Now that we’re parents, my husband and I have talked a lot about how we want to set up our Christmas traditions as a family. Sometimes the holiday season can feel so focused on gifts and we want to keep the focus on the actual meaning of Christmas and spending time together. We are still giving Christmas presents, but we’re trying to focus on the meaning of Christmas beyond just “things.” This philosophy we have developed for the holidays inspired me to create our family activity advent calendar.
I really believe it’s important to be intentional about spending time together as a family. The holiday season is such an awesome time to continue that focus. When you make a family activity advent calendar, the surprise activity for each day can be so exciting for kids!
Family Activity Advent Calendar
- free printable family activity cards for advent calendar (a link found in this post)
- small envelopes or bags
- small clothespins
- number cards 1-24
I considered a lot of possible set-ups for our family activity advent calendar, and eventually decided to make it simple. I really want the focus to be on the family activities, not on candy or gifts. In the end I went with these inexpensive little envelopes that perfectly fit the activity cards.
These envelopes probably wouldn’t fit candy, but that’s fine with me. If you did want to include a treat or small toy in each day, you could use small bags instead of envelopes, or use the printable family activity cards in another type of calendar setup altogether.
I taped a number card on each small envelope, then used the tiny clothespins to attach each envelope to the twine. In case you’re wondering where I got the number cards and other supplies, I actually found them at Michaels. They sold a small pack of envelopes in the paper crafting section, and I found an advent set that included the twine, mini clothespins, and the circle numbers.
Prepare the Cards
I printed the cards for the family activity advent calendar onto card stock to make them a little stronger. Then I cut the cards apart and looked through each card and at our schedule for December. My goal is to do fun activities and visit local festivals on days that work for us and our schedule, leaving smaller activities for weekdays.
My favorite thing about having these little activity cards is that it’s so easy to place them on the day that works best. On the day I want us to visit the local Christmas festival, I’ll place that card in the envelope. On one of our grocery shopping days, I’ll place the card to donate food for a local food drive. On our family movie night, I’m going to add the card for us to watch a Christmas movie in our PJs, plus the card for drinking hot cocoa (because those two things just seem to fit together, right?). 🙂
I looked through the cards and decided which activities my family would enjoy (there are 34 cards to choose from). Then I planned which day works best for each activity and slipped the card into that day of the Advent Calendar. I left a few cards out that didn’t work for us this year. Now my Advent Calendar is ready to hang up and use in the beginning of December.
I made extra activity cards (34 total, instead of 24) since I wanted to share them with you in a free printable. Hopefully you’ll find the perfect family activity for each day of advent. There are a wide range of holiday activities, including some that talk about the meaning of Christmas, and some that encourage us to help others (like donating a gift to a child in need).
I wrote the list of activities below for you to see. The point isn’t to do all of them, but to do the activities that work for your family.
We have a free printable resource library for our awesome newsletter subscribers, where you can grab a copy of the free printable cards for your Family Activity Advent Calendar. Just fill out the form below. I’ll send the access info right to your inbox, easy peasy!
Family Activities for Advent Calendar (found on free printable cards):
- Bake Christmas Cookies
- Visit the Christmas Festival
- Decorate the Christmas Tree
- Sing Christmas Carols
- Donate Food for a Food Drive
- Visit a Nativity Scene
- Make a Gingerbread House
- Watch a Christmas Movie Wearing PJs
- Decorate Wrapping Paper
- Donate a Gift for a Child in Need
- Set Up the Nativity Scene
- Talk about the Birth of Jesus
- Look at a Christmas Light Display
- Make Christmas Cards
- Visit Santa
- Decorate a Small Felt Tree
- Make Christmas Ornaments
- Make Star Shaped Treats and Talk About the Christmas Star
- Bake Bread
- Have an Indoor Snowball Fight (check out how to make pom pom snowballs and a DIY snowball fight kit)
- Drink Hot Cocoa
- Wrap Gifts
- Make Christmas Chocolate Pretzels
- Enjoy a Christmas Party with Friends and Family
- Make Christmas Popcorn
- Take Christmas Pictures (Silly & Real)
- Make Christmas Decorations
- Celebrate the Birthday of Jesus
- Make a Christmas Handprint Art Project
- Open 1 Present Early
- Visit a Candlelight Christmas Service
- Attend a Holiday Concert
- Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting Festival
- Go Christmas Shopping
Important note: Make sure you choose activities that are appropriate for your children’s ages, abilities, and interests. The point of these activities is to do them together, so they won’t be unsupervised. But it’s up to each parent to determine which activities are safe and appropriate for your kids.
I am so excited to share this with you, and to use this advent calendar with my family this year! If you’re looking for more ideas for family fun, you won’t want to miss the DIY Family Fun Jar.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of the free printable tags to make your own family activity advent calendar. Just enter your email address in the box below and I’ll send it right to your inbox.
Which activity is your favorite from the family activity advent calendar?