8 Low Budget Ideas for Creating an Advent Calendar on Social Media

It's no secret - Advent calendars are fun, but they can also be a huge marketing opportunity. Each year, it’s becoming more and more appealing for online retailers to create their own Advent calendar that they can post on social media.

December 1st is just around the corner! The past year and half has been difficult for many businesses, so you and your team probably haven’t had the time to plan an Advent calendar or a Christmas campaign for your customers. Not to worry!

In this article, we'll walk you through 8 creative ideas for creating a low-budget Advent calendar on social media. You’ll see that it is indeed possible to attract new customers for your online shop without having to invest a large amount of money!

Important tips for planning

project planning


Before we get into the creative inspirations for your Advent calendar, it’s important to plan a bit in advance. That means defining your marketing goals as well as figuring out which channels you’ll use to display it and promote it. Let’s have a look at some of those things first.

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Define your marketing goals

First, you should define the goals you have for your Advent calendar. These are some goals you’ll probably want to consider:

Generate more leads and grow your email list

If your main goal is to generate more leads, you should include unique content and promotion codes for your followers in your Advent calendar in order to get their attention. Inspire them to click and head to wherever you want them to go.

You can also entice your followers to subscribe to your newsletter so they won’t miss out on any new information or Christmas offers.

Boost your community's engagement

Do you want to increase the engagement rate of your community on social networks? In order to encourage your followers to like, comment, and share your posts, ask simple questions such as "Does your family have a special Christmas tradition?"

💡If you're launching your Advent calendar on Instagram or Twitter, consider creating a campaign-specific hashtag so you can track and analyse your community's engagement.

Watch out: When it comes to creating raffles or giveaways on social media, depending on the platform, the terms and conditions can often be pretty strict.

However, many influencers ask their followers to share posts or to tag a friend in the comments section to participate in a contest. With this in mind, it seems that Instagram in particular leaves a certain freedom when it comes to the application of their own rules. However, it’s up to you to decide if you want to create such contests, but beware of the risks involved.

Always make sure to follow the different guidelines from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter regarding such projects!

Promote your products and increase your sales

smartphone on a table with Christmas decorations around it


With the help of an Advent calendar, you have the opportunity to present your products in an original way, show off their benefits simultaneously, and peak their curiosity. Many of your followers might end up discovering products that they never knew about.

Show off your products by using nice images and thoughtful, relevant descriptions about them to get people to visit your online shop.

💡Use tools like Later (Instagram) and Buffer (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to schedule your posts. To search for relevant hashtags, you can use Webstagram.


We recommend that you post on a daily basis. The key to a successful Advent calendar is to keep your followers coming back every day.

Challenges and giveaways are always a good idea, especially in December. If you’re thinking about throwing a few contests in on certain days, think carefully about how many contests you want to run and how often you want to post about them. Every 3 days or once a week? It's up to you.

Remember, you don’t need to give away products everyday, but rather a “gift” that provides value. Some days can be “product recommendations for loved ones” while other days can be contests or giveaways. How you split those up is up to you, of course.

loyalty programmes gift present

Shutterstock.com/Ivan Kruk

Inform your followers and your online shop’s visitors as soon as your Advent calendar is launched. Let them know about the possibility of winning numerous prizes or promotion codes.

Promote it via multiple channels: your online shop, in your newsletter and on social media. The most important thing is to use multiple communication channels and to not reveal too much in regards to what events are taking place on which dates. Being a tiny bit mysterious will encourage people to visit your site/page every day.

Also think about the platform on which you want to publish your Advent calendar. Which platform has the greatest potential for your brand? Where is your audience?

Our recommendation: Since Instagram is a photo and video sharing platform, it lends itself ideally to the marketing of an Advent calendar. With Instagram, you can really be creative as there are various possibilities of how to showcase your products.

The Ultimate E-commerce Guide to Instagram  A complete guide to the most visual social platform Download whitepaper

8 content ideas for your Advent calendar

An Advent calendar usually contains 24 boxes. This means there are 24 possibilities for you to present your brand and your products the way you want.

On Instagram, your Advent calendar might look like one from the Foodspring brand:

adventcalendar example foodspring

The Foodspring Instagram account has an Advent calendar

Without further ado, here are 8 creative low-budget ideas for your Advent calendar that will get your (potential) customers excited. Of course, you can also combine some of the ideas or only choose one or two that you think will appeal to your community. It’s up to you!

#1 User-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is without a doubt a powerful marketing strategy. UGC is basically a fancy term for “content your followers create”.

This type of marketing not only increases your brand awareness, but it also demonstrates your customers' trust in your business and the quality of your products.

Using customer voices to sell more  Learn how user-generated content benefits your business Download whitepaper

So why not integrate UGC in your Advent calendar and let your followers post content with your products? You can do this by organising a photo competition, for example.

A very popular example of this practice comes from the popular coffeehouse chain Starbucks. In 2016, Starbucks released a limited number of red cups and encouraged its customers to use them to create their own designs.

As part of the “Starbucks Red Cup Campaign,” the company asked customers to take a photo of the decorated cup and share it on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #RedCupArt. Starbucks then shared the images of the contest winners on social media.

Screenshot Instagram Starbucks Advent calendar

The Starbucks Instagram account is full of UGC

This example shows that it’s not always necessary to offer an extraordinary idea for followers to engage with a brand.

So, try your luck! Host a photo contest or two as part of your Advent calendar and encourage your community to post photos with your products. You can also offer small prizes to the winners (e.g. another one of your products or an unique promo code).

#2 Recipes & tutorials

Do you offer food products in your online shop? Then your followers will certainly be happy to discover inspiring Christmas recipe ideas that they can then easily try out at home.

Screenshot Instagram Foodspring Advent calendar

Foodspring, the fitness food brand, is showing their community how to easily make “popcorn bites”.

Thanks to the Instagram Shopping function, you can tag your products directly in your publication (image or video) and thus allow your community to click on the link to view and purchase the mentioned product on your online shop.

And even if your business isn’t about food products, you can still share these kinds of photos or videos. For example, you can share typical Christmas recipes. These could then be presented by you or one of your employees, which will make the post more personal and also give insights into who is behind your brand.

Alternatively, you can post some tutorials that you think your target group would like that are related to your products.

#3 A behind-the-scenes look at your business

Speaking of seeing who is behind your brand, have you ever given your customers insights into what’s going on behind the scenes of your business? No? Then it’s about time you give your followers and potential customers an insight into your daily work at the office or the manufacturing processes of your products! #BehindTheScenes

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This will not only increase your customers' trust in your brand, but also show them a more personal side of your business. This will help (potential) customers establish an emotional connection with your brand, which is very important when it comes to customer retention!

Screenshot Instagram Innocent Advent calendar

Innocent, the beverage brand known for its healthy smoothies, frequently shares details of office life with its followers and receives many positive comments and feedback in return.

#4 Christmas gift ideas

The holiday season is a great time to showcase gift ideas to your community. Many shops run late or just lack the inspiration to do so. This is your chance!

You can integrate several Christmas gift ideas into your Advent calendar and take the opportunity to tag and promote products that you offer in your online shop.

Screenshot Instagram Daniel Wellington Advent calendar

Daniel Wellington's Instagram account

#5 Christmas traditions

Are you proud to work in an international team? So why not show your community how Christmas is celebrated in other countries! Your employees could present particularly interesting Christmas traditions.

Did you know that fried chicken is eaten in Japan on Christmas Day and that many Greeks adorn their homes with a boat instead of a tree? Use stories like these to attract your followers’ attention.

Is your online shop ready for the Christmas sales season?  Prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year Download whitepaper & checklist

#6 Showcase your products

Show and stage your products in an original and creative way! A social media Advent calendar gives you the opportunity to tell your followers more about your products, highlight their benefits, and give advice about its usage.

Recommended reading:
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You can create a short video or share an image to show special features or different ways of using your product. This idea can be combined with #1 by having users show off their setups in aesthetic images.

Screenshot Instagram Razer Advent calendar

On Instagram, US computer company, Razer, showcases the special effects of their products to fans.

# 7 Special offers

Every good Advent calendar should at least contain one or more special promotion codes or offers.

These offers could include flash sales, promo codes, or offers that are only valid on the same day you release them.

You could also offer free delivery for two or three days. This will not only increase traffic to your website, but also boost your sales.

Screenshot Instagram UGG Advent calendar

Famous winter boots brand UGG is offering their followers a discount.

#8 Support a charity

The holiday season reminds us not to forget about the less fortunate. In your Advent calendar, you could draw attention to humanitarian and charitable organisations that you feel are important.

Get involved by supporting fundraising events and charities to set a good example. Your followers will know what your brand stands for and that you are committed to supporting good causes.

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Checklist: Is Your Business Ready for the Christmas Sales Season?

In short

Be creative, relevant and inspire your community.

If social media users find the Advent calendar content you share interesting and exceptional, they'll want to follow your social media profile to stay updated with your contents and giveaways if you post every day. At the very least, you’ll boost brand awareness and peak interest in your products.

Go ahead and start planning your social media Advent calendar now! Surprise and inspire your (potential) customers with different social media posts in December and they’ll be thanking you by visiting your shop!

This article was originally published on and adapted from our French blog: Calendrier de l'Avent sur les réseaux sociaux - 8 idées à petit budget


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