of the calendar it is meant to relay the excitement of the birth of Jesus, with verses, scenes, gospels, or bible stories and songs that celebrate this anticipation. Advent is meant to teach patience and to appreciate the joy of the season.
Since the length of the Advent shifts each year, it was made easier to pick a fixed number of days for the calendar so it can be reproduced or reused each year, no matter the start day of Advent. That’s why you’ll find some calendars to be 24 days and some to be 25 days in length.
As they have gained in popularity and become more commercialized, there has become no shortage of variety in the world of Advent Calendars.
There are lots of ways to ring in the holidays and up the excitement. Advent calendars are a must have in our family, with each of us getting our own to open. There is literally so much variety out there, every year is a unique and different type of advent calendar. Some years the advent calendar is more memorable than Santa’s visit.