7 Tips for a DIY Advent Calendar

Organise your money, time and ideas! (Weiter auf Deutsch lesen)
If you have decided to prepare a DIY advent calendar for friends or family this year, instead of buying one, then let me tell you this: Plan well ahead and organize your time, money and ideas so that you will not get stressed and your beloved ones will receive their calendars before the 1st of December. Especially if you want to include a variety of gifts and not only chocolate, give yourself enough time to come up with clever and nice ideas.

1. Planning – Organization

Make a list and start filling it up with anything that would be interesting for this person. Think of his/ her favorite shops, daily routine, hobbies, interests, things they mentioned they wanted to buy. Once you have the list, note down the stores or online shops you can buy them. Even if you have only 18-20 ideas, you are on a good way. Visit the stores you have already written down; I am sure there will be some more possibilities to consider there. And don’t forget: Chocolate is always a good idea!

2. Budget

One of the main problems, I think, of a DIY advent calendar is the meaningful money management, so you do not run over budget. Set your limit and note down how much the most expensive gifts (3-4) you have thought of should cost. As soon as you know what is left, you have already an idea how much more or less you can spend for each present. Don’t restrict yourself that all gifts should cost the same, as you can find gifts with 1 or 2 euros and you can spend some more money for the rest

3. Special Gifts

As already mentioned I totally recommend that your calendar includes at least 3 more special (not necessarily expensive) gifts. Here are the numbers where I would place these:

Day No.1: Since first impressions always count
Day No.6: We all expect something special on the Saint Nicolas day
Day No.24: Do I have to say why?

There is a trend this year to also include a present for the Christmas day. I mean, why not? If you have enough inspiration do it, but do it good, because nobody wants to be disappointed on the Christmas day.

4. Build anticipation

It’s definitely not easy, but I am sure you can do it. Place your gifts strategically, so that the anticipation is growing and your beloved ones can’t wait to open the next gifts. In between include small, sweet gifts like chocolate, but avoid things that would be of no interest to the specific person and would lead to disappointment. What you should also avoid is including similar gifts very often. It wouldn’t be a great idea for example to include 10 times a candle, unless this person is a great fan of candles. Generally I believe that you should better not include similar items more than 3-4 times. Variety will be appreciated!

5. Create meaningful combinations

Meaningful combinations will also help you fill in your 24-Gift list (Do you remember? That was your task in step No. 1). Here an example for you: If one of your gifts will be a Muesli or Granola, then you can add as a next gift a Muesli bowl or a nice spoon.

6. Wrapping

Content is of course what matters! But don’t underestimate the importance of your wrapping. In the end it is this, that adds to the anticipation and the excitement of discovering what is inside the calendar.
Choose a beautiful Christmas gift wrap and don’t forget to add the necessary number stickers. I find these ones from Herma very sweet, but there are many more around you can choose from.  For example, what about these Unicorn Countdown stickers?
If wrapping the gifts yourself seems time-consuming and complicated, nowadays you can find a lot of ready-made solutions to wrap or pack your advent calendar surprises; From small fabric sacks like these ones from Depot to funny paper bags or fairy-tale wooden houses.

7. Put yourself in their shoes

My last advice would be to put yourself  into their position and think what would make them happy (not you) and what they would expect from a gift like that. As already mentioned, gifts should’t be expensive, but they should show your love and caring. So, listen to your heart and the result will impress you!