Fun Advent Calendars to Count Down to Christmas

Now that the countdown to Christmas is underway, I’m sharing festive ideas to mark every day of the Advent season. Whether you don’t have a crafty bone in your bod and prefer to buy, or you are a self-proclaimed DIYer, or heck, want to count down as an adult, here are Advent calendar ideas to make each day special up to Christmas. After all, the fun is in the daily discovery.

Now that the countdown to Christmas is under way, here are festive ideas to mark every day of the Advent season. Whether you prefer to buy or you are a self-proclaimed DIYer, here are Advent calendar ideas to make each day special up to Christmas. After all, the fun is in the daily discovery.

For the DIYers

While the holidays can be a busy time, you can make your own special Advent calendar as a family with these DIY options.

Bedtime Books

Don’t fret, you don’t need to run out and buy 25 new books. Grab a roll of wrapping paper (or even a newspaper), wrap up your bedtime stories like gifts and number each book from 1-25. As you unwrap one a day, take some time to enjoy the simplicity of a good story together as a family. You can mix Christmas books with regular bedtime stories and conclude the Advent calendar with The Night Before Christmas.

Random Acts of Kindness

We all know the phrase “better to give than to receive.” Take that mantra and make a list of 25 random acts of kindness (i.e. shovel a neighbor’s driveway, offer the mail carrier water or cocoa, give a teacher a handwritten thank you note). Each day, tackle an item and relish the notion that you are making someone’s day brighter. Talk about these kind acts as a family and figure out how to make them a regular part of everyday living.

Paper Chain Garland

How about an old-school craft? Pass around a few sheets of paper and have your little ones color and use up every crayon in the box. Cut up the drawings into long strips to make a paper chain that can be draped over windows, doorways or the mantle. This craft can be done individually per child or together as a family. As each paper chain link is removed and discarded, share the bright spot in your day — was it watching a favorite holiday movie? Reliving a memory from Christmas past?

Holiday To-Do List

Compile a list of favorite holiday pastimes as well as ones you’ve always wanted to try. Each day aim to focus on one activity that embodies the spirit of the season like watching holiday movies, trying a craft or singing some holiday songs. Take it one step further and create your own activity advent calendar with slips of paper tucked in mini envelopes for each day.

Count Your Blessings Jar

Keep a glass jar and small stack of notecards nearby. Each night, write out one blessing that you are grateful for — perhaps it’s a warm home or maybe the whimsical sound of jingle bells. On Christmas Eve open the jar and read each of the blessings aloud as a family. Most of all it will reinforce gratitude and good cheer among all.

Calendars to Buy

Let’s face it, sometimes we all don’t have time to make our own advent calendars. Luckily, we have plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few options for kids AND adults.


Go old school and pick up chocolate Advent calendars from Aldi or Trader Joe’s. (Seriously, how can you go wrong with 99-cent Advent calendars!?) If you prefer fancy chocolate, check out the Lindt Bear Advent calendar. The hard part will be trying to resist opening the other doors ahead of time.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Advent Calendar

Have toddlers? This fun Melissa & Doug Advent calendar is an easy way for little ones to count down. Just add magnetic ornaments to the wooden tree each day until finally the star.

Funko POP! Harry Potter Advent Calendar

Harry Potter fans will love to start their own little figurine collection. Each day reveals a Funko Pop vinyl figure, and the box reveals the Great Hall during the holidays.

LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Let the force be with you for 24 days as you build your way to Christmas with mini-figures, mini models, and more.

15 Days of Socks

Everyone needs socks, right? Can’t go wrong with 15 Days of Socks! Choose from fun character socks like Harry Potter, Marvel, Disney and so much more. And yes, parents, you can find adult versions as well.

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This story originally published on Nov. 16, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information.

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