Here are some of our favourite 25 Family Advent Ideas! Tradition has long been of great worth to me. I did not grow up with a vast amount of family ‘traditions’ per se, but I certainly enjoyed the abundance of simple habits that other families created around the holidays. From that passionate pursuit, I delved into the vast world of Advent calendars. Yet, I could not find something I wanted to continue year after year (besides the traditional readings that we love). Thus, last year, we began a new tradition all our own. Here are some ways to get creative as a family and make your own traditions for advent too!
Easy Advent Ideas for the Whole Family!
Here are some ideas we have done, and ones we are adding or changing this year. Most require little or no financial investment, though some could require a purchase of something bigger like a family oriented game. But as always, these are simply suggestions, so feel free to swap them out with some of your own traditions too!
The first year we did this, I happened to visit a city farther from our tiny homestead. It gave opportunity for purchasing some unique Advent Family activities to add to our tradition. But this year we are mixing up some of our ideas again. The beauty of a “Family Activity” advent is that it gives complete freedom to add or replace activities. Some years ‘younger activities’ will be appropriate, while in a decade from now we can get into older board games or activities beyond ‘googley-eyed’ Christmas crafts.
Reading Your Way to Christmas
Traditionally, an “Advent” is a daily “pointing ahead” to the birth of Christ our Saviour. There are so many ancient ways of pursuing this but some uncomplicated family readings are available as guides. I love these ones particularly!
- God With Us : A Family Advent Celebration by Catherine Pawlak
- The 25 Days of Christmas : A Family Devotional to Help you Celebrate Jesus by James Merritt
You can also follow the world renowned Icelandic tradition of reading much loved books you are gifted for your advent each night of December and devouring yummy chocolates!
25 IDEAS for a Magical Christmas Advent Box
This is what we have been doing the last couple years. Yv and I decided that with so many kiddos we wanted something more than a “tiny door” that open each day (though the idea is beautiful!). Instead, we purchased a simple cardboard gift box (with a magnetic lid) to reuse until we make something more lasting.
Inside we fill it with a family activity or special treat for each evening of December, until Christmas. Our children actually cried when it had to be put away until next year! We had so much fun with it, but as with every tradition, they are special because they do not happen every day. It gives us something to treasure the thought of all the year through!
Here Are some Advent Box Ideas for Each day!
#1. Christmas Tree!
This is our Christmas tree decorating time! Inside the box I put a miniature tree or a tree branch with ornaments or even a drawing of a Christmas tree. Even if the kids know what to expect that day, they still love the joy of it! I always throw in some candy canes too!
#2. Traditional Gift.
We chose to do Oranges/clementines this year. This is a traditional gift and gives way to the story of Christ and references His gift of “gold” or the traditional St. Nicolas story of the “gold coins” he placed in stockings.
#3. Funky Christmas Socks!
We LOVE funky Christmas socks! If you already have too many socks, try making or purchasing some wild slippers for the whole gang!
#4. Christmas Mugs for Everyone (with a batch of Hot Cocoa and Marshmallows to share!).
I don’t know if something thrills our kiddos more than when I announce we are having hot chocolate in their favourite Christmas mug. Getting a special hot cocoa mug for each of your kiddos during advent is SUCH a sweet memory for them (no pun intended!).
#5. A Christmas Board Game Night!
With so many littles at home we love “A Charlie Brown Christmas” board game.
#6. Family Christmas movie marathon!
Cuddle up with some cozy blankets and popcorn ( I love adding sea salt and chocolate chips to ours!) and enjoy a night in with some classic Christmas laughs!
#7. Make a Christmas Wreath as a Family.
Gather around the table with some funky Christmas decor and create a beautiful wreath as a family. It can be artificial or “real” but the joy of creating something welcoming for the door as a family is truly special.
#8. Christmas Cookie Fiesta!
Be sure to have lots of candies, decorations, cookie sheets, rolling pins and a pipe hot oven on hand! Make several batches of your favourite cookie recipes and have a blast making them as fancy or silly as you can.
Here are some yummy oatmeal cookies you can use as a base and add in some Christmas candies!
#9. Spread the Cheer!
Take time one evening to make Christmas cards as a family, with handwritten notes of love and encouragement, and drop them off at a senior home. So many seniors especially this time of year, are their loneliest. Love on someone who may be feeling a little forgotten this season!
#10. Read Aloud
Cozy up on the couch together for at least ONE Advent night and read a stack of Christmas stories until the littlest family member falls asleep. Don’t forget some candy canes to enjoy while everyone listens!
#11. Paint a Memory
Buy a Canvas and some paint. Have everyone in the family contribute to the painting of their “Favourite Christmas Memory”.
#12. Create lasting “Handprint” Ornaments.
This is such a sweet memory during Advent to look back on over the years. Simply mix 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and cold water until the consistency feels like play dough. Make the handprint in the dough, cut off excess dough around ‘handprint’ and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Allow to cool and paint if you so desire.
#13. Secret Santa Surprise
As a family, make or buy a Christmas gift for someone who needs a little extra cheer this year! Leave it outside their home anonymously (with zero contact social distancing intact!).
Here are some Secret Santa Gift Ideas that we love:
- $25 Amazon Gift Card For some who need a little cheer, and if you are not sure what to get them, let them choose it themselves!
- Most people LOVE coffee, especially this time of year. Here is a ready-made Starbucks Gift box complete with a card!
#14. Sleepover Under the tree
Be a kid again. Set up the sleeping bags, giggle until late, tell jokes and stories from when you were a kid, as the whole fam sleeps under the Christmas tree. Add some extra twinkle lights for sparkly fun!
#15. Make the Biggest Snowman EVER.
The whole family should participate in creating the biggest snowman you can (with whatever snow you have). Take a picture with the family in front of it each year for a memorable collection. If you do not have snow in your region, try making the biggest MARSHMALLOW snowman on your dining table!
#16. Have a “Gadget-Free” Day (or at least evening!).
Turn off the phones, shut down social media and texting…breathe deeply, and gaze at the lights on the Christmas tree. Re-connect as a family. Ask deeper questions to your kids and let let ask you deep questions too. Make memories in simply enjoying each other’s presence.
#17. Have a Christmas Pizza Contest
Make an extra big batch of homemade pizza dough. Then divide it evenly and have everyone shape their dough into a Christmas themed shape/design. Everyone should vote (not for themselves!), and the winner gets a Prize! (Free from helping with the dishes for a week? A $10 gift card? Have fun creating the prize as a family!)
#18. Create a Christmas Time Capsule
Grab a box or even a bag. Everyone should add something to it if you will seal it for the next decade or two. Or you could add one thing each Christmas and every year you get the joy of looking through all the memories! You could add a newspaper article of your town’s annual Christmas parade, or a new Christmas ornament each year with the year marked on it. You could even add your family Christmas card or homemade drawings of Christmas from your children. Grandkids will love to see those someday!
#19. Christmas Candy Hunt
Gather a variety of Christmas candies (oodles of them) and have one adult hide them all over the house. Hand out little miniature stockings to collect the candies in!
#20. Christmas Family Pajamas!
Who doesn’t love a new soft pair of cozy pj’s? Especially around the holidays! You can choose matching ones, or if that is too tacky for you, just get everyone a pair they will love (or even just some funky PJ bottoms!)
#21. Winter Woodland Walk
There is something magical about the woods around Christmas! If you do not live near the woods but have some within a short driving distance (or even a park) I encourage you to take time as a family in the crisp air one evening!
#22. Go Sledding as a Family!
This has to be one of the BEST memory making activities around. I truly wish you snow for Christmas, but in case you never get any, maybe try some edible homemade “Snow cones” instead!
#23. Chat with Someone Needing Cheer
Video chat has never been easier these days. Pick up the phone or schedule a video chat “date” with someone whose holiday feels more ‘strained’ than joyful this year. We know, that Christmas is not always happy for everyone, especially if they have recently lost a loved one. Spread some love and concern for others by reconnecting with someone who needs compassion.
#24. Open ONE Gift
We always allow our kids to open ONE gift on Christmas Eve night. it is a nod to a Christmas tradition from my childhood, but more so to my husband’s French Quebec roots of celebrating True Christmas on the 24th rather than the 25th. Our kids LOVE the burst of excitement in opening a gift before Christmas morning.
#25. Christmas Morning “Treat”.
I feel like this is one of the BEST parts of Christmas (and certainly one of my favourites). Christmas Morning Cinnamon Buns (stay tuned for a recipe!) are something our family looks forward to all the year through!
It does not have to be cinnamon buns for you, or even something homemade if you HATE baking. But create a tradition with a special treat at Christmas time that is unforgettable. It brightens the day even further while you tear through presents, make memories as a family, or read the Nativity as we do and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.