Christmas Advent Calendar

Each year, starting on December 1, we start our Christmas (or Kwanza, Chanaukka, St. Nicholas Day, Boxing Day, St. Lucia Day, etc.) countdown with an Christmans Advent Activities Calendar like many of you.

I have seen all sorts of advent calendars around. Here is our version!  I am also sharing a list of some Christmas Advent Activities to help you come up with some of your own.


I make a list of several activities we can do together as a family. Then each day the kids take turns opening the little door for the day and reading what activity we get to do together. At our house, the holiday season can be pretty busy and somedays are unpredictable. So instead of just cutting up the strips and distributing them into the calendar, I do not put the activity in until I have an idea of what activity is actually feasible that day. I keep a pre-typed list up in the cupboard and then before the kids get home from school, I pick an activity, cut the word strip out and place it behind the little door.

This way each day I control what we are realistically able to participate in. Plus the kids aren’t able to find out what we are doing until that exact moment.

Here is a list of some of the things we have included in our advent calendar in years past.

1. Decorate the Christmas tree.
2. Write letters to Santa.
3. Build a snowman.
4. Have a snowball fight.
5. Make Christmas cookies and surprise a neighbor or two with a plate.
6. Sing Christmas Carols together.
7. Write Christmas letters to relatives we will not see for Christmas.
8. Watch a Christmas movie.
9. Visit Santa at the Mall.
10. Take a drive to see the Christmas Lights.
11. Clean out old toys and donate to Goodwill.
12. Make a gift for kids teachers.
13. Make some Christmas Candy.
14. Play a game in front of the fire.
15. Watch The Grinch.
16. Learn more about Jesus.
17. Sleep under the Christmas Tree.
18. Do a secret service for someone in the family or a neighbor.
19. Make a gingerbread house.
20. Read an extra Christmas story.
21. Make some reindeer food for Christmas Eve (recipe here).
22. Read the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2 and other scriptures.
23. Act out the nativity scene.
24. Listen to Christmas music.
25. Set out cookies and reindeer food for Santa and his reindeers.
26. Read the notes in our love socks (more to come on this later).
27. Watch a Christmas special on television.
28. Go sledding!

You can use some of these ideas, or come up with your own that will meet the needs of your family and the specific holiday you may celebrate.

What are some ideas you would add to the list?


  1. The Fifield Kail Family! says

    That is such a great idea, I'll have to try that this year. Love the Advent calendar. Did you make it? It's Great..

  2. amyg says

    I LOVE this idea. Our advent calendar is very similar to yours. I've always just put candy in there. This is sooooo much more fun. The holidays are all about creating special memories as a family. Thanks!

  3. Sky Buffat says

    Thanks for posting your list of activities- I had thought of a few to include in ours, but wasn't getting 24, so this helps a ton! So very cute :)

  4. Marcia says

    I used to do the same thing with my kids when they were young. I did a paper tree with stars on it. I took down the star idea with the activity I felt most up to that day. Enjoy. They grow up so quickly.

  5. Charlotte says

    this is a great list, you've given me a inspiration to re-invent our advent calendar..this way of doing it will mean so much more than just a little candy treat each day…thank you so much for sharing.. also…LOVE your drawer calendar…it is tooo cute! xo

  6. An Almost Unschooling Mom says

    We did the exact same thing last year – except I put all the slips into the boxes, and kept a written list for myself, so I could move them around easily if I had to. I was going to post about ours, after Thanksgiving – but I should have known someone would post it first! Great list of activities though :)

  7. **Amy** says

    I got my calendar at Target a few years ago. It has little doors that open (not drawers), but drawers would be fun too!

  8. Tasha says

    Oh, I love it! I {heart} advents. I think I have 3-4 and seem to add another one each year. A couple of them are little pockets I have to fill. I love the idea of just having little word strips of what we will "do" that day instead of a small piece of candy or toy. Just love this idea. Thank you!!!

  9. Tiffany says

    I just did this same thing last weekend! I'm going to borrow a couple of your ideas though…I think I have about 5 "watch Christmas movie" in mine that I need to replace with something else ;) I'm in love with your calendar…I'm now on the lookout…so CuTE!!!

  10. Dana says

    totally featured this on my blog…just to my few readers :) my friends! really cute idea!

  11. Jennifer says

    Your advent calendar is adorable… I love the little doors! I think your idea of having activities each day is so much fun!

  12. Kelli says

    We usually just do one of those chocolate Advent calendars to count down. But now I'm on the look out for something bigger and better. I also love the idea of sleeping under the Christmas tree. My girls would get such a kick out it.

  13. Save the Date for Cupcakes says

    LOVE THAT IDEA! Makes so much sense to wait until that day to pick the activity!

  14. Camille says

    Love this idea. I usually went to Zurchers and bought the small trinkety toys there and candy and put in each day. I like the activity. Much cheaper, memories last longer than toys, I have always said an elf came and filled it each day out of the month. This may be a rough switch this year, but I am going to use your idea and hope the transition goes well. Thanks for all your creative ideas. I finally got around to making the love pillow tonight. My oldest said if the pillow shows up on his bed it will stay there forever. I hope he catches the spirit of the idea and doesn't really mean that once we start it.

  15. savannah says


  16. Colette says

    I love Advent Calendars, too!!! I loose count and add new ones every year. Last year I added an "Advent Blog" to my collection where I post everyday about the true meaning of Christmas. I am LDS, so most of my daily quotes and thoughts are from Latter Day Prophets and Apostles… but the general message of his miraculous birth, good will and the spirit of the nativity transend many religions. I also put on an instrumental Christmas music playlist that has added a peaceful feeling to the background when I'm on my computer. Anyway, I hope some of you would be interested in checking it out. Merry Christmas!

    PS… Amy, thanks for the wonderful blog. I am a regular reader, love your ideas and am always excited to see what fun idea you have next! :)

  17. Marne says

    I love this idea, especially that you don't add it until THAT DAY. Then you can control it. I am doing this next year!

  18. says

    Great idea with the activities! Never thought of that. You are going to think I am terrible but I put candy in the doors with little notes of where to go find a little gift like a scavenger hunt . I will definetly add a few activites :)

  19. Jodi says

    This is a great idea and I can’t wait to start an advent calendar tradition with my son! I absolutely LOVE your advent calendar – I’ve already started looking for one (never too early hah) and I came across a pic of yours and its beautiful. If you don’t mind me asking where did you find it?

  20. says

    Love your example, showing everyone that the holidays are about activities that bring people together & create memories … which we all need reminders to do given how busy everyone is these days.

  21. Cindy Zientek says

    I love your ideas! Where did you get the neat box? I really would like to purchase one! Thanks!

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