Growing up my grandma would make an advent calendar every year out of little boxes. She would take old Christmas cards and fold them up into a box with a lid and put little trinkets inside. The contents were typically little things she would find on her travels and collect throughout the year. The things could be as small as an “I Love You” note or occasionally a trip to the nail salon with her. It’s one of my favorite traditions.
Now that my son is three I knew it was the year for this kind of advent calendar but I’m not ready to make tiny little boxes. So I bought an advent calendar at Target from the dollar spot. I don’t really recommend it for this kind of advent calendar. It’s a little too small and I had to reinforce it but it will get the job done. Next year I think I’ll invest in a nicer one.
Making your own advent calendar can be so easy and fairly inexpensive. This doe not need to be elaborate or expensive. I think it should be just a little something to start the day. This is a list of everything that is going to be on our advent calendar. I’ve also included activities that we are already going to be doing for the holiday season and some Christmas things that we already have but have been put away all year. I think adding activities you are already going to do to the calendar makes them more special. You can plan those days around that activity and I think it’s exciting for kids to wake up to that surprise. It’s also cheaper because you’re buying fewer things.
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Advent Calendar Ideas
Hot Wheels-My son is obsessed so I got one pack of 5 cars and a pack of tracks. These will be split up over 5-6 days. This can be anything that you can split up little things over multiple days.
Holiday Slime-I made a batch of red and white glittery slime. You can make play dough or any other fun sensory activity that’s going to keep your kids busy. If you’re not looking for a ton of mess I highly recommend a bag of Kinetic Sand because it doesn’t stick to anything and easily vacuums up.
Candy-Simple things like Hershey’s kisses.
A Christmas Book-You can easily get a Christmas book you already have and add a couple of candies to it. We don’t have too many Christmas books yet so I grabbed a Christmas Pete the Cat book.
Christmas Stamps-We already had these so I will be pulling them out with some ink to enjoy.
Snacks– What kid doesn’t love snacks? I think this is a great alternative to candy every day all month long.
Hot Wheels Bath Bomb-I told you obsessed. I randomly found this one at Target but any sort of fun toiletry.
Coloring Pages-This one is so easy. You can find free holiday coloring pages all over the internet. This is a great activity on a cold day.
Stickers-My son is obsessed with stickers so I grabbed some super cheap ones off Amazon.
Coins/Dollar-This can depend on age but my son would be stoked with a penny.
New Game-The further we get into December the colder it’s going to be so I wanted to get a new game so we can play it all month long.
Other Ideas-hair accessories, art supplies, temporary tattoos, Christmas ornament, holiday puzzles, Christmas socks, glow sticks, card games, and Lego minifigs.
Movie Night/Day-Snuggle with some popcorn, hot cocoa, and treats and watch a holiday movie.
Snow Day-This can be whatever you want it to be. We don’t live where it snows so I plan to have a day where we drive to the snow.
Ice Skating-I really want to go ice skating this year but it could be any other holiday activity like an event that happens in your town every year. When we lived in California I loved going to a German Christmas market every year.
Light Viewing-This can be a festival of lights you pay for, a Christmas tree lighting in your town, or just an evening driving around with some hot cocoa looking at your neighborhood lights.
Christmas Cookies-This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can make everything from scratch or grab the ones with the holiday images on them that you just throw in the oven. Your child will not care. They got to make cookies and they will be ecstatic about that,
Gingerbread House-This will be my first year making a gingerbread house and I am excited but I have zero expectations that we will be successful. I got a kit at Walmart and the only thing I care about is that we have fun.
Other Ideas-Decorating the tree, holiday art activities, ornament making, special holiday breakfast, volunteering (something I plan to do when my son is a little older), Christmas book night.