Now that the countdown to Christmas is well underway, we’re all thinking about which advent calendars we’ll be choosing this festive season to celebrate in December. While there are lots of pre-made advent calendars, from beauty advent calendars to men’s advent calendars – and even some wild and wonderful unique Christmas countdowns – you may want to choose an empty reusable DIY advent calendar to make your own bespoke creation that you can cherish as a keepsake for years to come.
RELATED: 7 creative advent calendars for DIY craft fans: Sewing, Christmas crafts and more
Check places like eBay or Etsy, which has a whole section devoted to creating your own advent calendar, from empty boxes to advent calendar bags, boxes and fillers. There are empty DIY advent calendars for just about any decor or need, including make-your-own advent calendars made of wood, hanging advent calendars and inexpensive paperboard advent calendars, too.
On eBay, this seller has a whole array of refillable DIY Christmas countdown displays, from traditional nativity scenes to a gingerbread house
Brubaker traditional wooden DIY advent calendar, various models, from £14.99, eBay
A minimalist, sophisticated DIY advent calendar made from paperboard inspired by the Impressionist art movement
John Lewis & Partners Impressionism Fill Your Own Advent Chest, £20, John Lewis
Amazon's Choice for DIY Advent Calendar is this simple set of Christmas boxes you fill and stack yourself
BlueIves Fill Your Own Advent Calendar, more designs available, £9.98, Amazon
We’ve put together an edit of the best empty DIY advent calendars you can shop now, and also have some suggestions about what kinds of treats and treasures you can put in your make-your-own countdown for this Christmas 2020.
RELATED: The best-rated advent calendars on Amazon
What can you put in an empty advent calendar?
The sky is really the limit – as long as you think small! You can find inexpensive DIY calendar fillers or party packs from places like Amazon, or elevate your treats and fill those empty boxes with special packs such as the advent calendar refill box from Fortnum and Mason that can be used to fill one of the retailer's empty advent calendars or one of your own. (Note: this refill box has sold out but you can register for updates.)
Advent calendar chocolate squares, pack of 25, various flavours available, £9.99, Etsy
You can also REALLY go custom and handpick 12 or 24 treasures yourself to place inside your empty advent calendar.
Need some ideas about what to put in your make-your-own advent calendar? We have some suggestions!
If you're looking to fill a...
- DIY advent calendar for him: Socks, pocket sized-tech like mini USB phone chargers, coffee or tea bags, beer or mini-bottles of his favourite tipples are all good choices.
- DIY advent calendar for boys and girls: You can stash sweets, coins, tiny toys, chocolate or even kids’ jewellery and accessories inside.
- DIY advent calendar for adults: Jewellery and hair accessories, handwritten notes, travel size beauty products, mini home sprays or even lockdown-friendly gifts like face masks or touchless door openers.
Here's a handy DIY advent calendar tip: Look for packs of travel sizes and minis, whether beauty products, candles, grooming or manicure sets, splitting up the set to put one treat in each day of the advent calendar.
Tiptree Wilkins & Sons Mini Candle Gift Box, £20, Amara
Dr PawPaw Full House Christmas Gift Set, £19.50, Oliver Bonas
Advent calendars filled with wine, beer, whisky or gin are popular – you can get creative yourself with mini bottles to pop into a DIY advent calendar for a make-it-yourself treasure trove of tipple.
Fever Tree Ultimate Gin and Tonic Selection Gift Set, £19.49, Amazon
Reusable DIY Advent Calendars under £25
If you’re on a budget, check out these make-your-own advent calendars at wallet-friendly prices.
This hanging advent calendar consists of 25 festive pom-pom embellished felt stockings to fill
Felt stocking advent calendar, £15/$26, Marks & Spencer
You can also keep it simple by making our own advent calendar with sets of boxes or bags
Make your own advent calendar kit, more designs available, £6.99, eBay
A wall advent calendar with tiny gold loops to hang mini-gifts from
Wall-hung advent calendar, £12.99/$17.99, H&M
Twenty-four ‘Coffee to Go’ cups, perfect to create a coffee or tea advent calendar
DIY Advent calendar coffee cups, more designs available, £18.56, Amazon
Two AA batteries power this cute Christmas village that has 24 doors to hide treats behind
Christmas Village Wooden Advent Calendar, £19.99, TK Maxx
A sturdy cardboard advent calendar designed for kids
Christmas advent calendar house, £16, Jojo Maman Bebe
Wooden empty advent calendars
These make your own advent calendars are built to last! Make them part of your yearly Christmas decor as a cherished keepsake.
Enjoy the glow of the tiny village (courtesy of LED lights) in this empty DIY advent calendar with 24 drawers just waiting to be filled – it's eBay's #1 top-rated advent calendar
Garden Mile Light up Christmas DIY Advent Calendar, £31.99, eBay
This handcrafted Christmas truck DIY advent calendar featuring Santa Claus at the wheel and an illuminated snow-covered village scene powered by two AA batteries
Wooden Truck Advent Calendar with Lights, £42.99, eBay
Fill this personalised oak advent calendar with your favourite beers and wines – it holds both 330ml size beer bottles and mini-bottles of wine, Prosecco or Champagne in 187-200ml sizes
Personalised advent calendar for drinks, £60, Etsy
A battery-operated wooden advent calendar featuring a traditional nativity scene on the top
Nativity Scene Wooden Advent Calendar, £46.99, Wayfair
A hand painted advent calendar with a snowman as it’s centrepiece, and a snowfall made of battery-operated lights
Mackenzie-Childs Snowman Advent Calendar, £107/$148, Amara
A tree-shaped wooden advent calendar decorated with holiday treats from gifts to gingerbread men
Fortnum's Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, £99, Fortnum & Mason
Advent calendar filler ideas
If you’re still unsure about what to fill your DIY advent calendar with, here are some ideas for bespoke calendars and also some advent calendar filler packs that are ready to go!
House of Dorchester Jungle Animals Slims Advent Chocolate, £10, John Lewis
Enamel pins 24-piece set, £8.99, Amazon
Kusmi Tea The Wellness Pack of 24 Tea Bags, six flavours, £20.99, Selfridges
SanaBelle Charm Bracelet Christmas Advent Calendar Fillers, £24.99, Etsy
Funko pop mini Star Wars, set of 12, £29.99, Amazon
Advent calendar set for kids in pink, 40 pieces, £65, Not on the High Street
HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.