Family Advent Calendar Ideas

Every year we set up our advent calendar and my children eagerly wait for me so they can open it each morning. Behind every little door, I put a slip of paper with a secret idea that we’ll enjoy that day. I include family traditions, day trips, special activities, food treats, and gifts or ideas for others. Over the years, I’ve learned to make notes of what I want to include as I think of them, which makes for planning out the actual days in the week after Thanksgiving much easier. I try to include a mix of fun treats for my kiddos, activities with friends, and giving opportunities. And I always prepare more than 24, in case plans need to change at the last minute. If you’re looking for some ideas for your advent calendar or just your holiday season, in no certain order, this is what my little slips will say this year:

Roll beeswax candles for our advent wreath. [ And some extra. We can do this as part of advent for the first time, because the timing works out. (Dec 1st is also the first Sunday of Advent. Curious what advent is? Check out this helpful article. ]

Pick out a small plant for your bedroom to support our missionary friends.

Make Christmas ornaments.

Fill a guest basket for Uncle Drew & Aunt Sarah. [ Visiting family staying in our home. I think we’ll include little snacks, mints, lotion, a magazine, etc. ]

Exchange sibling names for gift giving. Shop tonight! Keep what you pick out a secret until Christmas!

Film the nativity story reenactment. [ Typically, the kids dress in costume and reenact the nativity, but this year maybe we’ll use Lego figurines and stop motion. ]

Start a “snowball” fight with friends. [ We did this a couple years ago and it was so fun. Essentially, you wrap little treats inside a white crepe paper snowball and drop it at a friend’s home. This tutorial suggests cutting your own streamers, but we used dollar store streamers and it worked great. ]

Package up a cousin box to send to our out-of-state cousins. [I wrote this little poem a few years back to accompany our packages to our cousins. “This is a cousin box, from us to you, full of our love and things to do. Empty it out, enjoy it too! And when you’re through, fill it with your love & stuff for us to do. We’ll be waiting to get it from you!” ]

Visit the gingerbread festival in Peddler’s Village.

Gameschooling today! Look in the cabinet to find a new game.

Donate some books to our local little free library.

Potluck lunch with friends.

Drop off gifts at our buddy’s toy drive for our local children’s hospital.

Make homemade hot cocoa & cookies.

Ice skating in Philadelphia with our CC group.

Go see a movie. [ We’ll actually do this two days since our kids have been waiting to see Frozen 2 and the new Star Wars, which is coming out in December. ]

Visit a local museum with passes from our library.

Decorate an evergreen in our woods with edible ornaments for the animals.

Hang twinkle lights in your bedrooms.

Christmas movie & sleepover by the Christmas tree.

Dry orange slices and oranges with cloves for decorations around our home and gifts for neighbors.

Hot cocoa & drive around to see Christmas lights.

Read Christmas books together by the fire.

Design some homemade wrapping paper.

Walk thru the live nativity.

Coffee & school at the local coffeehouse.

Attend our town’s tree lighting ceremony with friends.

If these ideas don’t suit your family, maybe they’ll inspire some ideas that do. Share them here in the comments!

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