Advent Calendar with Activities, Crafts, Gifts, Baking, Books and MORE!

Advent Calendars can be a pain in your bum.  Every day you have to come up with SOMETHING new for the kids -- either a gift a day or some long thought-out activity.  It can be overwhelming!   I love the idea of peeking into a little bag every day, building excitement as we get closer and closer to celebrating Jesus' birth.  The stress though?  I could live without that!

So this year, I adjusted our advent calendar a little to reflect OUR life and now it fits in pretty seamlessly.  Here is how it works:

Our calendar is a WEEKLY calendar and as the Mommy and advent calendar chief, I get to CHOOSE which thing we do everyday!  Basically, I write down all of the activities, crafts, baking and such below on little tags and have the boys put them into random little burlap bags on the garland. Having them stock the bags adds SOME element of surprise, but I still have a choice over which little tag we do that day.  What that means is on a CRAZY day, I can choose to just make hot chocolate instead of whipping up a full fledged craft.  .....AND I can breathe again.  The advent calendar becomes a joy again instead of just another chore to complete each day.

See those little burlap bags?  There are six of them with little construction paper tags.

I used some leftover bulk burlap for a couple, but the remainder were made 
by cutting up a Jasmine rice bag from Costco.  (FREE BURLAP!)
Some I left inside out (above) while others I let the letters show (below).  
simply sew up three sides close to the edge and leave the seam exposed!

Once the little advent garland was hung, I added some evergreens, lights, and burlap framed holly to properly deck the hall.

My husband (!!!) picked up those burlap frames for a song on clearance at Walmart for me.  I KNOW.

Another addition to the calendar this year are Christmas Bible verses.  There are six -- one for each day other than Sunday and each day throughout the month we read and try to memorize that verse.  On Sundays, we go to church!  Here are the verses we are using this year for a 7,5 and 3 year old:
  1. Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
  2. Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.
  3. Luke 2:2 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
  4. Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy.
  5. Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased.
  6. 2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

A couple notes on prepping:  When I prepare for our Christmas activities, I begin by rounding up all of our "Stuff" in the Christmas boxes and breaking it down into little bits.  I always shop the clearances at Target after Christmas and snag any fun little activities I can find for 90% off.  Those work for 4-5 of the days for something quick and easy (like attaching window clings in their rooms).  I also pick up some super cheap foamies from Consumer Crafts to round out more involved projects and activities.  Some things naturally go hand in hand (Frosty the snowman book and the movie or making foam candy canes(below) then "planting" candy canes). Here are the activities, crafts, gifts, baking, books and decorating that we will do this year!


Santa's Fairy Jingle Bell Hunt
Choo-choo time!  Make a track around the house and under the tree!
(Check your local listings too -- there are often fun and free train displays!)
"Plant" Candy Canes Seeds - SO super fun and easy!
Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas Special
Wake the kids up for star gazing at midnight (if we get a warm night)
Write letters to "Father Christmas" and take them to the mailbox at Hershey Park
Snowballs in the Bathtub (if we get snow!  Dye a couple snowballs with green food coloring and toss in hot bath)


Let's light up the window with sticky window clings! (Target clearance)
Candy Cane Foamie Crafts (Consumer Crafts) along with Candy Cane Baking!
Gingerbread Foamie Crafts (Consumer Crafts) along with Gingerbread Baking!
Snowman Kit time!  These marshmallow snowmen are adorable and really easy!


Make hand stamped Gift Wrapping Paper (below)
OPEN one present from your stocking!
Make soaps for gifts like THIS ONE, THIS ONE or THIS ONE for the kids


Cut the heads off the animals Christmas Cookies!
Gingerbread Houses with Nana
Hot Chocolate time!!  (and some MOCHAS for Mommy and Daddy!)
Santa Pancakes in our PJs for dinner! (with a bag full of the face decorations -- idea from HERE)
Go OUT for Hot Chocolate!
Stay IN for hot chocolate (yes again and again...we can't get enough HC around here!) -- kids choose mini marshmallows or giant 


The 12 Days of Christmas Book and Mini-Tree Decorating 
Read the Night Before Christmas and Hang our Stockings!
Frosty the Snowman and play melting top hats! (Watch the Movie too!)


Let's go cut down our tree!  (...or buy it at WalMart :)
Time to put candles in the windows!
Rope Lights up in the BOY's room!
Twinkle lights for the GIRLY nursery!
Light up the TREE!
Load it up with Ornaments!

...and Christmas Eve will be here by the time we are done...

Coming soon! 
 Last year's advent calendar with FREE printable, DIY baking soda clay ornaments and some quick and easy presents!!


Julia Konya said…
I love your calendar in your hallway. Such a great idea and look!. I'm a DIYer but not really a crafter and crafting with my kids raises my blood pressure LOL. How do you do it all? Oh and I hate to bake too.
Laura said…
YOu're going to have a fabulous Christmas - I love that you do this for your family. and share your ideas :)