Make this cute holiday advent calendar that you can use year after year. Credit: Katie Smith | Bangor Metro

Growing up, my mother would always pull out a quilted advent calendar on Dec. 1 and hang it on the basement door. While I loved seeing this — it meant the holiday season was starting — there were no treats hidden in little pockets like I had noticed in some of my friend’s homes.

In our house, each morning we moved a little stuffed bear around a different part of his house, and he hung there with a safety pin.

When I had kids, I wanted an advent calendar that could house little tiny treats such as gold coins, Hershey Kisses or Matchbox cars. But, I also wanted something simple that would go with my decor for years.

I came up with something easy that anyone can do (get your kids to help) that’s a blank slate that can be decorated with different or clip-on ornaments (I’m obsessed with birds right now) or garlands as your taste and colors in your home changes.


Large white canvas — I used a 36-inches x 48-inches

24 party bags in the color of your choice with handles removed


Glittered numbers 1-24. To make this really easy, I found 2-inch adhesive numbers on Etsy, so I don’t have to glue them. If you have great handwriting, you could also draw numbers on envelopes.


Ornaments and garlands of your choice

Treats to fill pockets

How to make it:

1. Snip handles off bags.

2. Glue, draw or stick numbers to envelopes.

3. Arrange bags in a design you like on canvas, then glue onto canvas.

4. Add garland or ornaments to your canvas.

5. Hang and fill your advent calendar with treats.

This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s November 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.