24 Advent Calendar Ideas the Whole Family Will Love

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! We had a great time visiting family. Now, that Thanksgiving is over, I feel like it is time to go into full Christmas mode. I am so excited to decorate this week and I think we might even get our tree this weekend. Something else on my list for this week? Getting all my advent calendar supplies for Arabella! I feel like this is such a fun tradition that so many have taken up and I really wanted to begin incorporating it for Arabella this year. I do think it can be pretty easy to get carried away with spending on each day, so I scoured the internet for ideas that not only require minimal prep, but also won’t break the bank. I do think it is important, as with any holiday endeavor, to incorporate a budget with this so that you don’t go too overboard (things can add up), but I feel like the ideas I share today can hit at a variety of price points. In addition, each idea can be shifted for any age, which I think is what makes it SO fun. Just remember, not everyday has to be something crazy or expensive. Kids just want to spend time with you, and I want YOU to also enjoy this holiday season, through these concepts, hopefully you can do both.

  1. Books: I love this because for Arabella’s age, I can do picture books or Christmas themed books, but for older kids incorporating books is always fun. I am using this idea a few times with Arabella’s calendar
  2. Candy: Candy is ALWAYS a good and cheaper option to fill your advent calendar. I think holiday sweets are the best
  3. Pick out a new Christmas ornament: I saw this idea on a few lists I scoured and HOW fun. Go and take your kiddos to pick out a few Christmas ornaments and then when you pull them out year after year you will have so many memories to look back on
  4. Buy your Christmas tree: I think this is a great option that you can make even more fun with additional holiday traditions. For example, maybe after or before your buy your tree you always go out to lunch or dinner at a specific place. Or maybe you always pick up hot chocolate on your way. I have vivid memories of buying our Christmas tree growing up and I know our kiddos will too
  5. Tickets to a fun place: This year I am incorporating tickets for Arabella and I to a local museum in our area. It is something that is probably a little pricier and that we wouldn’t do ALL the time, so it will make for a very special outing for us. Another idea for this option is maybe tickets to the Polar Express. I know a lot of areas have one near them and I feel like that is something so fun for so many ages.
  6. Build a gingerbread house: I think this would fun for all ages and how great to get to look at it for the rest of the season. I haven’t ever really built one, but I think it would be such a fun activity.
  7. Light up Christmas necklaces: I love the idea of getting these and then everyone has to wear them all day. Maybe you go out to grab dinner or lunch or something fun as a family, or maybe the kids wear them to school and you have to wear them to work!
  8. Glow sticks: So you need the glow sticks, so that that night you can turn off the lights and blast Christmas music for an EPIC dance party. I bet you have some pretty sweet moves.
  9. Christmas pajamas: I saw this and thought it was perfect to do as number one. Start December 1st off with Christmas jammies so that everyone can wear them throughout the month of December. Just make sure they are all clean on December 24th!
  10. Movies: I love the idea of putting a movie in the advent calendar. It could be holiday themed, or maybe it’s just a movie the whole family has been wanting to see, but make it another memory to last by incorporating hot coco with TONS of marshmallows and sprinkles and of course lots of popcorn!
  11. Puzzle: This is another item that can create some fun memories. For the younger kids, you can get them a smaller puzzle, but for older kids put it out and make the rule that it has to be finished by Christmas! Bonus points if you make it a Christmas themed.
  12. Make snowflakes: I have big plans to make snowflakes for the house this year because I think they will be so pretty, so why not make it a little craft day and have everyone join in the fun. Then you can decide where in the house they should go!
  13. Decorate Christmas cookies: I think everyone not only loves decorating cookies, BUT more importantly eating them, so grab some icing and sprinkles and have at it. BONUS (another day could be BAKING the cookies)
  14. Board game: Clearly this probably won’t fit in the advent calendar, but board games or card games are always fun, and as a result, maybe you spend that evening putting in some frozen pizzas (or ordering in) and playing the game.
  15. Coloring books and crayons: This one may not be as of much interest to the older kids, which is why I also linked up some activity books for teens. There are a variety of coloring books that you can find, but like I mentioned, an activity book is also always a great option.
  16. A day to go Christmas shopping: Maybe you use this as your excuse to get a few people knocked off your list or perhaps you even enlist the whole family to help shop for a few difficult people. Even if you don’t buy a thing, I think it can be so fun to go out to the mall or stores and seeing all the things and all the people in the holiday spirit.
  17. See Santa: If possible choose a Santa where you can making an outing of it. Maybe Santa is at a Christmas market, so you can shop around after you see him. But, I think this is a fun memory even for the kiddos that don’t believe.
  18. Go see Christmas lights: Look up where the best lights are, pack some hot chocolate or pick up drive through and find which house is your favorite.
  19. An early Christmas present: I think about the memories this makes, and not knowing which day this one will show up, could be super fun for your kids year after year. Especially, if they know they will get one of their gifts early.
  20. Christmas slippers: Just like the pjs, this can be fun to get a new silly pair each season.
  21. Stocking stuffer: Think of a small item, you could put in. It could be anything really! For Arabella, I have little toy figurines, chapstick, stuffed animal, etc.
  22. Christmas sweaters: Everyone has to wear theirs and you definitely need to wear them somewhere fun haha. Maybe you could do something where one of the kiddos gets to pick them out.
  23. Your Pick: Maybe you want to do another outing, or maybe a little gift. But for this one, feel free to pick and choose whatever you feel like!
  24. Repeat: I am planning on repeating candy a few times and/or a few books for Arabella, so maybe you do one of those concepts here.

I hope you guys like these ideas and have so much fun this holiday season. Always feel free to adjust based off of what works for you and your family! If you need more “things” incorporate that. Or, if you want to spend less, then feel free to do more events. I tried to use ideas that anyone could do (ie maybe you don’t have snow where you are, but if you do a snowball fight day would be pretty epic to include). If you do use any ideas, please tag me! I would LOVE to see them.

I can’t wait to make Arabella’s. I know this will not only bring her so much joy, but our entire family and I love the memories we will make.

And as a last reminder, if an advent calendar is too much for you. DON’T do it. This season can feel overwhelming enough. Maybe instead you take 2-3 ideas and incorporate those instead. Pick something manageable because the goal is to never add more to your plate. You are doing amazing and it is going to be such a wonderful holiday season!




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