Every year I love to put together a holiday advent calendar for my girls that includes ways to bring magic to the season and truth be told, it’s just as fun for me as it is for them! Year after year I try to focus on activities vs. “things” and build our every day routines into our advent calendar so that it’s not overwhelming for me to put together or execute. Simple activities like having a warm mug of hot cocoa is made a bit more special when there’s seasonal marshmallows or chocolate dipped spoons tucked inside the pocket to accompany the activity.
If you love the idea of putting an advent together but feel overwhelmed at the thought of executing it, I’m sharing 3 pages of ideas below for you to use as well as a few pairing suggestion for some of the ideas listed. Print these out on card stock, laminate them if you have the time, and re-use year after year! There’s even a page of blank cards for you to fill in with your own ideas.
I hope this helps makes your holiday season a bit more magical and a lot less overwhelming!
- Bubble beard – pair with some new bubble bath or a fun bubble bar from Lush
- Sip Hot Cocoa – pair with hot cocoa spoons (I find mine at The Dollar Store or World Market)
- Read a Holiday Book – my Amazon store front has all of my favorites
- Snowball Fight – this is a fun one! We use wool dryer balls and go at it!
- Hang a New Ornament – I gift an ornament each year to each of the girls that is representative of their year or current interests. Use a sharpie to date it!
- Leave a Tip – one of our family traditions is to eat out on Christmas Eve and when we do, we leave a generous tip for our server. We appreciate people in the service industry who are sacrificing time with their family to be of service to others. For this day, we usually put some money in the pocket and allow the kids to leave the tip. This makes them feel important and is a good act of kindness for them to experience.
- Bake a Christmas Treat – baking kinda stresses me out so for this activity, I bought some brown kinetic sand, a couple of cookie cutters, I’ll rummage up some “toppings”, and together, the kids can make everyone pretend cookies. But if you’re the baking type…by all means, do the real thing!
- Make a Christmas Craft – the Dollar Tree has all types of inexpensive crafty things but this year I’m making it really easy on myself and I picked up this book for a no-mess after school activity.
- Shop for your Sibling – we tuck some money into the pocket and then take the girls shopping to pick out one item for each sibling. We do our best to avoid each other in the store but with 3 kids this year, we might need to break it up into multiple trips.
- Wrap a Gift – this activity was a big hit last year. I saved a bunch of empty boxes from all the packages that were coming to our house and then filled the pocket with ribbons, tape, and gift tags so the girls could wrap up “presents”. They loved this!
- Write a Letter – this one is pretty self explanatory but pair it with a festive letter template and envelope for an extra special touch.
- Mail Holiday Cards – put some fun holiday stamps in the pocket and make an outing out of mailing out your holiday cards – trip to the post office and all!
- Play in the Snow – either a fun snow day if it snows where you live or if it doesn’t, we use this snow instead.
- Candy Cane Hide N Seek – grab a pack of candy canes and then each take turns hiding them throughout the house while the other one finds them. I usually try to do this activity on 12/12 since there’s usually 12 candy canes to a pack but I think that’s only a detail that I think is neat – haha!
Our advent calendar is very fluid throughout the month of December. I do my best to plan out the month of activities based on the normal ebb and flow of our every day life but even still, life happens and I have to be flexible. Before filling the pockets I always print out a blank calendar and pencil in any prior commitments or activities we have planned for the month so that I know how to incorporate the advent activities into what we already have going on. For example, we typically go to the Nutcracker every year, our local church puts on a Christmas performance that we always try to attend, and our city hosts a slew of holiday related activities for the kids so those go on the calendar before any pockets are filled.
If you need a visual tool to help plan out your month of activities, I included one below that you can print off to plan your fun-filled month ahead!