Advent Calendar Ideas {Christmas Activities for Kids}

I always have lots of ideas of what I would like to do with the kids during the Christmas season but unless things are planned they just don’t get done.  December is always such a crazy month and we also have Matthew’s birthday celebrations to fit in there.  So for some of you this may be a little too scheduled but for us it just makes sure that we make time for all of the Christmas fun!

I made up this Christmas Advent Calendar a couple of years ago and filled it with a daily Christmas activity.  The kids always look forward to seeing what they will be doing for the day.  Some things are tradition and are repeated each year but I always like to put a few new things in for us to do.   Some of the activities are based on local events around here but hopefully there will be lots of activities to inspire you!

Tons of fun Christmas advent activity ideas!
So here is our plan for this year…

December 1st – Write letters to Santa.
I always make a copy of the letters that the boys write to Santa – one to mail off and one to keep.  I love looking back at them over the years.  There are lots of wonderful free printable letters that you can find around the blogosphere.  This one from The Crafting Chicks is great as it has a younger child {with space to draw what they want} and an older child version as well {to work more on the printing!}.

Tons of fun Christmas activity ideas!
 We will also be starting our Book Advent Calendar {You can find a printable list HERE}

Christmas Book Advent - Wrap up your favorite Christmas books and have your child unwrap one book per night leading up to Christmas. Free printable list of children's Christmas books included.

December 2nd – Welcome Elf on the Shelf
Our little elf always comes the night of December 1st.  You can find our fun Elf on the Shelf welcome breakfast HERE.  I can’t wait to see what mischief this little guy gets into this year!

Fun Elf on the Shelf Welcome Breakfast or Christmas brunch.
December 3rd – Start the 12 Days of Giving Tree.
We started our 12 Days of Giving Tree last year with 12 simple tasks of giving to others.  Due to time constraints, we sometimes did a couple of items in one day rather than doing one activity per day but they all got completed by Christmas and were a good reminder to the kids about what Christmas is really about.

December 4th – Go and get a Christmas tree.
Ever since I was little, we have always had a real Christmas tree.  I know more and more people are moving to the artificial tree but I still love going out to find that “perfect” tree!

December 5th – Decorate the Christmas Tree.

We are making a few more handmade ornaments for the tree this year.  I like to make at least one with the kiddos for a little keepsake each year.

Christmas Wish List Ornament. Such a fun Christmas keepsake!
{You can find our Wish List Ornament HERE}

December 6th – Watch Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Some of our other favorite Christmas shows are: How the Grinch Stole Christmas {which we always watch this on Christmas Eve}, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Year Without Santa Clause {mostly because I LOVE the Heat Miser and Cold Miser songs!}, Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Frosty the Snowman {the original}.

December 7th – Learn some Christmas songs.
We are going to be learning a few Christmas songs for the boys to do a little concert on Christmas Eve.  Since we will be heading down to Seattle this weekend, there will be lots of time in the car to practice!

December 8th –  Meet Santa at Great Wolf Lodge
We are going to be spending a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge for Matthew’s birthday present.  It will apparently be all decorated for Christmas and Santa will be taking some time out of his busy schedule to check out all of the excitement.  Not sure if he will be heading down the water slides or not…

December 9th – Christmas Workshop
 I am sure that the vast majority of this day will be spent sliding down the slides at Great Wolf Lodge but I know that I will definitely need a few little water breaks!  Throughout the holidays there is a Santa’s workshop set up in the hotel with some kids Christmas crafting activities to do so it should be a fun!

December 10th – Christmas Shopping
I always try to take the boys out shopping for one {short!!} shopping trip so they can pick something out for our family members as well as one toy for the toy drive.  The emphasis is on SHORT here as the mall is my least favorite place to be with them!

December 11th – Get pictures taken with Santa.
We always visit the same mall each year to get pictures with Santa.  The waits can be long but each child gets to spend about 5 minutes with Santa and he always magically knows everything about how their year has gone {you gotta love technology!}

December 12th – Celebrate Matthew’s birthday with some Christmas cupcakes.
I always make some kind of Christmas cupcakes for Matthew to take up to school on his birthday.  Last year we made these reindeer cupcakes.

Tons of fun Christmas activity ideas for kids!
This is what we are thinking of making this year but Matthew has been known to change his mind quite frequently!

December 13th - Make a Christmas Craft
I think we are going to do a family of thumb print snowmen this year like this one from Eighteen 25.

A couple of years ago we made up these reindeer candy canes.

Candy Cane Reindeer - so simple!

December 14th – Watch a Christmas Movie

I really wish that there were more days in December to fit in all of my favorite Christmas movies.  Some of our favorites are The Santa Clause {1,2, and 3!}, A Christmas Story, Arthur’s Christmas, The Polar Express {we will be watching this one a little later!}, and Elf.  Of course, you can’t forget the hot cocoa!

December 15th -Receive a message from Santa
This is also the day of Matthew’s birthday party {and sleepover!} so it will be a busy one!  Each year the kids get a message from Santa courtesy of Portable North Pole. The basic package is free and is still personalized for your child.

December 16th – Make a gingerbread house.  
We always head down to the grocery store and the boys have a fabulous time picking out their candy.  I think this year I might also try making these cute little Rice Krispie Houses so they can have a little treat to eat too!

Fun kids' Christmas activity ideas!
December 17th – Make some Christmas goodies.
I am not a huge baker but I do enjoy Christmas baking!  I will be making a few things on my own but always like to get the boys involved in at least one baking project.  We will be keeping their project simple.  Made something like these…

December 18th -Sing Loud for All to Hear
The boys have their Christmas concert tonight!  Should be interesting…

December 19th – Make some Christmas cards.

December 20th – Wrap your gifts.
 The kids will definitely need a little help with this one, but I thought that it would be fun to come up with some creative wrapping ideas with them.  I will let you know what we come up with!
December 21st – Polar Express/Christmas Lights Drive
I am planning on doing something similar to this great idea from Confessions of a Home Schooler.  After watching the Polar Express, she surprised the kids with these little tickets, packed up some popcorn and took a ride around town to explore all of the lights.

Lots of fun Christmas kids' activity ideas!

December 22nd – Santa’s Workshop at Grouse Mountain.
One of our local ski mountains, hosts a great Christmas event with sleigh rides, outdoor ice skating, live reindeer, Santa’s workshop, and a viewing of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  We will then be spending the night in Vancouver to take in all of the Christmas lights and activities!

Lots of fun kids' Christmas activity ideas!

December 23rd –  Christmas Fun in Vancouver
On our second day in Vancouver we will be going to the Vancouver Christmas Market and Bright Lights in Stanley ParkThe Vancouver Christmas Market is an authentic German Market with crafts, Christmas gifts, yummy food, and kids activities.   I have never been to this before and can’t wait to go!

Christmas market.
The Christmas Train at Stanley Park has been one of the events that we try to make it out to each year {although I missed it last year beacuse I was SO sick!}.  Dave and I used to go even before we had kids.  The Vancouver firefighters set up over 2,000,000 lights with all of the proceeds going to the Vancouver Burn Fund.  The lights are amazing and it’s for a great cause.

Lots of fun kids' activity ideas!
December 24th – Christmas Breakfast
We always like to have a nice Christmas breakfast together before all of the craziness of Christmas begins! It’s nothing fancy, but is always something that I look forward to.  I think this year we will make some of these pancakes up from It’s Overflowing.

Lots of fun kids' Christmas activity ideas for planning a kids' activity advent calendar.
In the evening, we will be at my parents’ house for the night and the boys will put on their Christmas concert.  We then all watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas and the boys set up Dave’s computer so they can “catch” Santa in the act.

Catch Santa in the act and lots of other fun kids Christmas activities!
{this is what we caught last year!}

Hopefully that will give you some Christmas ideas to get started with!

Lots of fun Christmas activity ideas for kids!


  1. says

    I love Advent Calendars! Yours is 100% adorable. Thanks for the fun idea of putting notes and activities in the pockets. I sometimes do little toys and trinkets on those busy work and school days but this year I’m going to use some of your ideas as well. I love your blog!

  2. says

    Your Advent Calendar is so nicely done. I appreciate all of the details in this post.
    What a wonderful tradition to pass onto your children !
    Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from ‘The Crafty Quilter’.

  3. says

    I think I’m going to start the Book Advent tradition this year. My baby is only 9 months old and she will totally not understand, but I can’t wait and shell have fun ripping off the paper. Plus, my sister just sent me a load of Christmas books her kids don;t read anymore-yipee!

  4. says

    Hi Jenn, we’re definitely looking forward to having you at the Vancouver Christmas Market this year. As it’s going to be really busy around that time, we suggest visiting our website and using the VIP printout pass to keep wait times in line as short as possible. If you have any questions about the market please feel free to visit us at our Facebook page which is /VancouverChristmasMarket and send us a message, and we’ll be happy to respond. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday this season!


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