Here are instructions for making Christmas calendars for kids. You can make these on your own without any commercial parts beyond regular household supplies; the supplies for one calendar cost few euros. Of course, what you put inside the may be commercial or home made... In my case the first calendar is filled with Spongebob toys ranging from a dollar to twenty dollars per piece. The second calendar is filled with legos from one 100 dollar kit.
However, the beauty of these calendars is that you can suit them to whatever your kids might actually want, you do not have to be satisfied with the low quality junk that most commercial calendars have, and finally -- as you will see -- you do not have to constrain the physical limits of the calendars.
My youngest kid watches Spongebob tirelessly, and is also keen on soft toys. Unfortunately, Spongebob toys aren't widely sold in Europe. So on my recent trip to North America I managed to fill up my luggage with these toys from a couple of malls and cities. At a very reasonable cost, I might add... Wahlgreen's was selling an 80 cm high toy for under twenty dollars.
The basic construction starts from cardboard boxes taped together. You need the boxes, duct tape, invisible tape, glue, and large quantities (maybe 20 m2) of aluminium foil. Hopefully you can find the boxes for free, but if not, there are large moving boxes sold by Ikea, Biltema, etc. for about 3 dollars per piece. The boxes should be as large as possible. I had to subdivide each box into two compartments, as I did not have full 24 boxes. I used a carpet knife to cut round holes in the boxes for each of the days in the calendar.
Then it was time to insert the toys:
And finally, I used aluminium foil to cover the entire set of boxes. Before putting the foil, I applied glue around the round holes so that the foil would stick even when opening the holes. Opening will be easy; just punch through the foil. But be careful when handling the calendar; its very easy to break the foil by accident.
My kid was very happy with the result!
The manufacturers of Lego brought a hugely popular Lego castle calendar to the market, but decided to produce only a small number of these calendars. They sold out fast, and were delivered only in some places. After hunting for these calendars from three continents and seeing E-Bay prices being over a hundred dollars, I decided to make my own. Here's how:
The ingredients that you need are any type of a Lego kit, a strong cardboard tube, aluminium foil, and thin wire.
Dividing the contents of the Lego kit to the different days can be an art. I decided to place the instruction leaflets on day 10 to increase the difficulty level. Another fun trick might be to put the starting brick on day 24, but I chose not to do that this year :-)
Finally, I hung the entire calendar from the roof by a strong wire.