DIY Advent Calendar: Over 45 ideas to engage your kids for the 25 days of Advent!

An advent calendar: It always sounds like a good idea. The chocolate ones are easy, until you have more than one mouth clamoring for each day’s candy.

The homemade ones with a daily Christmas activity look great, too — until you sit down to come up with 25 Christmas activities, let alone 25 activities suitable for younger kids.


45 Advent Activities for Families: a great way to intentionally celebrate the Christmas season with your family! LOVE all of these ideas!


Look no further! We’ve come up with 45 ideas to get you started.

Celebrate Advent with these fun ideas to engage your kids all season long!

Click on the image above for a free printable advent calendar from!


As you assign activities to particular dates, keep your family calendar handy. Does your family already have plans to attend a Christmas festival or happening one day? Help yourself out and make it the advent calendar item for that date.

Are there days your family will barely be home? Check out the “Quickies” section at the bottom. It’s fair game to reuse some activities more than once on your calendar.

  1. Decorate the Christmas tree.

  2. Make a Baby Jesus in the manger craft to go under your tree.

  3. For the destructive-size kids, make them a felt Christmas tree to decorate and un-decorate to their heart’s content.

  4. Write a letter to Santa.

  5. Visit Santa Claus (or one of his lookalike helpers) at a mall or local venue.

  6. Use dolls, stuffed animals, Little People, etc. to act out the nativity story.

  7. Make and decorate Christmas cookies.

  8. Write, decorate, address and send Christmas cards.

  9. Write a thank you note to your local police, firefighters, librarians, etc.

  10. Make a Christmas tree ornament for your own tree or for a gift.

  11. Gather up your spare change, cash it in at the bank if necessary, and donate it to a charity.

  12. Ring the bell for the Salvation Army or another cause.

  13. Take supplies to the local animal shelter.

  14. Shop for an item for Toys for Tots or a similar organization.

  15. Decorate gingerbread or graham cracker houses.

  16. Mix up some gingerbread play dough to use all season long.

  17. Go sledding.

  18. Go ice skating.

  19. Make wrapping paper or tags for gifts.

  20. Wrap gifts.

  21. Make paper snowflake.

  22. Eat dinner by candlelight.

  23. Have a picnic by the Christmas tree.

  24. Read the nativity story.

  25. Pick out a new family Christmas tree ornament.

  26. Attend a community Christmas celebration.

  27. Drive around and see the Christmas lights. Optional: wear jammies and bring cocoa; do this neat scavenger hunt.

  28. Watch a Christmas movie. A seasonal bucket list might include classics like: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Home Alone, Muppet Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, and The Santa Clause.

  29. Learn about and observe St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6.

  30. Learn about Hanukkah and make this menorah. Hanukkah 2015 begins the evening of Dec. 6 and ends Dec. 14.

  31. Learn about and observe Santa Lucia Day on Dec. 13.

  32. Play a Christmas game together, maybe from this great collection.

  33. Make a gingerbread house to play in.

  34. Decorate an outside tree with one of these birdseed ornaments.

  35. Make some Santa pancakes.

  36. Play Pin the Heart on the Grinch

Celebrate Advent with these fun ideas to engage your kids all season long!


  1. Read a Christmas book.

  2. Watch a vintage Christmas cartoon, like one of these on YouTube. Or, check out PBS Kids online for holiday episodes of your kids’ favorite PBS shows.

  3. Color a Christmas picture. This site has lots of links, as does this one.

  4. Learn about Christmas in another country

  5. For a quick activity, learn and sing a Christmas carol at home. This site has lyrics and a bonus coloring sheet.

  6. Look through old family Christmas photos.

  7. Use these printables to have your own family Christmas photo booth.

  8. Do a few Christmas mad libs.

  9. Play a quick game of “What’s in the stocking?”

Do you have any ideas to add? Or unique ways that you celebrate Advent? Please share below!



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