My daughter is at a spectacular age: she’s 11. This means she’s infinitely difficult to buy things for. I suspect most of her Christmas present requests are based on what a boy she is close to likes. So when I was trying to find the best advent calendars for girls, I did struggle a little.
I eventually decided that I would buy a wooden advent calendar she liked from a place called The Range. We saw it when we were out enjoying my annual Christmas decoration binge last weekend. In an attempt to drum up a bit of a pity party, I thought I would also mention that the day after spending £120 on Christmas decorations, my clutch started to slide.
This week is an expensive one.
For now, I’m going to ignore my groaning bank account and delve into my DIY advent calendar ideas. If you have a fussy daughter too, they could just save your sanity.
First, select the DIY advent calendar that you’re going to fill
In my not-so-expert opinion, your DIY advent calendar should feature plenty of wood, cute Christmas designs, and LED lights (if you can manage them). My daughter’s request was inspired by one that we saw at The Range. It ticks all the aforementioned boxes, plus the drawers are spacious enough for the daily treats I’m about to suggest.
If you don’t rate the one at The Range, or you don’t live close to one, Amazon has plenty of decent candidates. The one pictured above costs just £39.99 and is undeniably cute. At that price, there’s plenty of room in my budget for filling it with makeup samples, bath bombs, and miniature nail polishes.
Dig around for beauty samples, including perfume
Growing up I was always a fan of snagging free makeup samples. The habit started with my Nan, who used to work at a department store. When my friends went on to work at beauty counters too, I’d often (successfully) hint that I needed free samples to fill my makeup bag with.
If you haven’t got the time or patience to head to Debenhams and do some begging, there are other options. The first involves grabbing five free makeup samples from Feel Unique, which gives you the chance to add perfumes to your DIY advent calendar. While most of the creams are anti-ageing, I did find the occasional acne busting treatment that’ll make my pre-teen smile.
Your second option involves delving into Amazon again. This time, you’re going to peek into the hidden world of miniature Avon samples. Yes, Avon is still a thing and if you want an army of small lipsticks to feel your DIY advent calendar with, Amazon is the place to buy them.
As always, eBay is a winner on the makeup sample front too. When we visited Jersey earlier this year a beauty store rep gave my daughter a small pot of Bobby Brown matched to her shade. She treasured it for a while, before blasting through it. You can enjoy the same luxury makeup joy by purchasing an Estee Lauder Double Wear sample from eBay sellers. It’s a classic that works on almost anyone’s skin.
Buy a packet of miniature nail polishes
What little girl doesn’t love nail polish? (Okay, I’m sure there are plenty. I just haven’t met them).
Buying a pack of between five and 10 miniature nail polishes gives you the chance to fill a fair few DIY advent calendar days. If you’re willing to splurge a little, try the range of Orly miniature nail polishes at Amazon. This is especially useful for pre-teens and teenage daughters, who probably prize longlasting results.
Alternatively, some eBay sellers do offer big name brands in miniature packages. I’m going to go ahead and recommend big name brands over generic ones, as reports in recent years of Far Eastern manufacturers selling unsafe products have caused a lot of concern in the beauty world. To avoid spending over the odds, try Max Factor.
Grab some small bath bombs
I have to admit that I dread clearing away the destruction that accompanies any glittery bath bomb. However, it is Christmas, which also means it’s time to make an exception.
And if there was ever an apt way to celebrate Christmas, it’s with a Christmas bath bomb. Once again, eBay is a major box ticker here. If these Santa, Christmas pudding, and snowman bath bombs don’t do it for you, try these wedding favour ones.
If you’re ready to sacrifice your sanity to the trauma that is clearing glitter from your bathtub, try these festive fairies. They’re an excellent option if your daughter worships Disney to the same degree that I do.
If you’re tempted to enjoy the fizzing marvels for yourself and you can’t stand the thought of overly synthetic scents, try these organic bath bombs from LESHP at Amazon. They’re probably more moisturising than the aforementioned options, making them slightly more palatable for grownups.
Finally, if local shopping is important to you during the festive period, I can almost guarantee that any twee high street store will sell bath bombs worth putting in your DIY advent calendar. Not only will you give your daughter a dose of Christmas cheer, you’re helping the economy in your local town.
Purchase trinkets and jewellery
In my bid to go hell for leather on the makeup front while creating my DIY advent calendar, I all but forgot this option. Whether or not I dive into the world of small and cheap jewellery is still questionable.
Once again, this is an excellent opportunity to shop local. Two years ago I bought a couple of cute braces for my nieces, which represented their birth months. If you’re on a budget and searching for low-cost items, though, try Claire’s Accessories or H&M. Their jewellery is probably more seasonal, too.
Don’t forget the sweets
What advent calendar is complete without sweets? My local outlet recently opened its first Hotel Chocolat, which means the cost of my DIY advent calendar is probably about to rocket. As a good trade-off, there’s always Lindt. And, Thornton’s isn’t too expensive these days.
One of my little niggles about creating the advent calendar was whether or not I could prevent my (not-so) small human from opening each day before it’s due. There are a couple of ways to address this:
- Using tamper tape (which ruins the aesthetics. And, she’ll probably tamper with it anyway).
- Keeping the calendar downstairs (It’ll add to the Christmas decor.)
- Placing everything in organza bags. It won’t ruin the aesthetics, plus they require more effort on the tampering front.
If you’re creating your own DIY advent calendar for the daughter in your life, I’d love to hear your suggestions.
Honesty notice: This post contains affiliate links, which relate to the products I’ve purchased while creating my DIY advent calendar for my daughter.