The holidays are fast approaching, and as soon as Thanksgiving is over, families start looking forward to Christmas. If they haven’t already, they start their holiday shopping, they start decorating, and they make sure they have everything in place for the big day.

For some families, this means the introduction of the Advent calendar. An advent calendar is a special way to count down to Christmas, and it used to be just a simple chocolate calendar. A child (or an adult) would open one small door every day to reveal a small piece of chocolate. They have gotten much more advanced, and you can find advent calendars for pretty much anything now.

These advent calendars can get pretty expensive, and if mom is planning on doing one for every one of her children, it can add up. There are some alternatives; mom can make her own with simple items. This can save her a lot of money, and make them unique. We have 10 ideas for advent calendars that mom can make herself.

RELATED: 10 New Advent Calendars This Year Any Kid Would Love

10 Joke A Day

advent calendar
Credit: Shutterstock

This is a great idea for a mom who doesn’t want to go the candy route, and all she will need is 24 fun envelopes. According to Parents, mom can tape them all to a board, or just leave them together. Make sure they are numbered and in everyone, she can write a fun holiday joke or riddle on each. On the last day, she can leave a small treat.

9 Coloring Pages

Mom and child coloring

This one may be great for a mom who has young children, and it will just involve some coloring books and creativity. Mom can go to the dollar store and look for a Christmas coloring book, print online images, or draw them herself. She can add one item to an envelope every day, and her children get to draw that item. These can be just for fun, or they can be turned into ornaments.

8 Book A Day

Reading is a great activity and one that mom would likely want to encourage her child. This one can be one that is a bit pricier, but mom should take advantage of dollar stores or thrift stores to find books. Mom can purchase 24 books, wrap them all up and place a number on them. Her child then gets to open one book a day.

7 Nail Polish

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If mom has daughters who love all things glittery and shiny, she may want to do a nail polish advent calendar. Again, mom can look at the dollar store, or online for a pack that has multiple mini bottles. Get creative with how you put them together, and your daughter will have a new nail polish bottle every day. This is something you two can do together throughout the month to bond.

6 Give Back Advent Calendar

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Much like the joke calendar, this one is only going to call for some paper and writing. On a piece of paper, for 24 days, write a good deed that your child can do. According to House Beautiful, this is a great way to teach your child about the meaning of the season and to give back to others. The items can range from volunteering somewhere, to donating old toys and clothes.

5 Socks

Black Santa socks from Old Navy
via Twitter / @Little Miss Flint

Socks are something practical, and they can be incredibly fun. There are a lot of novelty stores that sell socks for a low price, and they could be the greatest advent calendar for a tween who is “too cool” for advent calendars. Just wrap up one pair every day, and your child will get a new pair of socks every day. It is fun and practical.

4 Craft

If mom has children who love to do crafts, she can do a craft advent calendar. This can range from simple craft supplies every day, to fully planned crafts that her child can do that day. They can range from extensive to simple. Think of things like building a snowman out of cotton balls, word searches, and coloring pages.

3 Tiny Toys

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While mom may not love the idea of getting her child a new toy every day leading up to Christmas, this can be a great idea that doesn’t have to cost much money. According to Lisa Angel, mom can think of small filler-type toys. Fidget toys are another great option, but it will ultimately depend on what her child likes.

2 Coupons

child holding coupon
Credit: Shutterstock

Giving coupons is another great idea, but mom has to be careful about what she is signing up for. One could be for dinner of the child’s choice, an outing of the child’s choosing or the child picks a movie for the night. Anything that would be fun for your child to control, as long as mom is comfortable with it.

1 Stickers


For younger children, stickers will always bring a smile to their faces. It is something that is really simple but can bring so much joy, and it can be an advent calendar. All mom has to do is put one (or more) different stickers in every day, and her child will have fun collecting them leading up to the big day.

Sources: Parents, House Beautiful, Lisa Angel