25 Memorable Advent Calendar Ideas
Many families (ours included) use an advent calendar to celebrate the days leading up to Christmas. I remember growing up and having the square, paper calendar. This one had a small door that you would open each morning and inside it would read a religious verse, words of wisdom/encouragement or an experience that your family could participate in that day. I can fondly remember the experiences that we did per the suggestion from the calendar. Some of those experiences included putting up and decorating our Christmas tree, caroling, baking cookies and taking them to friends and neighbors, building a snowman, making paper snowflakes, and so much more.
When my son was 2 years old we invested in a large, hanging, Santa calendar with a small pocket to fill for each day. The first season that we used it I filled it with small plastic toys, treats and new movies or books. It was so fun watching my son head to the calendar each morning in pure excitement and anticipation of what he may find. However, I honestly can’t remember exactly what toys were given and I doubt he does either. The next year I decided that maybe instead of a toy or item in the pocket maybe I could fill a few pockets with personal notes and things that we could do together. This year was even more fun! I noticed that my son actually loved the notes more then the small toys. We also spent hours of precious time together baking cookies/treats, making homemade gifts, playing in the snow, skiing together, and so many other amazing experiences. After making such joyous memories together that year I decided to give up on the toys and now only do notes of encouragement or experiences.
I believe that making memories and carrying on traditions is the most wonderous part about the holidays. They are also the things that children carry with them in their hearts and mind forever.
Here are 25 ideas and activities for your Advent Calendar that will surely create lasting memories for you and your child:
1. Putting up and decorating your Christmas tree. This one is obvious but make it a whole day of fun for everyone. Whether you have an artificial tree that just needs to be set up, you are heading out to pick one up at your local tree farm, or you received a permit to cut one down yourself and you are adventuring out to find the perfect one make it an ADVENTURE. If you have an older child let him get out the boxes of ornaments then you can work together to sort through them and talk about where and who each one came from. Then get out the lights, and other decorations and enjoy each moment.
2. Bake Christmas cookies and treats and pack them up and deliver them as gifts for friends and neighbors
3. Have your child make special, homemade gifts for family members. Some gift ideas include candles, cooking spices, infused oils for cooking, baking extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, etc), body scrubs/lotions, picture frames or books, art projects, and small sewing projects.
4. Participate in an outdoor sport together: ice skating or hockey at the local rink, skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, ice fishing, or snowmobiling
5. Ride or walk around the neighborhood and look at the holiday lights and decorations
6. Dance and sing to Christmas music
7) Head outside and build a snowman, snow fort or go sledding
8) Phone or video chat with relatives to wish them Happy Holidays
9) Donate your time volunteering at a local food bank, animal shelter, church, or other organization
10) Send out a personal Christmas card to family and friends
11) Get a large group or friends together to go caroling
12) Snuggle up in cozy Christmas pajamas and watch your favorite holiday movie
13) Create an outdoor scavenger hunt with stops at some of your child’s favorite places such as the library, toy store, coffee shop, church or senior center
14) Make a craft like paper snowflakes, hand/feet/finger print artwork, ornaments, or other festive projects
15) Give away some old toys to someone less fortunate or fulfill a giving/angel tree or adopt a family request
16) Write a letter to Santa
17) Drink hot chocolate while reading Christmas books
18) Enjoy a family game night by playing a few of your favorite games
19) Buy tickets to a holiday performance or check your local paper for free events going on
20) Visit with Santa and tell him what you would like for Christmas
21) Make homemade wrapping paper and gift tags and wrap presents
22) Make pinecone or popcorn strand bird feeders
23) Create a fun, festive dinner that is out of the ordinary, like snowman pancakes.
24) Make and decorate a gingerbread house
25) Kids Choice Day: whatever their little heart desires