Advent Calendar Activities | DIY Holidays

For a few years now, I’ve wanted to make an advent calendar for my kids.

There are so many gorgeous (and sometimes complex) ideas for advent calendars on Pinterest.

Just a touch overwhelming, if you ask me.

But when I saw this simple, unfinished wooden tree at A.C. Moore, I knew that I wanted to do something special with it.

I wasn’t sure exactly what the finished product would look like, but I knew it would be special because it was made with love.


advent calendarfull advent calendar

Advent Calendar Activities

After scouring the internet for inspiration, I decided on a color scheme and got to work painting and glitter-ifying the wood.

I find it so relaxing to paint.

You can let everything else go and just kind of get lost in the project.

Since it wasn’t exactly rocket science to paint the advent calendar, it was nice to let my mind wander back to memories of Christmas time when I was younger.


The kids already have a ton of stuff. 

The last thing I want to do is add more stuff to their rooms.

My plan is to try and make each day an activity we can do as a family, or just something to get them in the mood for the holidays.

Here is the list for things that I want to do with my kiddos over the month of December (in no particular order).


DIY Christmasholiday activities advent calendar

Advent Calendar “Gift” Ideas

  1. Trim the Tree: Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, it’s the perfect time to unpack all the ornaments and decorate the tree!
  2. Write a Christmas Wish List: make sure to include things that aren’t tangible, like
  3. Book Night: get everyone together and choose a holiday themed book to read.
  4. Drive Around Looking at Lights: have everyone get in their pjs, listen to Christmas carols and eating a special snack.
  5. Toy Drive donation: this is a great time for you to go through your kiddos toys and donate some of them to a charity that will distribute them to the less fortunate.
  6. Random Act of Kindness: this could be for a family member or stranger. If you need inspiration, check out 101 Random Acts of Kindness for ideas.
  7. Hang Mistletoe: and use it!
  8. Create a Hot Chocolate Bar: topping ideas are candy canes to stir with, fun colored marshmallows, whip cream, caramel squares, flavored syrups, etc.
  9. Going Caroling: whether you are a musical family or not, take this chance to get a group together and hit the streets singing some of your favorite holiday tunes!
  10. Christmas Craft: whether it’s something you assemble from found items or a kit you got from the store, there are lots of option. Check out this {LINK} for more ideas!
  11. Holiday Movie Night: My all time favorite holiday movie is White Christmas, but for something that the kiddos will love too, I think we will be snuggling down with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
  12. Create a Special Ornament: you can find inexpensive wooden or ceramic ornaments at craft stores, get some paint and brushes, then let the kids go crazy!
  13. Baking Holiday Goodies: I am not a baker, but I always make it a point to make and decorate cookies with my kiddos, and we’ll usually bake up a loaf or two of something delicious!
  14. Make a Christmas Card: and mail it to a family member who lives far away.
  15. Call Grandma and Grandpa: and sing a Christmas carol for them
  16. Fill A Box: for needy child or family, great programs like Operation Christmas Child do just that!
  17. Attend a Christmas Concert: I’m a big fan of the Messiah Sing Along at the Sandler Center, my mom and I participate every year!
  18. Family Game Night: break out a puzzle or board game and commit to spending time together while enjoying a fire
  19. Gingerbread House: decorate a gingerbread house or men, complete with icing and all the trimmings
  20. Make Reindeer Food: check out a fun recipe for it through this {LINK}
  21. Visit the Train Show: always a big hit with the kids, and we usually bring nana and papa along for extra memory making.
  22. Decorate with Paper Snowflakes: This can easily be done by hand or with a template.
  23. Teacher Gifts: this is a great time to have your child make their teacher something
  24. Read the story of the Baby Jesus’ birth: Luke 2:1-20


Score Your Own Advent Calendar!

advent calendarI’m going to be giving away this awesome advent calendar from Starbucks to one lucky winner today ($30 value!)! Here’s how you enter:

  • Leave a comment here on the blog with your favorite holiday tradition
  • On the Fresh Look Photography Facebook page, click to share this blog post on your wall

holiday traditionsThat’s it! Good luck to all who participate, the winner will be announced on the blog tomorrow morning 😀

2018-12-11T09:25:22+00:00December 2nd, 2013|Family, Personal|14 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Judith, I am a licensed and insured photographer working here in Virginia Beach, drinking Starbucks, and documenting love stories for my awesome clients. From getting engaged, to wedded bliss, to family life and beyond! I want to preserve your perfectly imperfect life, and capture these moments so you can treasure them for a lifetime.

So whatcha think?


  1. allie December 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM - Reply

    Awesome ideas! Love your blogs!

  2. Sarah Winslow December 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    Making a decorating a gingerbread house! 🙂 this has been a tradition in my fam for 30+ years!

  3. Kiah December 2, 2013 at 10:01 AM - Reply

    Love this! My favorite tradition is actually the advent calendar and wreath. I love the countdown and meaning of the advent wreath.

  4. Stephanie December 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM - Reply

    Great ideas! Your tree turned out so cute! My fave Christmas tradition was getting together with my family and cousins at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve for dinner, Mass, goodies and gift opening. 🙂

  5. Shaylyn Baker December 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM - Reply

    Going to my grandmother’s house where ALL of the family would gather each Christmas Eve was the best. My family would cook tamales and pozole (and my mom even made me my own pot of vegetarian pozole (hominy soup haha).

  6. Ryker December 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM - Reply

    Stringing Popcorn Together As Garland. And Homemade Hot Chocolate.

  7. Lisa Vega December 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM - Reply

    My favorite Christmas tradition has always been spending Christmas Eve with the whole family, eating good food and telling stories of “Remember when”. 🙂 And there is so many more. It is hard to pick. 😉

  8. Sol S. December 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM - Reply

    My favorite Christmas tradition is one we started last year actually which is getting the kids on their PJs after dinner, taking pictures in front of the tree and then go for a drive to see Christmas lights 🙂

  9. Melody December 2, 2013 at 4:35 PM - Reply

    Favorite traditions: (couldn’t pick just one) putting angel ornaments all over the tree, having a fire on Christmas day (even if it is warm outside!), having leftover turkey sandwiches, putting nuts and fruit and nuts in the stockings (can you tell I like nuts? I typed it twice!!!), being with family!!

  10. Hannah Kanter December 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM - Reply

    Love it!! My favorite tradition is trimming the tree as a family! Cannot wait to do so when we have kids!

  11. Lelani December 2, 2013 at 10:28 PM - Reply

    I really love piling the whole family into the car and driving around looking at Christmas lights!

  12. Jessica December 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM - Reply

    I’ve always loved going to nearby neighborhoods to see Christmas lights but now it ties with the tradition of reading the Christmas story as a family.

  13. Val Schnuit December 3, 2013 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    We used to go out in our Christmas pajamas, loaded up with hot cocoa, and drive around various neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights 🙂

  14. […] the year for me. I absolutely LOVE getting to make Christmas special for my kids (like doing these Advent Calendar activities), finding that perfect gift for someone special, or feeling the joy of the season. That’s why […]

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