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In this post: Have you ever wanted to make your own Advent calendar? Create this fun and versatile paper bag advent calendar for your family this year!


As a mom, I’m always trying to make the Holidays special, to create memories and traditions for our children that they will treasure long after they’ve grown into adults and moved away from home. Creating a yearly advent calendar around the Holidays – and opening one special little package each day leading up to Christmas – is one way to do that.

When they were all quite a bit smaller, we just bought that year’s themed advent calendars filled with cheap chocolate from the store. It seemed the easiest and cheapest thing to do. Until we discovered a few easy and economical DIY ideas for making our own!

This version of our paper bag advent calendar uses very inexpensive materials that you can find at your local grocery store, dollar store or craft store. And it can be customized and reused year after year by filling it with whatever your heart desires!

Advent Calendar Final Product Context (full, with xmas)

How to Make Your Own Advent Calendar with Paper Bags

Advent Calendar Final Product Context (full, with xmas)

Supplies

Instructions

1. Fold top of brown paper lunch bag back about a half an inch. This will simply help you to visually center the placement of your doilies and numbers.

make your own advent calendar

2. Apply glue by rubbing glue stick onto center front of brown paper bag. Place one doily on top of glue and press down to affix. Repeat for 24 (or 25) bags.

Advent Calendar Step 2 Glue Doilies

3. Using white marker number all of the bags from 1 to 24 (or 25).

 Advent Calendar Step 3 Write Numbers

4. Hang two lengths of jute/string/yarn where you wish to display your advent calendar. The bags will hang best if each length is about 3 feet long.

5. Open and fill each bag with desired goodies. Fold over the top of the bag again when finished. (See tips section for ideas on what to fill your advent bags with.)

Advent Calendar Final Product (Bags done)

6. Starting on the bottom length of jute/string/yarn hang each filled paper bag numbered 12-24 (or 25) on jute/string/yarn with a clothes pin. Repeat on the top length of jute/string/yarn with the bags labeled from number 1-12. Adjust bag spacing if necessary. 

Advent Calendar Final Product

Non-Candy Advent Calendar Fillers

Don’t want to fill your advent bags with the typical cheap chocolates? Try these fun ideas instead :

  • Daily scripture or memory verse
  • Encouragement notes to share
  • Ideas for a fun family activity – like a movie night, driving around to see Christmas lights, etc.
  • Snacks like individually wrapped cookies, snack bars, etc.
  • Lego, maybe to build something large on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning
  • Gift cards for coffee, favorite shops, etc.
  • Reprints of old family photos
  • Coupons for hand, foot or back massages
  • Books/magazines
  • Gum or other candy
  • Comics
  • Craft or drawing supplies

More Advent Ideas from Home Made Lovely

Advent Calendar Final Product Context (full, with xmas)

Paper Bag Advent Calendar

Active Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10 or less

Create this fun and versatile paper bag advent calendar for your family this year!

Materials

  • 24 or 25 items to fill your calendar depending on whether you want to do advent for 24 or 25 days (see tips for ideas)
  • 24 or 25 Brown paper lunch bags
  • 24 or 25 Clothes pins
  • 6 feet of jute/string/yarn
  • 24 or 25 Black doilies
  • White marker
  • Glue stick

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Fold top of brown paper lunch bag back about a half an inch. This will simply help you to visually center the placement of your doilies and numbers.
  2. Apply glue by rubbing glue stick onto center front of brown paper bag. Place one doily on top of glue and press down to affix. Repeat for 24 (or 25) bags.
  3. Using white marker number all of the bags from 1 to 24 (or 25).
  4. Hang two lengths of jute/string/yarn where you wish to display your advent calendar. The bags will hang best if each length is about 3 feet long.
  5. Open and fill each bag with desired goodies. Fold over the top of the bag again when finished. (See tips section for ideas on what to fill your advent bags with.)
  6. Starting on the bottom length of jute/string/yarn hang each filled paper bag numbered 12-24 (or 25) on jute/string/yarn with a clothes pin. Repeat on the top length of jute/string/yarn with the bags labeled from number 1-12. Adjust bag spacing if necessary.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

What other alternatives to candy can you think of for Advent Calendars?

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shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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