Christmas is such a magical time of year. For many families, traditions are a big part of the holiday season, and Advent calendars are a popular one. It spreads out the fun and festivities for the whole month of December, giving us all something to look forward to as we count down the days to Christmas.

But you don't have to buy a typical cardboard Advent calendar with chocolate hidden inside. You can make your own Advent calendar to customize your countdown to the holidays!

DIY Advent Calendar One clever way is to look around your house and find everyday items to use like a muffin pan. You can easily store little trinkets in each individual muffin spot with a decorative cover on each one.

What if you can't use a muffin pan because you have lots of holiday treats to bake? Well, how about collecting toilet paper rolls? It may sound unusual, but it can turn out quite cute like these little elves.

DIY Elf Tubes Advent CalendarFrom muffin pans to toilet paper rolls, there are a wide variety of ideas out there to help you make your own advent calendar.

Check out a few of these posts for inspiration:

DIY muffin pan Advent calendar photo courtesy The Stamp Doc

DIY elf tubes Advent calendar photo courtesy Canadian Living

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2009 and has been updated.