Advent Calendar Ideas

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Categories Activities, Celebrations, Holidays, ParentingTags

I didn’t grow up with an Advent calendar, but I just love the idea of marking the days until Christmas.

A couple of years ago, when the girls were just shy of three, we made a countdown calendar.  I used their handprints to make a Christmas tree, and I wrote the numbers 1 – 24 on it.  Each day, the girls got to add an ornament sticker, their trees becoming fully decorated by Christmas.  They LOVED picking a sticker each day…and they talked about that calendar off and on the entire year following!


Last year, I wanted to incorporate some fun activities, and the element of surprise.  I pinned a number of different ideas.  Here are some of my favorites…

…little packages, tied to a topiary…

…tiny little jars, I’ve seen arranged in various shapes, like trees or wreaths…

…a pretty jar filled with tiny boxes…

…little messages tied onto a frame with a screen in it…


…a holiday sock garland, each containing a little treasure…

[These are from what I think may be the mother lode of Advent ideas on Gluesticks…this site keeps going for days!]

I also love this idea from I {Heart} Nap Time

…little notes hung from clips on wire across a frame…

After much deliberation, here’s the calendar I created…

advent calendar-ME
…miniature clothespins glued to a frame…

And the verdict?  We had such a great time with it!!!  Each day we did a different activity.  There was a mix of really special things…like a cookie decorating party…and things we’d do anyway…like decorate our Christmas tree.

In no particular order, here were some of the items on our list last year…

  • Put up the Christmas tree
  • Buy a loaf of Holiday Bread from Panera
  • Make a donation to the local pet shelter
  • Eat out for breakfast
  • Make homemade hot chocolate
  • Go for a ride to see Christmas lights
  • Walk through the neighborhood with glow sticks to see Christmas lights
  • Leave a gift for the mailman
  • Leave a gift for the garbage truck and recycling truck
  • Make an ornament
  • Decorate cookies
  • Make chocolate-covered pretzels
  • Buy a new Christmas book
  • Go shopping for Sasha (our cat)
  • Wrap presents
  • Take gifts to our neighbors and sing Christmas carols
  • Walk around downtown and see the Christmas lights (and maybe a carriage ride?)
  • Visit the Opryland Hotel
  • Take cookies to Garcia’s (our favorite restaurant)
  • Make Chex mix
  • Make a donation to a bell-ringer
  • Take gifts to the girls’ teachers
  • Make gift tags for our Christmas presents
  • Watch the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center

I left the calendar open and filled in the next day’s activities the night before.  Some of these depended on the weather and what else we had scheduled, so having flexibility was really helpful.

The girls and I are looking forward to another fun year of holiday activities!

Do you have an Advent tradition?  I’d love to hear other ideas!

MandyE is mom to soon-to-be five-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

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