24 Advent Ideas + A Holiday Playlist

Activity advents are a lovely way to create and instill family traditions, but they can be stressful — all that having to tick everything off and fill up the whole month with “stuff”. We’ve been counting down the days of December with an activity advent for four years now, and in the beginning it was about doing and being and having and experiencing everything . Needless to say, by the time Christmas morning finally came around, I was wrecked. It was too much, I admit. Now, I’ve found a balance with mixing up our favourite big things with simple, small, homey things, and we only do things the kids actually enjoy and that I enjoy doing with/for them. Enjoyment is key here! If you find baking cookies with kids stressful, don’t do it! Advent activities are all about making traditions that create togetherness and fun. They are about defining you as a family, whatever it is you find happiness and connection in.

Activity advents can be written up for each day, opened each morning and completed at some point in the day. Or they can be displayed all together, big bucket list style to tick off as you feel the urge. Or they can even be picked out as a lucky dip to draw each morning. Find a way to make it work in a fun and no-stress way for your family.

This year, I am stringing up 24 envelopes to be opened each day of December; inside a mix of activities — our very favourite traditions — plus a handful of small gifts like stickers, shopkins, chocolate and pencils. Our days tend to go super pear shaped, super fast (I’m looking at you, Georgie). Some afternoons I can barely throw spag bol on the stove let alone do a Christmas craft with the kids, and since Joel and I want to take it slow and easy this Christmas, we’re not putting pressure on ourselves to do elaborate things. We just want to be together at home, listening to music, playing games, watching Christmas movies.

Here are some of our favourite things to do at Christmastime:

24 Advent Activity Ideas

  • Unwrap ornament of the year (I buy the kids an ornament each which represents something they loved or were particularly into that year — garbage trucks, ballet, pencils for starting school, etc — a little keepsake to add to each year as they grow)
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Decorate gingerbread house
  • Make a popcorn and cranberry garland
  • Unwrap new Christmas jammies
  • Make salt dough ornaments
  • Write letter to Santa
  • Decorate a pavlova
  • Visit Santaland and have a photo with Santa
  • Christmas pedicure with new glittery nail polish
  • Make gingerbread cookies, deliver to neighbours
  • Watch the Portable North Pole message from Santa
  • Donate present to Kids In Care
  • North Pole Party
  • Hot chocolate and Christmas movie night
  • Make reindeer food
  • Make a dried orange garland
  • Unwrap a new Christmas story book
  • New Christmas stickers
  • Write and send out Christmas cards
  • Make a homemade gift for teachers, family or friends (beeswax candles, pillow sprays, homemade lemonade, etc)
  • Eat peppermint icecream
  • Collect pine cones
  • Overnight stay in a hotel in the city, see the Christmas lights, stay up late
    Feel free to pick and choose from the list to build on your own favourite traditions. But I encourage you nonetheless to write one of your own – they are a wonderful thing to do together as a family!

    And a little folky, Christmasy playlist if, like me, by mid-December you’ll be longing for something other than Michael Buble’ playing from your speakers. I had a rare quiet hour to myself the other day and put together one we now already play in the background of breakfasts and mornings at home. It smooths out moods and it makes it feel like Christmas. It makes me happy.

    Happy Friday!

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