If you’d like to make an Advent—or simply a countdown—calendar, here’s our super-simple DIY calendar we made a few years ago. (Disclosure: Some of these photos were taken at night, and all of them were taken in 2011, when I was still learning—so they’re not the best.)

A ridiculously easy advent calendar

I already had a large frame I snagged from the Habitat ReStore. It was glassless—perfect.

Then I taped rows of ribbon along the back.

I bought plain bookmarks from Joann’s. Sets of 20 were $2.50, so I had to buy two. Still inexpensive.

I was planning on using number stickers to label the tags 1 through 25, but then I bumped into this scrapbook paper. Couldn’t be more perfect.

I cut out the numbers and glued them on upside down, near the bottom.

Then I folded them in half.

I had a few more sheets of scrapbook paper, which I cut into strips and gluestick-ed on clothespins. They’re the miniature versions, also from Joann’s.


I wanted an activity-oriented advent calendar, but I didn’t want to write anything permanent.There’s no telling what we’ll be doing when from year to year.

So, I write our activities on Sticky Notes. It could look more festive, but if I waited to make everything perfect, it would never happen. My kids don’t care, and I’m fine with it.

Inside the advent calendar

This way, we move around activities, change them from year to year, and even switch them up as the month rolls on. A fresh coat of snow today? Let’s bump up “make a snowman” to today and push back “bake cookies.” Here are a few activity ideas.

Then, we flip the card inside out and hang the little picture.

An easy, no-frills Advent calendar, on The Art of Simple