By Christa Protano
One of my favorite holiday memories is waking up as a kid to a small wrapped surprise inside my advent calendar on the days leading up to Christmas. So when I became a mom, I couldn’t wait to pass this tradition down to my own kids — I even splurged and purchased an adorable reindeer-themed calendar from Pottery Barn. That first season it was easy to come up with daily filler ideas, but as the years passed, gifting random trinkets became more of a chore than a treat. Here are five advent calendar ideas that take the guesswork out of making a memorable countdown to Christmas.
Start a Holiday Read-a-Thon
Storybook advent calendars help parents encourage their child’s love of reading all holiday season long. Whether they are into LEGO, Elmo & friends, or Paw Patrol, kids will receive a new mini storybook starting on December 1st. Each book also includes preschool-inspired activities for plenty of holiday fun.
Make Kindness Count
An advent calendar can also serve as a great opportunity to teach your child all about the spirit of giving. For each of December’s twenty-four days, write down a random act of kindness on a slip of paper. It can be as low stakes as “Tell a Joke to Make Someone Laugh,” or more involved like “Choose One Toy to Donate.” Click here for more ideas.
Bake It Till You Make It
My daughter always wants to help in the kitchen. So since we plan to do a lot of baking together this holiday season, a kitchen-inspired advent calendar is just what the little chef ordered. Think Christmas-themed cookie cutters, sprinkles, cupcake liners, mini spatulas…even throw in a special baked good or two. Don’t forget the marshmallows and hot chocolate.
Another theme we love is a craft or art supplies calendar. Children will receive a daily item to go with all those special craft projects that pop up this time of year. You can include wooden cut-outs, ribbons, and decorative items to make ornaments; Perler beads; holiday stickers; and other materials to get their creative juices flowing.
Let Your Child DIY
Need something to keep them occupied while you place ornaments on the tree just so? Get your child into the holiday spirit by letting them help make their very own advent calendar. This is the perfect craft for a rainy or cold November day. Check out these ideas from our friends at The Bump for simple countdowns you can create together.