Start your own family tradition with a DIY advent calendar
Instead of a chocolate advent calendar how about doing something fun together every day leading up to Christmas?
In 2015, we spent a lovely weekend in November creating our family advent calendar together. We put it up on 1st December and it’s gone up every year since becoming our family tradition every Christmas.
The family advent calendar is made up of 25 envelopes that we have decorated and inside are activities we’ve chosen that we would like to do in December together. Every morning one of the children takes turns in opening the envelope for that day to find out what activity we will be doing. “Put on Jingle Bells because it’s time to dance!!”
What you need to make your DIY advent calendar
All you need to make your advent calendar:
- Roll of brown paper
- Index cards
- Let your children decide what they would like to use to decorate! (glitter glue was the #1 choice once it was spotted)
Now the fun begins… 😉
How to make your family advent calendar
1. Number the envelopes together
Anyway, you want for each day to Christmas. Number your envelopes 1 to 25 (you need one envelope for each day in December including Christmas).
I wrote the numbers then number stickers were spotted. They then came in handy to identify what day they were for the well decorated ones 😉
If your children are keen let them write the numbers themselves.
2. Get decorating!!
Anyone in a close range has to get involved. Including visitors that day. Friends or family happen to pop by – get them to do an envelope.
Let it get messy and take the opportunity to let them use anything they want. The glitter glue got a workout. Check out our 1 December envelope, took a while to dry.
3. Pick activities and write them on the index cards
Come up with an activity to do each day. Let everyone choose something. Write them on the index cards.
Our Advent Activity List 2015:
- Dance to jingle bells
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Write the Christmas cards
- Make salt dough ornaments
- Choose a gift for a child in need (Christmas Tree Project)
- Visit Santa for a photo
- Take each child Christmas shopping for their sibling/parent/grandparent
- Pick out food to donate to your local food bank / toys etc charity
- Write a letter to Santa
- Play pooh sticks
- Make ice marbles
- Finger paint a tree
- Sing Christmas carols outside
- Watch a school nativity play
- Play in the snow / run around in the rain
- Go on a leaf hunt and see how many different colours and textures you can find
- Have a Christmas-themed picnic
- Put up the holiday cards you get in a creative way
- Dance, jump and play in a pile of leaves!
- Go for a Christmas walk (see the lights)
- Bake and decorate gingerbread men
- Go on a winter nature scavenger hunt
- Read a Christmas story together
- Bake a treat to leave out for Santa and practice peeling carrots to leave out for the reindeer
- Get present shopping!
Share your activities too, we’d love to see what you come up with.
Every year we go through all the activities and choose new ones if we think of any.
4. Create your advent calendar
Roll the brown paper out and get sticking. Stick the envelopes in numeric order with Christmas at the top. Decide what activities you will do each day (put an activity index card in each). Remember you can switch it up as you go.
Then hang up your masterpiece. We stuck ours up with pins and sticky tape on our living room door.
Our masterpiece “Hunter Family Advent Calendar 2015”
5. Countdown to Christmas with a daily family adventure
From 1 December let your children take turns opening the envelope each day and do the activity together. You can move cards around as you go. Snow day = build a snowman no matter what activity it’s supposed to be (the Christmas card writing can wait!! ;-).
Going away over Christmas? That’s ok! We just take special day envelopes for the days we are away. Last year we were in Budapest so we took envelopes (22-25) and the children still got to open an envelope every day. “Get on an airplane” “Explore a new city” “Go ice skating!”
To be honest I was worried my kids would be bored after decorating the first envelope. Maybe it was pure luck but they got right into it. Our whole table was covered with decorating materials and we all had fun making it together. We were all proud of our creations 🙂
Looking forward to putting our calendar up, choosing our activities, and opening each envelope from the 1st December. Maybe I am just or more excited than the children.