It’s not a big secret: I absolutely LOVE the month of December. Not only because it’s my birthday month (New Years Eve baby!), but also because the holidays are such a magical time of year. I love getting to make it special for our three little kiddos, but for a while was struggling with the materialism aspect of the season. So a few years ago, I created something different to help put the focus back on the true meaning of Christmas, and came  up with a list of advent calendar activities for my kiddos.


advent calendar activities

Advent Calendar Activities for Kids

The idea behind this was that I didn’t just want to give them a piece of chocolate each day (although there is nothing wrong with that!), I wanted to give them an activity to keep them busy, but also show them that there are other people in this world… that the Christmas season is not just about Santa and presents!

I thought about things I wanted to do with my kids, like have a Christmas movie night with popcorn or create a hot chocolate bar, then balanced it with acts of service, like making Christmas cards and delivering them to nursing home residents. The ideas I have listed here are geared towards my kids age group (two 11 year old boys and a 7 year old girl), but they can be adjusted based on your kids ages and preferences.

Advent Calendar Activities

  • Write a Letter to Santa – make it awesome with special paper/pens/stickers, etc
  • Create a Christmas Garland – I bought a little kit this year at Michaels (easy button!), but you could just as easily do this by cutting construction paper up and gluing it together
  • Make Snow – this was a new one for us this year, I found little test tubes of snow and the kids LOVED it!
  • Make Breakfast for Dinner – I got a whole big basket of food and the kids all helped prepare everything
  • Visit the Train Show – every year the Tidewater Big Train Operators put on an awesome (FREE) train show and my kids LOVE doing this with nana and papa every year!
  • Write a List of Things You’re Thankful For – we all do it, even mommy!
  • Make Christmas cards for nursing home residents – this always brings SO MUCH joy!
  • Get in PJ’s and Drive Around Looking at Lights – add in hot cocoa if you’re feeling daring.
  • Call Family Members and Sing Christmas Carols – so easy to do and everyone always loves it.
  • Make Christmas Cookies – I always team up with my sister Stephanie and we make it a family event.
  • Fill a Box for Needy Children – my kids were so thoughtful when it came to picking out what to give kids who have less than them.
  • Read a Christmas book together – this always inevitable ends up with me sitting on the couch and the kids all piled around me.
  • Make a Gift for Your Teacher (not gonna lie, I usually include a little bit of liquid courage!)
  • Create a Hot Chocolate Bar – complete with all the toppings: whip cream, candy cane spoons, marshmallows, chocolate chips… the works!
  • Christmas Movie Night and Popcorn – Netflix has LOTS of great options!
  • Make a Special Ornament – each year we do something different: paint a wooden ornament, paper mâche ornament, etc.
  • Family Board Game Night – Monopoly is usually king in our house
  • Decorate Gingerbread Men – give out “awards” for best/most creative/most colorful/most items used, etc.
  • Make Reindeer Food – it just makes the magic of Christmas that much more special
  • Random Acts of Kindness – this can be for a sibling, parent, teacher, whomever
  • Have a Christmas Music Dance Party – each of the kids choose a different song to jam out to.
  • Christmas Caroling in the neighborhood (or just on our street, depending on how mommy is feeling!)
  • Lay Under the Tree and Talk about Favorite Christmas Memories
  • Read the Christmas Story (Luke 2: 1-20) and Act it Out with Manger Scene Characters


advent calendar activities


Other Advent Calendar Activities to Try

  • Trim the tree (we usually do it the beginning of December)
  • Angel Tree Gift – have each person pick out a gift to buy and give to charity
  • Hang Mistletoe, and use it!
  • Decorate with Paper Snowflakes
  • Attend a Christmas Concert (we ALWAYS do the Handel’s Messiah Sing Along!)


So there you have it, our families advent calendar activities and how we try and make the season special. Like I said before, the best part of the holidays is getting to spend time with those you love, and these activities help us do just that.

What Christmas Traditions Does YOUR Family Have?

I’d love for you to leave a comment below and let us know!


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