Learn how to make a DIY advent calendar using old cardboard boxes – and find some fun inspiration for adult advent calendar filling ideas! Affiliate links in post.
The roaring 20s are off with a bang – and 2022 was no different. A surprise breakup; moving to Canada for 6 months; returning and continuing my battle with the Australian government to exist.
please sir can I just continue to live in my home of 4 years where I work and pay taxes without basically hemorrhaging money? no? oh ok i guess
Immigration woes aside, it’s been a pretty great year. I got to catch up with my Canadian besties after 3 years and bask in all the goodness they bring to my life.
Anyways, being a city kid through and through, mountain living wasn’t for me. But before I left in September, I made Raven a little advent calendar so even if I wasn’t physically there for Christmas . . . uh, at least physical gifts were?
tbh i just really really like giving gifts
And so we – finally – reach the point of today’s post: a super cute, easy, and cheap DIY advent calendar you can recreate at home for your bestie. I’m going to share both how I made the Christmas village gift packaging and some really cute adult advent calendar filling ideas.
Table Of Contents
- 1 The Inspo: (Or Items To Buy If You Can’t Be Arsed)
- 2 Part 1 – Making A DIY Advent Calendar Out Of Cardboard
- 3 24 Adult Advent Calendar Gift Ideas For Your Bestie (That Are Budget Friendly!)
- 3.1 DAY 1: Cute hair clips in hand-painted Dollar Store mini buckets!
- 3.2 DAY 3: A DIY Build-Your-Own Ornament Kit
- 3.3 DAY 5: A Dainty Hair Clip Set
- 3.4 DAY 7: Sunflower Pasta (Okay, This One’s Admittedly Niche…)
- 3.5 DAY 8: Invite Some Festive Fun With Infused Alcohol Kits
- 3.6 DAY 9: I DIY-ed Some Painted Dollar Tree Candles
- 3.7 DAY 11: A (Hopefully) ADHD Friendly Pill Holder
- 3.8 DAY 12: I DIY-ed A Bunch Of Mini Ring Dishes In Thrift-Flipped Glassware
- 3.9 DAY 13: I DIY-ed The Cutest Pressed Flower Board Game
- 3.10 DAY 15: I Thrift Flipped A Jar With Pocky Sticks
- 3.11 DAY 17: I DIY-ed Some Adorable Pressed Flower Ornaments
- 3.12 DAY 18: Treat Your BFF To Some Self-Care With Bath Salts
- 3.13 My ADHD has yet again made an appearance . . .
- 3.14 Share this:
- 3.15 Like this:
- 3.16 Related
The Inspo: (Or Items To Buy If You Can’t Be Arsed)
Now, I am obsessed with mini everything – my most popular post on this site is 29 DIY miniature dollhouse kits after all! So it should come as no surprise that I also deeply love adorbale mini Christmas villages. Seeing some of these Etsy offerings made me:
a. Want to be rich. And
b. Want to DIY a knock-off version.
Shall we take a look at my attempt?
Part 1 – Making A DIY Advent Calendar Out Of Cardboard
Regular readers of this blog will know just how much I love me an upcycle. These houses were made entirely of cardboard we had in our garage – but they turned out pretty cute!
Unfortunately, it was a little bit of a rush job so I’ll probably recreate these closer to Christmas with more attention to detail. (And maybe something printable for you guys to follow along at home with?)
You Will Need:
- Cardboard boxes
- Acrylic paint in your chosen colours
- Paint markers
- Hot glue
- Bottle brush trees
- Tissue paper
- Fake snow
How To Make:
1. Per the below image, cut your cardboard into panels. These will be what you construct your house out of, so there needs to be: 2 x equally sized front and back panels, 2 x equally sized side panels and one base.
2. Hot glue your house together.
3. Cover in paint and, once dry, add your decorations! I cut out little card windows with tissue paper backing and used paint markers for details. But this is the fun part – so get as creative as you like!
I technically cheated a little with this . . . because, on my last night in Canada, I recruited Raven to help me decorate! To be honest, hers turned out the cutest – check it out below:
Now that we’ve tackled the making, would anyone like a sneak preview at all the gifts? Well, this isn’t a democracy so you’re getting told regardless.
24 Adult Advent Calendar Gift Ideas For Your Bestie (That Are Budget Friendly!)
The tricky thing with a DIY advent calendar is that, unless you go easy and buy a multipack of Lindt*, you have to figure out what to fill it with! If you need some inspiration, check out what I filled Raven’s advent calendar with below.
*TBH multipack of chocolate is not a bad idea! You can pick up this set of 24 Ferrero Rocher for $10.43 on Amazon and that’s your advent calendar set.
These gift ideas are all budget-friendly too, with some tips for cost cutting . . . and, naturally, some cheap DIY options!
DAY 1: Cute hair clips in hand-painted Dollar Store mini buckets!
To keep costs down, you can buy a cheap multi-pack of cute hair clips and split them up across multiple days.
DAY 2: A Fillable Ornament Stuffed With Sweeties!
This is yet another budget-friendly stocking stuffer! You can pick up cheap fillable ornaments from Amazon and pick up some candy from your local corner store. Who doesn’t love a little sweet treat after all?
DAY 3: A DIY Build-Your-Own Ornament Kit
Day 3 was a super fun idea that I wish I photographed better! Essentially, I headed to the dollar store and grabbed a fillable ornament, fake snow, cute mini Xmas decor pieces and stuffed them together. The idea being Raven can open it and have a little Christmas craft night!
DAY 5: A Dainty Hair Clip Set
Gift #5 conveniently came in a box, but the inside is a set of really cute mother of pearl lunar hair clips. Just another little practical but fun gift idea!
DAY 7: Sunflower Pasta (Okay, This One’s Admittedly Niche…)
For context, my bestie loves sunflowers – so when I saw these in TK Maxx I couldn’t resist! However, there are tons of affordable and practical little food gifts you could use in place of this.
DAY 8: Invite Some Festive Fun With Infused Alcohol Kits
Now, this is a gift idea I’m super excited about – so much so that I actually bought two and gave Raven one early because I couldn’t help myself. Essentially, this kit has everything to infuse your alcohol with delicious flavors . . . and it looks pretty cute too!
Plus, this is a wonderfully affordable gift for alcohol lovers as buying actual liquor can get expensive real quick.
DAY 9: I DIY-ed Some Painted Dollar Tree Candles
It’s surprisingly easy to create cute handpainted taper candles with acrylic paint – and you can pick up a set of 2, with a box, from Dollar Tree! Thrift a cute candle holder too for a cheap but cute stocking filler.
DAY 11: A (Hopefully) ADHD Friendly Pill Holder
Something my bestie and I bond over is the mutual ADHD-riddled brains . . . and a lot of the annoying things that come with them. (Like forgetting to eat, forgetting to take vitamins, just in general forgetting most things.) I thrifted this – quite frankly – adorable cloche and used paint markers to add a cute design. Then I filled it with a bunch of women’s once-a-day multivitamins. Practical and aesthetically pleasing. (And yes, I did fix the half-gone flower petal.)
DAY 12: I DIY-ed A Bunch Of Mini Ring Dishes In Thrift-Flipped Glassware
Day 12 is kind of a cheat day but I love it! I made a bunch of mini ring dishes with air-dry clay while I was in Canada and packaged them in some thrifted glassware. To add a little boho flair, I used a paint marker to add little flowers to the glass – and I think the final product is super cute!
DAY 13: I DIY-ed The Cutest Pressed Flower Board Game
Not going to lie, day 13 was more of an effort to use up my craft materials before I left Canada – but it turned out super cute! All you need to make this is a UV resin kit and a mini tic tac toe mold!
I’m a big fan of board games as gifts in general too.
DAY 15: I Thrift Flipped A Jar With Pocky Sticks
I cannot turn down cute glassware when I’m in a thrift store – so I had this adorable corked container lying around. Once it was cleaned, I broke up a few packets of Pocky (Raven loves it) and added some decorations with paint markers. I think it turned out super cute!
DAY 17: I DIY-ed Some Adorable Pressed Flower Ornaments
For day 17, I created the most precious little pressed flower ornaments using a UV resin kit from Amazon (that comes with the metal ornament shapes, a resin lamp and the resin for under $30) and some pressed flowers. I will definitely create a tutorial for you guys too because these are stunning.
DAY 18: Treat Your BFF To Some Self-Care With Bath Salts
During the brutal winter months, who doesn’t love soaking in the tub? I picked up this tub of scented bath tea for $10 at Winners – but maybe I missed a trick! You can pick up a set of 2 from Amazon and then you’ve got gifts covered for 2 days.
My ADHD has yet again made an appearance . . .
Because I forgot to photograph the rest of the gifts. Typical. Anyways, I hope this has given you lovely people enough inspiration to build and fill your own DIY advent calendar this holiday season! I think they’re such a fun and personal way to show someone you care – especially your bestie.
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments down below! Would you make these yourself?