Make Your Own Advent Calendar

December is just around the corner and for many, it’s the beginning of the Advent calendar.  Many parents will hop to the store to buy the chocolate or candy filled calendar leading up to the days of Christmas.  Why not?  It’s fun, relatively inexpensive, and the kids enjoy it.  However, it’s not for all families.  Some don’t want the kids eating that type of candy every day, some – like ours – have a child with a dairy allergy that puts those ones out of the running, and some want something a little bit more than just a piece of chocolate a day.

This is for you.

The lead up to Christmas is often a magical and fun time for families.  There is so much to do and so much excitement in the air that it’s hard not to get into the Christmas spirit with kids around.  The Advent calendar is just one way to help us celebrate Christmas for more than just one day and with more than just candy.

Step 1: Make Your Own Calendar

This is the fun step for those of you who are crafty and the get through it step for those of you who aren’t.  I tend to fall on the latter side so I’m always looking for easy ways to make a cute calendar for our kids.  Really all you need are small envelopes that you can number and put small cards or items in for each day.  There are free printables online for cute cards if you want to make them more festive.  Then you just need a cork board or some string to clip the envelopes to for the kids to find each day.

Source: Ella Claire
Source: Ella Claire

If you’re more artistic, there are great ideas on how to build your own advent tree with pouches and all that fun stuff that takes more work and creativity than I personally have, but am jealous of those who do have it.  If you do want something more stable, you can also buy beautiful, reusable ones that you can use year after year.  Regardless, no matter how you make it, the kids will love it.

Source: The DIY Dreamer
Source: Wall mounted advent calendar by the DIY Dreamer.

Step 2: Decide on the Theme

Some people focus on acts of kindness.  Some focus on family activities.  Some like to mix and match all of it and make for a month that is filled with all sorts of different things.  You know your family better than anyone and know what will work best for all members so make sure you think about everyone when you come up with your ideas.

Step 3: Pick Your Activities

One of the most important things when picking your activities is to not overstretch yourself.  Don’t be picking huge activities every single day because chances are, it’s not feasible.  You’ll need to have some larger activities and some quick and easy ones for the days you know will be busy.  Another trick is to make sure you add in the things you NEED to get done.  So putting up the tree?  Add that for whatever day you know you want to do it.  Write Christmas cards?  Again, have that be an activity too.  The more you can work in things that both benefit you and help your kids get in the spirit, the better off it will be for everyone.

Activity Ideas

Bigger Activities

  • Set up and decorate the Christmas tree

  • Buy gifts for those less fortunate

  • Bake Christmas cookies or cakes

  • Sort through and donate old toys to charity

  • Visit Santa and get pictures taken

  • Go ice skating

  • Put up Christmas lights

  • Make your own ornaments for the tree

Medium Activities

  • Watch a Christmas movie

  • Help wrap presents

  • Decorate and put up a wreath

  • Make paper chains and snowflakes to decorate the house

  • Write some Christmas cards

  • Bring a food donation to your local food bank

  • Bring pet food to a local shelter

  • Go Christmas caroling

  • Create a care package for a homeless person and give it to them

Smaller Activities

  • Write a letter to Santa

  • Make and enjoy hot chocolate with marshmallows

  • Donate pocket money to a charity

  • Read Christmas stories from different cultures

  • Write a letter to someone telling them why you love them

  • Have dinner or a picnic under the lights of the Christmas tree

Whatever it is you do, enjoy the family time and take some time to think about those less fortunate and how you can help.  After all, the main point of Christmas is giving and helping others.


By Tracy Cassels

November 23, 2015