A Christmas Advent Calendar for non-crafty types

Once upon a time, I was an avid painter and drawer, then life happened and the creative well ran dry. For me, it coincided with adulthood, work, and having less free time and other activities to focus on. I do get the itch from time to time to pick up a brush or a pen, but I struggle to just pick up and go, I tend to need a project or theme, an occasion or a specific request. Then I can flourish.

Not crafts though. I’ve tried my hand at a few things: scrapbooking, cross-stitch, paper craft, stamping, but I gave up almost before I got started. Too many options, too much money to spend to make it half-decent, too bitty on the whole to appeal to me.

Still for many years I’ve wanted to own a proper advent calendar but although I’ve seen some amazing ones on sale, I’ve balked at the thought of spending £15 or more on something that comes out one month out of twelve and that I have to fill with sweets and chocolate myself. This year though, Little Girl is over two years old and I just KNOW she’s going to love Christmas and the run up to it, and I figured I should sort something out. I bought an emergency chocolate calendar from Lidl but I also tried to think of something I could make that would be 1. cheap 2. simple to make 3. still have the wow factor. And I found it!

So I give you my Fridge Magnet Advent Calendar, for wannabe craft people who really can’t be bothered!

Matchbox Advent Calendar1

The supplies you need are:

  • 25 small matchboxes (60p for 10 from Wilkos)
  • a glue stick
  • Festive paper (wrapping paper is perfectly acceptable but you can get fancy craft paper if you prefer)
  • Number stickers
  • a magnetic strip
  • a ruler and pencil
  • a big container (for the unused matches!)

The tricky bit of this particular craft is to cut the paper into the right measurements so it covers the top of the matchbox. I know, it’s a HUGE challenge. The rest of it, even a toddler could do with minimal input, which is what my toddler did.


Step 1

Empty the contents of the matchboxes into a container or pretty jar, to be kept for future use in the event of a power cut, zombie apocalypse or for a cheap and cheerful Christmas present for your friends (don’t say I don’t give you fabulous ideas for getting rid of any old rubbish)

Step 2

Cut your festive paper in rectangles that will cover one side of the box

Step 3

Put some glue all over the top of the matchbox

Step 4

Press your piece of paper on top

Step 5

Place your stickers on the boxes

Step 6

Cut the magnetic tape into small strips, remove the plastic adhesive and stick at the back of the boxes

Step 7

Arrange on your fridge/any other metallic surface. Done!

This year’s pretty basic but I can see great potential for both the girls to make their own, choose the colour theme, stickers, etc each year.

One warning I ought to give, is that you probably should do the prep work of cutting the paper whilst your toddler is busy elsewhere, or do it all in one go, rather than as you go along. Otherwise, you will have to deal with wails of ‘Me do it!’ after every. single. box.

Matchbox calendarmagnet calendar