How to make a reusable advent calendar – for an enduring and delightful design

Approach the holidays a little differently this year and learn how to make a reusable advent calendar

How to make a reusable advent calendar. Homemade advent calendar decorating a fireplace
(Image credit: Future)

Start a new Yuletide tradition that you can enjoy for years to come and learn how to make a reusable advent calendar.

As fun and festive as Christmas can be, more and more us are looking into ways we can change certain celebrations so they are more sustainable; and simple, homemade crafts can not only bring joy and creativity into the home, but they can help the environment too.

Helping to celebrate the countdown to Christmas, advent calendars come in all shapes, sizes and variations. From pictures to chocolate and luxury Christmas advent calendars, there really are options for all, but there is something super special about a unique, homemade design – and they help reduce waste.

A joyful crafting activity that allows for you to curate a special collection of gifts, Angela Maynard, author or The Art of Gifting Naturally, shares her top tips below for making a beautiful, reusable advent calendar.

What you will need

How to make

Follow Angela's simple step by steps below so you can learn how to make a reusable advent calendar.

Step 1. 

Make up 24 cotton pouches, or alternatively, organic muslin pouches work well.

Step 2. 

Tie the brass rings to each end of the brown string with secure knots. 

Step 3.

Clip the pegs to the string at regular intervals.

Step 4. 

Fill the pouches with a selection of treats. Write the numbers 1-24 on your tags, and tie one tag around the neck of each pouch.

Step 5. 

Peg the filled pouches to the string, either from left to right following the numbers 1-24 or mixing up the numbers so that recipients have to search for that day’s pouch.

Step 6. 

To give as a gift, fill a box with recycled tissue paper and place the advent calendar and brass nails or hooks inside, securing the outer box with string. Alternatively, place your pouches in a gift bag, fold the edge over, secure with string and decorate with a Christmas tree decoration.

Advent calander pouches clipped to string

(Image credit: Jeska Hearne)

And there you have it, your very own, homemade, reusable advent calendar that you can enjoy for many Christmases to come.

To take the homemade theme even further, why not try making your own gifts to go into the calendar, such Christmas ornaments and learning how to decorate Christmas baubles, or homemade sweet treats.

The Art of Gifting Naturally

The Art of Gifting Naturally by Angela Maynard | Simple, Handmade Projects to Create for Friends and Family

"I’d always loved making gifts as a child and always payed particularly attention to wrapping them beautifully, even having wrapping competitions with my sister at Xmas! With my childhood self in mind, I decided to spend some time playing with natural, recycled and sustainable materials, devising a collection of practical projects that would be easy to make at home. My book ‘ The Art of Gifting Naturally’ is the result of these ideas and experimentations."

How do you reuse an advent calendar?

A re-usable advent calendar is an eco-friendly design that can be used year on year in the countdown to Christmas.

Craft ideas, such as the one we have explored in this guide, allow for you to get creative and make a more meaningful design from long-lasting materials that will not go to waste.

Once the advent season is over, simply store away your reusable design for next year, ready to be filled with delightful treats all over again.

What do you fill a homemade advent calendar with?

The beauty of a homemade advent calendar is that you can fill it with pretty much anything – your creation can be as big or as small as you like!

See our list below for inspiration on what you can fill your homemade advent calendar with.

  • Chocolates 
  • Candy
  • Socks 
  • Candles
  • Homemade crafts
  • Decorative ornaments
  • Jewelry
  • Beauty products
  • Vouchers
  • Pocket board games
  • Stationary
  • Mini condiments
  • Tea, coffee and hot chocolate 
  • Craft materials
  • Plant and flower seeds
Jo Bailey
Editor, Print

Jo Bailey has been Editor of Homes & Gardens (the print edition) since September 2023; overseeing all features for the print edition. Previously, she worked as the News & Shopping Editor across H&G and Livingetc where it was her role to discover the best news stories, latest trends and honed her understanding of Homes and Gardens' over 100-year-old brand.

Before joining Future Plc, she worked as an interior stylist for over ten years, specialising in commercial photo shoots for luxury clients such as; Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, The Romo Group, Christopher Farr Cloth and Heal's. She has worked closely with Homes & Gardens and Livingetc for over a decade, having styled and produced editorial shoots and events for both titles over the years. 

With contributions from