Photo by Isabella Chirico

Photo by Isabella Chirico

Many of you out there in the midst of finals stress may also be wondering how to bring a little holiday cheer into the weeks leading up to finals and ultimately break. I was opting to live vicariously through YouTubers participating in Vlogmas, and one thing they all had in common, besides freedom and fun that I craved, was that they all had super cool advent calendars. After gawking at the $50 price tags on many of them, I figured I could just make my own, and now I’m going to share my secret with you!

Why You Should Do It

Making one of these before the finals meltdowns start is a great preemptive stress buster. It doesn’t take very long but it still makes you feel like you’re not completely forsaking the holiday spirit you’re used to back home. I’m also looking forward to the treats I’ve set up for myself on the night before my exams

when I know I’ll be really stressed. You’ll also notice that my calendar isn’t set to the 25, but the 20th, which is my last day of school, so you don’t necessarily need to celebrate Christmas to enjoy the little presents offered by an advent calendar.

Photo by Isabella Chirico

Photo by Isabella Chirico

What You’ll Need

  • Painter’s tape (or whatever you’re allowed to put on your walls)
  • A permanent marker (if you can get a sparkly one, even better)
  • Some goodies for each day
  • Something to put them in.
Photo by Isabella Chirico

Photo by Isabella Chirico

Like most college students, my roommate and I are on a budget, and so neither of us wanted to spend a ton of money on advent calendar surprises. Most days we’ve got mini candies which you can buy in bulk and in a variety so there are still some surprises. If you want something more festive, try peppermints. Free samples that you may have lying around can be extra surprises and easy to ask for at any makeup or bath store you stumble upon. I did splurge on some tinted lip balm from my school store as a special treat during finals, and I’m really looking forward to how happy it’ll make my roommate. Another cheap but accessible splurge can be as simple as a candy bar from the nearest vending machine.

Making the containers can be kind of tricky, but I had a few ideas. As you can see my roommate and I are big on tea, and I was able to cut each box in half and make a little holder. I also cut up the corners of manilla envelopes and made little pockets out of them by taping the cut part back together. If you don’t have anything on hand, you can tape your presents on the designated day, and it’ll still be great to get a little gift.

Photo by Isabella

Photo by Isabella Chirico

The How-To

1. Sketch out your design. It’ll be good to sketch it out and figure out how you want to plot the days, or look at a calendar for this month and see what it’s doing.

2. Take your tape and make and make a section for each day in a calendar like format.

3. Put an extra piece of tape in one of the corners to write the date in (optional) Decorate your tape. Painter’s tape is not the most festive thing, and so I styled it up with simple dot patterns and snowflakes. Feel free to add an elf here or there.

4. Assemble your boxes. If you’re using tea boxes cut them in half and tape any loose ends together on the inside. If you’re using envelopes tape one of the cut edges to form a little pouch.

Put in presents!

Keep the Surprise

Why do people buy advent calendars? It’s much cheaper to buy a bar of chocolate and just eat it or buy your own festive nail polish and call it a day.

Photo by Isabella Chirico

Photo by Isabella Chirico

People buy advent calendars because they’re trying to extend the element of anticipation and surprise that comes with gift giving. It can be hard to get this when you’re making your own calendar, but there are ways. You and your roommate can stock things for each other, or you can put in a variety of things that you could never keep track of, but still know you’ll like.

Good luck!

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