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Hip2Save This Holiday: Homemade Advent Calendar

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Hip2save This Holiday Series Guest Post Submitted By Reader Heather…

I have always wanted to have advent calendars for my kids, but I’m not crazy about the cheap chocolate that comes in many of them. So this year, I made my own (I got the inspiration from this blog)! I used old Christmas scrapbook paper I had lying around to give it some variety, and folded 50 little boxes. Then I put number stickers on them I bought at JoAnn’s using a 40% off coupon. I’m excited to fill them with fun things come December. I am planning to put a mix of both candy and small toys inside, like Squinkies I got on clearance at Kmart for just $3.50! I have also heard of putting activities inside the boxes, such as “Drive around and look at lights” or “Go see Santa at the mall” and may throw a few of those in there as well!

If you plan to make these, you can find a tutorial on folding the boxes here. Since the tops and bottoms are all the same size (a 6″x6″ square), you might have to squish the bottom a little to make it fit.


For more information on my new Hip2Save This Holiday series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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20 Hip Readers Commented

  • Asmith says:

    Thanks for offering this series

  • Amanda says:

    Love this idea!!

  • I spent 50 on ours.. crazy I know but I loved it. Ive also seen ones where out a muffin tin and cover the holes with paper (prize inside)

  • Sarah O. says:

    We’re changing our advent calendars this year. I’m incorporating the random acts of kindness with the candy and each day has something that the girls have to do. For example, one day it might say, “Bring doughnuts to the fire station.” or simply, “Say thank you to a community helper”. I’m hoping it makes it more meaningful. Plus, I think it will be fun. :)

  • Kathy says:

    I’m making one this year too. I have an old soda crate that I’m using and I’m also making boxes out of scrapbook paper to fit in each slot. I’m doing random things some will be treats some will be activites and some will be directions to open a present that would not fit in the box (like a new Christmas movie).

  • Robbyn says:

    I was in a pinch a couple years ago and needed an advent calander fast and cheap. I found tiny solid red and green stockings in 4 packs at the dollar tree. I had gold fabric paint and stencils already so I stenciled numbers on the stockings. I had wired gold ribbon that matched the paint and so I strung the stockings on it. It looks very festive strung up. Instead of getting a treat everyday the kids move their candy cane to the next day and get to eat the candy cane on Christmas eve. I’ve also done it with treats everyday and just filled the stockings with little candies or toys.

  • Tina says:

    I love this idea! I am doing the book advent this year, but definitely doing that next year!

  • NiCeY says:

    Thanks for this idea….You can also use a calendar template for the numbers!

  • Leslie says:

    We used to make little boxes out of Christmas cards to put little trinkets in…

  • Mo says:

    I was gonna send our idea in, but figured it wasn’t very unique – but maybe I was wrong since there’s been a couple of Advent Calendars featured so far :P We celebrate only New Years, so we do a Countdown Calendar instead of doing one for Advent, and we do it for all of December. My father’s side of the family is from Germany, and that is where Advent calendars originated, so we are honoring our heritage on that side … sorta … LOL

    Anyhow, I do hand-rolled rolls of coins – 31 pennies for a day, 31 nickels for a different day, so on, small toys I get for free with overage from drugstores, etc. and little freebies/cheap things we get from the great deals Collin has all year long, as well as little candies, and on the 15th a gift card for the kids to go buy a toy for donating to Toys for Tots. I hand made some of the q-tip/popsicle bow & arrows for this year too. I store all this stuff away (except the candy ’cause it would go stale), then wrap them in old flannel scraps or the bitty ends of wrapping paper from our New Years presents, and bring them out on December 1st. I tuck mine inside of an old printing press block tray that we removed a couple extra slats out of so we would have 30 spots. On the top of the tray we set what is for the 31st – and that is a scavenger hunt to find a big box of stuff we use for New Years – noise makers, hats, confetti, this year adhesive moustaches for our family pic, etc.

    I love the boxes above though; the printing press block trays can get pricey sometimes, so if you don’t already have one laying around, that could eat up a budget easily. This is much more cost effective, especially if this is your first year beginning the tradition!

    • Em says:

      Omg!!!! I love this idea! We celebrate a non-religious Santa Christmas sometime around the 25th, usually the Friday/Saturday after (we volunteer to work Christmas). We always have New Years Eve/Day off though…this may be what we start doing!! Our flock is still young so they are adaptable…man, now I’m all excited!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

  • marcia says:

    Thanks for sharing, Collin! So cute!

  • MommySpendsLess says:

    Great idea! I love how they’re a bit bigger than the usual Advent Calendar cubbies.

    I’m doing a Christmas Countdown calendar for the first time this year. I was inspired by all the book ideas but didn’t want to wrap something we already had (and I figured there’d be enough unwrapping at Christmas) so I bought simple muslin bags from Bonaza (Etsy sells them too). It was about $16 for 24 of them, but I got the larger 8″x10″ bags. I planned to iron on numbers from a computer print out but since I’m running out of time I think this year I may just print them on cardstock and pin them on. Most of the bags will be filled with Christmas/winter themed books from my childhood (free, well to me LOL), a few with new books I picked up on clearance last year, a couple with puzzles, a couple with movies, one with small games and one with snowball shooters (just take a cup, cut off the bottom, put a balloon on it and it can be used to launch mini marshmallows). I think it will be a nice nightly wind down (except for the shooters but we’ll do that on a weekend) for our three year old and a good reminder to spend some quality together time every evening.

  • Susan F. says:

    I made the mini muffin tin advent calendar a few years ago and still use it. I just made the covers for each hole out of Christmas cards, glued some numbers on the front, and used magnetic tape I found at Dollar Tree to make them stick. I usually put a few M&Ms in it, but my son has a Lego advent calendar this year, so I’m putting Disney Princess Squinkies I got on clearance in it for my daughter. We line up the numbers on my metal front oven and get to see them get closer and closer to Christmas. Super simple, but fun.

  • Paula C. says:

    For my sons countdown calender thia year I made mini stocking out of constuction paper and put a puzzle eraser in each one. He loves the erasers and I found some cute ones in the dollar section at Target and I even bought some Angry Birds puzzle erasers. They are the perfect little treats ro countdown to christmas. When we did this last year, my son would get so excited to see what the next special treat was. I can’t wait to his face this year! :)

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