Family Advent Calendar Ideas

With December 1st, the countdown to Christmas begins! It’s such a busy time of year it can be hard to take the time to enjoy each day. A great way to do that is through an Advent Calendar. (And not just the kind where you open a different door each day like I did as a kid.) A few years ago I was introduced to a new way of doing an Advent Calendar and it has become a special tradition for our family. My aunt made me this beautiful one and sent it to me as a gift several years ago, which is what got me started.



I wanted to take it a step further than just filling each of the little pockets with candy. I looked online and got a bunch of fun ideas for things to do and wrote them down on red and green paper and put them in the pockets. Every morning beginning on December 1st, when the girls wake up they are excited to see what each day holds. (And you don’t need to have a handmade, store-bought or fancy one—you could make your own by simply creating a paper chain with each of the links containing a note for the day.)

I try to sit down in advance and plan out the month to figure out which days to do which things based on what we have planned and etc, but some of them get added or switched around the night before.

Here are some of the ideas that I use, which are a combination of things I found online and things I came up with based on our own family traditions (some are specific to the Green Bay area):

-Go Christmas Caroling
-Call Family or Friends and Sing Christmas Songs
-Build a Snowman
-Make Snow Angels
-Have a Snowball Fight (have one inside with cotton balls or wadded up paper if there’s no snow)
-Watch a Christmas Movie (insert specific title if desired)
-Read a Christmas Book to Mom, Dad or a Sibling
-Read Christmas Stories as a Family
-Drive Around and Look at Christmas Lights
-Go to Green Bay Botanical Gardens WPS Garden of Lights display
-Get a Christmas Tree
-Decorate the Christmas Tree
-Find Presents from St Nick (Dec 6)
-Drink Hot Chocolate
-Write Letters to Santa
-Visit Santa
-Make a Christmas Craft
-Make Snowflakes
-Make a Christmas Countdown Chain
-String Popcorn
-Help with Christmas Cards (i.e. apply address/return labels, stamps, seal)
-Wrap Gifts
-Go to Neville Museum to see Bruce the Spruce, Snow Babies & Children’s Only Shop
-Go to the National Railroad Museum for the Festival of Trees
-Paint Nails and/or Toenails like Candy Canes
-Draw a Picture of Baby Jesus in a Manger
-Make Christmas Cookies/Candy
-Take Cookies or Candy to a Neighbor
-Play a Game as a Family
-Make Gingerbread Houses
-Do a Good Deed for Someone
-Read the Christmas Story from the Bible (Some passages to read are: Luke 2:1-20, Luke 1: 26-38, Luke 2: 1-5, Matthew 1:18-24, Mark 1:1-8, Isaiah 9:1-6)
-Find the Nativity Pieces (hide nativity pieces around the house)
-Re-tell the Christmas Story with a Nativity Set
-Act out the Christmas Story as a Family
-Go to a Christmas Concert
-Go See Miracle on 34th Street at St Norbert College
-Go to The Festival of Lights at Lambeau Field Atrium
-Enjoy an Old-Fashioned Christmas at Heritage Hill
-Buy a Gift to Donate to Someone in Need
-Take Food to a Local Pantry
-Ring Bells for the Salvation Army
-Give Money to a Salvation Army Kettle
-Have a Special Family Dinner
-Invite a Friend or Neighbor over for Dinner
-Be a Helper to Mom or Dad in a Special Way
-Play Christmas Music and Dance
-Give Someone a Hug
-Go to a Church or School Christmas Program
-Go to a Christmas Eve Church Service

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