How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The CraftablesWhen we started working on this gift idea for my sister’s 21st birthday, I thought this was too complicated and we would never be able to execute it. Thank god, I don’t listen to myself! Because, this was epic. We combined two of my sister’s favourite things – holiday advents and treasure hunts to give her 12 perfect personalised gifts leading up to her birthday! And, it’s one of our fondest memories now. Here’s what we did!

How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The Craftables

For this idea, there are three aspects which you need to cover:

  • Treasure Hunt
  • Daily Gift / Advent
  • Personalised Gifts

Note: You can choose 1-2 aspects of the above and it will still be a great gift idea. Just saying.

The way it works is,

  1. Start by planning out personalised gifts. One for each day leading up to the birthday day (my sister’s birthday is on the 12th of Dec. Which meant 12 gifts.)
  2. Next, write out clues for each of the gifts.
  3. Hide one gift & place the matching clue. Starting on the 1st of the month.
  4. Sit back and enjoy each day as the birthday girl hunts for the gift and gets excited when she finds it.

How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The Craftables


Initially, we had planned to make all 12 gifts. But, that wasn’t a practical idea and we would have ended up compromising on some of the stuff she wanted. However, we did manage to make all the gifts personalised. Here’s the process, we followed:

Step 1: Think of her favourite things. One for each day (that’s 12 in all). This ranged from her favorite TV show (Friends) to her love for Bollywood movies to her favourite musicians. We also added a few gifts which she has wanted for a while. Like a lava lamp and a new phone.
Step 2: Chalk out a rough budget for all the gifts (its really easy to go over board with daily gifts)
Step 3: Match the favourite with a gift within your budget. For example, one of my sister’s gifts had to be Beauty and the Beast related. Instead of spending hours looking for merchandise. We had a scene from the movie printed on a pillow.
Step 4: Plan which gifts you want to DIY. We made a few by hand. The first gift I gave was an Olaf keychain (for Frozen) that we made. Another idea, was a Finger Twister (she loves board games).
Step 5: Make / Buy the gifts.

If you want to simplify the idea, you can buy all of the presents or you can DIY ideas unrelated to their absolute favourites. This works out, too. Because, you’re still looking for a present every day. And that’s exciting!

How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The Craftables


If you’re unfamiliar with advent calendars, these are usually made in December for Christmas. Starting from the 1st of Dec till the 24th of Dec, you get a present / message / activity idea every day. It is one of my sister’s favourite holiday activities (Because 24 presents. Obviously!).  Plus, it really builds up the anticipation leading up to a Birthday.

We adapted the idea by, taking a small cork (she collects wine corks) and piercing a hole with a skewer. We used the stand to leave a clue for her gift, every day. You can use any way of displaying the clue. Just make sure, its easily visible and simple to make.

How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The Craftables


Lastly, we added a fun element to our Birthday Treasure Hunt. By converting each gift into a mini treasure hunt. This meant, my sister had to read the clue left each day, figure out what gift related to which favourite was hidden where and then locate it. This lead to a lot of chaos every day, as she ransacked the house looking for her present.

For this, it’s good to,

  • Plan hiding spots for all the gifts and place them on the day, that they are to be gifted.
  • Make templates for the clues. So, they can be printed out and placed every day.
  • Write 4 line clues that talked about what the gift is, what favourite it is about and where it can be hidden. For example, for the “Do you want to build a snowman” Keychain, we included the text:

“Do you want to find the first gift? You’ll have to go to and fro! Look under the bed, or behind the door. Or, you can let it go”

My poetry skills are the worst and I did make it difficult to figure out (on purpose :)). But, the clue does the job. The first and last line talk about the song (“Do you want to build a snowman”) and Frozen. And as per the second and third line, we hid the keychain behind the passage door in our house.

How to make a Birthday Treasure Hunt Advent Style by The Craftables

This idea is perfect for an elaborate gift. But, it takes planning and you may hit roadblocks (I hit a few of them). If that happens, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help out. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on our Birthday Treasure Hunt, in general.