For around 7 years now we have had an advent activity calendar at Christmas time.
When the kiddos were younger we did chocolate or some sort of treat each day.
It started with muffin pans. I would tape a magnet to the treat. Then tape the day of the month on top of it. We hung them on the wall and every morning the kids would jump out of bed and run to the hanging muffin advent calendar (see below)
*Affiliate links are used in this post, but remember they are at no cost to you*
Daily Advent Activity Calendar
Then in 2012 when the kids were 4 and 3 we decided to switch it up and do an advent activity calendar.
Each day our elf on the shelf would tuck into these cute envelopes an activity we would do as a family. The elf apparently made these envelopes too! It looks like she used brown envelopes [HERE] with a piece of Christmas scrap book paper taped on then the day of the month. She also found some cute Christmas clothes hangers at Michaels and hung them on twine. ?
Then in 2015 I ordered a cute advent calendar box (another cute on here). Each day the kids get to hang a cute ornament on this little tree that comes with it. Sometime in November when we got the box in…my daughter (7 at the time) said … wouldn’t it be neat if our elf left our activity in the box each day?
So instead of using envelopes we now have a box!
Advent activity calendar
Each year we add new stuff in and do some of the same things. We let our elf know the night before if we have plans or need to stay in for the night. And she adjust our activities accordingly.
Sometimes she even emails us during the day if the activity needs to change. And yes. She has an email address.
For 6 years now… our kids wake up and rush to our special box. Each day they take turns reading out that days activities. This special tradition helps us bond through the Christmas season!
Here is a list of some of the activities we have done in the past. We try to keep a lot of them FREE! Some do cost money so keep that in mind. But I definitely think you could always keep the entire thing budget friendly! But always on the 1st of December they each receive a present under the tree with matching Christmas pjs!!
Advent Activity Ideas
- Christmas PJs (Dec 1)
- Bake cookies
- Drive around and see Christmas lights
- Karaoke night
- Dance night in the living room
- Go to a movie
- Movie night at home
- Slumber party in the living room
- Go to a Christmas parade
- Spend the night with relatives (this sometimes can be a few days -we usually use this night to go Christmas shopping)
- Craft night (we search Pinterest for ideas or usually our elf will get something at target dollar spot)
- Donate 5 toys each to charity
- Go to a friends house to play
- Popcorn night
- Breakfast for dinner
- Date night in with mom or dad (we usually will hang out with each kiddo doing what they want that night. An example would be my husband playing video games with my son or my daughter and I watching a girly movie …all at home)
- Wrapping presents night
- Shopping for foster kids (we usually adopt a few foster kids to buy presents for at Christmas time)
- Make an ornament
- Stay up 30 mins later on a school night
- Play board games
- Go see Santa
- Kids pick dinner night
- Hot cocoa night
- Polar Express movie night on the couch
- Dinner out
- Movie out
- Date night out with mommy
- Date night out with daddy
- Go See A Play
- Sleep on the floor in mommy and daddy’s room
- Go out for ice cream (we live in Florida)
- Go look for rocks (I’m not sure if this is still a thing. But in 2017 our kids loved it)
- Walk around downtown
- Movies on the lawn or by the river (local free activity)
- Go to a museum
- An Afternoon at the Library
- Go to a tree farm
- Day parade
- Go ice skating or skating
- Go bowling
- Have a cousin or friend spend the night
- Go to Christmas concert at church
- Get a Book Night
And the list goes on
- Kids choice (kids can choose anything they want to do at home)
- Do something kind for someone else
- Shopping for school gift exchange
- Have a picnic
- Fun trip to the Park
- Go to Bass Pro and look around
- Go to indoor trampoline park
- Make a fort in the living room
- Family game night (this night we play games like….I spy, Simon says and a game I made up called Movement Memory. I tell the kids something to do and they have to do it. We normally do this game outside. It wears the kids out and they love it. We also do this in doors when we are having to kill time. An example would be …. walk 5 steps, do a 360 turn, hop on one foot for 10 hops, crawl backwards until you reach a certain point, then run around the cars 3 times. They each take turns doing this until someone messes up the order by not remembering the correct order.)
- Make a gift for the grandparents
- Walking tour of Christmas lights
- Making a Christmas wish list (we get the toy book from Walmart or other stores and they go through it)
What advent Activities Can You Think Of?
As you can see, the list has grown over the years. All the activities we do …our elf tries to fit around our schedule. And most of the time it’s things we had planned on doing anyway. The kids look forward to December each year and it’s non stop talking about it for weeks to come.
With a little bit of planning you could do this too! If you decide to try it this year please let me know! And if you have any activities your family does or any ideas please let me know! Our elf is always looking for more ideas.
You may also like: How to Simplify the Holidays Right Now