Growing up we always had a countdown to Christmas calendar. A few years ago we had some friends invite us over around Thanksgiving and they taught us their advent calendar tradition. We loved it so much that it is now our tradition and now we are sharing it with you! This is a fun family activity and can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like. The kids love it and are so excited to see it up every year. Plus, it helps them visually see when the big day is coming! I love being around them and feeling like I am sucked into their childhood excitement and being able to create some great family memories together.
What You Need:
- Candy or some sort of treat (enough for everyone participating to get something every night)
- Tinfoil or small bags w/ribbon
- Optional: Rope/strong string or straight pins
Step 1: Prep your bags. When we first started this we wrapped everything up in squares of tin foil (see Variations section below). Now that we have done this a few years, I have slowly created our own advent bags. They are about 6 inches wide by 5 inches deep. Last year I tied ribbon around them and hung them on a string up high. This year, I cut 2 slits in the bag’s top hem and thread yarn through them.
Step 2: Sit down as a group and write down 24 things (one for each day of December until the 25th) on slips of paper that you can do each day. You can decide as a group or be wild and crazy and divide up the number and leave your daily activity up to chance (i.e. if there are two of you, you each write 12). I like to keep track of certain ones and plan them for a specific date that I know they will work best. Like, if the daily activity is something that requires a long drive or would work best on Dad’s day off.
Here are some ideas:
- Make hot chocolate
- Build a snowman
- Go on a drive to look at Christmas lights
- Make goodies and deliver to friends
- Read a Christmas storybook
- Create Snow Angels
- Make a paper snowman with coconut
- Visit Santa
- Wrap Christmas presents
- Make a gingerbread house
- Sing Christmas carols
Step 3: Stuff your bags with the candy (enough for each person participating to have one each day) and the slip of paper you just wrote out.
Step 4: Label bags as necessary. This is optional if you want to leave it up to chance.
Step 5: Find a nice place to display them. This year we are displaying ours on our wall in the shape of a Christmas Tree as you enter our Family Room (Straight pins hardly leave a mark and can hold a lot!). Other options are in a bowl on the table or on a string/rope hanging up high or if you trust your kids, you can hang them on the Christmas tree.
Step 6: Have fun with your family and enjoy creating new memories!
Our first time making these with our friends, they invited a few couple overs with the directions to bring a bag of our favorite candy (bite size) per person and some tin foil. Once there we exchanged candy, wrote on the slips of paper, and wrapped them in tin foil. Sharing candy with everyone gave us plenty of variety for our advent “bags” and we were able to come up with some fun ideas for our daily activity, as well, from listening to the other couples’ ideas.
Make sure the tin foil squares are large enough to wrap a piece of candy for everyone and a slip of paper for each day. We then kept them in a bowl on the table. Our kids were too young to get into the bowl, so this technique worked will that year. 🙂