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8 alternative low-cost advent calendar ideas

Advent calendars don’t only have to be boring and samey. Have some fun and create your own with our alternative low cost DIY advent calendar ideas.

Low Cost Alternative Advent Calendars

Not Just Chocolate Advent Calendars

Gone are the days when you could only buy a chocolate advent calendar for the Christmas countdown. What if you’re one of those unusual people who don’t like chocolate?

Nowadays you can get an advent calendar for everything – tea, gin, stationery – there are some fab alternative options out there. However, they can be costly.

If you can’t find the perfect advent calendar for your loved ones or don’t fancy the traditional chocolate advent calendar, but you don’t want to fork out for an expensive alternative version, why not make a DIY advent calendar at home?

It’s not as hard as you might think, and it may even work out cheaper than buying one off the shelf. You can buy all different kinds of advent calendar shells that you simply fill – like this hanging one or this collection of Christmassy boxes, which you can use again and again.

Or you can find your own creative way of presenting your calendar. The question is, will you create 24 or 25 surprises to open?

Here are 7 ideas for alternative advent calendars that you can make at home…

1. An advent calendar for crisp lovers

Crisp Advent Calendar

This is a great, low-cost idea for the crisp lover in your family. Simply buy enough multipacks of their favourite crisps so they can have a different packet each day.

Wrap each packet up in Christmas wrapping paper and give it a number, so the recipient won’t know what flavour they’re getting until they open it.

You could save their favourite flavour for the last day or treat them to a sharing bag or full-sized tube of Pringles to open (and hopefully share with you)!

2. A beauty advent calendar

Beauty advent calendar

You can get super-creative with a beauty advent calendar, as there’s so much choice out there. Stick to one particular beauty item – like bath bombs or nail polish (which you can buy in gift sets to keep costs down) – or pick up some travel-sized toiletries that you know they like and use for a bit of variety. You could also buy a gift set of their favourite brand or scent.

Wrap each item up individually and save their favourite until the last day.

3. A sweet tooth advent calendar

For the family member with a sweet tooth, this is a great, low-cost advent calendar they’ll love.

Take pick n’ mix to a whole new level by getting a selection of their favourite sweet treats, like Wham bars, Haribo and Refresher chews, and giving them a different one each day. You could even buy a gift box of retro sweets and wrap each item individually.

You can also get big bags of mixed sweets – like these Chupa Chup lollipops or Maoam Stripes – so you don’t have to spend loads buying individual items.

4. A toy advent calendar

Advent calendar toys

A great one for the kids – especially if you don’t want them to have too much chocolate or sweet treats.

Depending on what your little one is in to, you could create a fidget toy advent calendar, or one with different outfits for your child to dress-up their Barbie doll, or a calendar of little toy cars (you can buy a multipack of different ones, which is more cost-effective).

5. An advent calendar for stationery lovers

Advent calendar stationary

Rather than shelling out on an expensive stationery advent calendar from the shops, you can easily make your own at home. Stick to a theme and buy different varieties of the same item – like rubbers, ink stamps or stickers – or buy a gift set and wrap each item up individually, with the final surprise being a cute notebook, for instance.

6. An advent calendar for green fingers

An advent calendar with a different packet of seeds to plant each day would make a simple but effective gift for a green-fingered friend.

It’d make a great gift for a hard-to-buy-for grandparent, and the final surprise could be a plant pot that their grandchild has painted.

7. A bit of everything advent calendar

Advent Calendar with a bit of everything

Who says you have to stick to one theme? Make a totally unique advent calendar for a loved one by including a little bit of everything – a chocolate bar one day and a miniature bottle of whisky the next!

That way, it really will be a surprise when they open each gift.

8. Pay it forward calendar

Advent Calendar pay it forward

Why not use advent to introduce your family to paying it forward. Get 24 envelopes, write a little note in each one with an idea of how you can be kind, helpful or thoughtful this advent. After all it is the season of goodwill! You can make the activity of filling in the notes a family thing, everyone has to come up with a few ideas and you mix them up and place them into the envelopes at random. This way you can all try and do the tasks together, or take it in turns to open one.


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