December first is the day when families across the country get out their advent calendars. It’s pretty nice starting the day with a piece of chocolate, until your kids realize there’s only one candy for all of them! Now, no one is feeling the Christmas spirit! What your family needs us to up their advent calendar game, and add some adventure to it! Replace the chocolate candies with fun holiday activities for the whole family! Here is a list of advent calendar activities that will add a ton of holiday fun to your Christmas Countdown….
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Advent Calendar Activities That Involve Giving Back:
- Find a “giving tree” in your community and have the kids pick an ornament. The ornaments have a request for an item to give. We visited the giving tree that is located at our library, and then went shopping!
- Donate some pet food and toys to the local animal shelter.
- Take everyone to the grocery store to buy some non-perishable food items for the local food shelf.
- Donate your used books to the library, school classroom, or Little Free Library.
- Ring the bells at the red kettles for the Salvation Army.
- There may be a lot of opportunities in your community to donate your time to help others. Volunteers are always needed for holiday events, such as, parades, public holiday light displays, kids shopping days.
- Pay it forward. Surprise someone else by picking up the tab, delivering dinner, or be secret Santas.
Related post: Winter Activities for Family Fun
Advent Calendar Activities and Holiday Fun in the Kitchen:
- Sample some holiday foods from around the World. Our new favorite drink is wassail, and the kids threaten to try and order it the next time we go out to eat.
- Bake Christmas cookies. Try a new recipe!
- Mix up some sugar cookie dough, get out your cookie cutter collection, bake, and decorate.
- Prepare an old family recipe. Don’t forget to tell some stories about the person who created the recipe.
- Google “holiday food” and choose your family’s next meal. We had reindeer pancakes one morning for a fun breakfast.
- Start off your Sunday morning with cinnamon rolls. Whether they are homemade or from a can, the house will smell so good!
- Eat party food for dinner, use the fancy glasses for drinks (wassail, anyone?), and play some holiday music.
- Build and decorate a gingerbread house. There are kits for sale everywhere it seems!
Advent Calendar Activities Around the House:
- Make some photo gifts with your latest family vacation photos.
- Have the kids decorate gift labels. We like to start with white address labels and add our own festive touch.
- Put up those old holiday decorations that you haven’t decorated with for years.
- Surprise your family with a hot cocoa buffet. The more toppings the better!
- Think of experiences that your family can give instead of gifts.
- Watch the Christmas shows and movies that are on television throughout the month. The Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and Frosty cartoons are the same ones that you watched as a kid.
Related Post – Experiences You Can Give Your Kids Instead of Toys
- Plant some flowers. Watch the home improvements stores for their annual delivery of amaryllis and paperwhite kits.
- Decorate, decorate, decorate.
- Make homemade gifts for friends and family. Search Pinterest for ideas.
- Listen to holiday music.
- Family game night!
- Family movie night!
- Make a photo book for the year highlighting your family’s fun adventures and firsts.
- Read Christmas stories before bed.
- Write down your family’s goals and dreams for the next year. Where will you go? What will you do?
- Make ornaments for your Christmas tree, or better yet, someone else’s. Check out these “mess free” glitter ornaments…seriously, is there really such a thing as mess free glitter?
Advent Calendar Activities and Holiday Fun Around Town:
- Attend a cookie walk. Look for one at a nearby church or grocery store.
- Drive around town and look at the holiday lights or visit a holiday light display.
- Attend a Christmas concert. The younger the musicians, the better!
- Attend a holiday play at your local theater or church.
- Have a family with musical talents? Go caroling in your neighborhood.
- Are there fun holiday events in your town? Pick one or two for a day of festive fun! We’ve seen a lot of ads for craft shows, hot chocolate crawls, gingerbread house contests, holiday themed scavenger hunts, and visits with Santa.
- Take the kids, maybe one at a time, holiday shopping.
- Go sledding, skating, snowshoeing, hiking, or skiing.
- Find your nearest Main Street and do some shopping. Enjoy the holiday decorations while you’re there.
- Give each kid a date night with mom or dad.
- Check out the latest Christmas movie at the theatre.
- Is there somewhere (store, cafe, playground) in town that you’ve always been meaning to go? Pick a day and go!
- Say “Merry Christmas” to everyone you encounter while you are out and about.
How I Set Up Our Advent Calendar of Experiences
I covered a heavy piece of cardboard with white paper, and drew a December countdown calendar on it. We start our advent calendar on December 1, so the first box is labeled with a 24 to start the countdown. I added the kid’s names and some Christmas stickers for decoration. I write every activity on the back of a small post it note, and then stick one note, per day, on the calendar. I usually end up moving the post it notes around as our schedule (and the weather) changes.
Well, what do you think your family will want to do? Some of the above adventures, or split a tiny piece of chocolate four ways?
The holidays are the perfect time to do something new, help out others, and to have fun as a family! I know that December is our family’s favorite month of the year!
Merry Christmas, from our house, to yours!