An advent calendar is a fun way for kids to count down the days until Christmas. It starts on December 1 and ends on December 25 - although if you make your own, it can end on New Year's Day. The traditional calendar has or is 25 things - a card with flaps that open, a tree for tiny ornaments, candles to light each day, envelopes, or a large box with mini drawers. Each day, the child may have a note to read, candy to eat, or perhaps a small toy to play with.
There are many cool advent calendars on the market to buy (check etsy.com or The Company Store) or you can make your own. Some of my favorite do-it-yourselfers include: the origami cups from Kids Craft Weekly, a box of origami envelopes form Kiddley, calendar pockets from All Sorts, or a magnetic advent calendar from My Minutia.
Our advent calendar is a large wooden box with 25 doors that open. Each compartment is big enough to hold a toy or piece of candy, but since there are so many sugary treats this time of year, I like to fill the compartments with notes of things to do or fun activities. I check our calendar to see when we are doing special events like seeing a show or attending a holiday party so I can include these on the right day. I also shuffle notes around the night before depending on our plans or the weather. For example, if there's snow in the forecast, I may write "Make a Snowman Today" or "Go Sledding."
Here is a list of ideas:
If you want a copy for yourself, download here. There are blanks included for you to add your own personal ideas.
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Make Christmas Ornaments
Cut Out Paper Snowflakes
Make a Gingerbread House
Write a Letter to Santa
Make Teacher Gifts
Make Grandparent Gifts
Have a Picnic for Dinner
Go Outside after Dinner and Look at Christmas Lights
Make a Snowman
Eat Ice Cream Sundaes
Wrap a Toy and Donate it to Charity
See a Holiday Show
Bake and Decorate Christmas Cookies
Watch a Christmas Movie and Eat Popcorn
Make Popcorn and Cranberry Garland
Camp Out Next to the Christmas Tree
Have Hot Chocolate and Read Holiday Stories
Our Personal Additions
Celebrate Aunt Beth's Birthday
First Night of Hanukkah
Last Night of Hanukkah
Go to the RISD Museum Holiday Party
See the Nutcracker Show
See JUMP! Polar Express Show