An advent calendar that’s full of memories, not sugar

That “chocolate” that comes in store-bought advent calendars is just awful.

I love the tradition… but not the taste. So several years ago, I bought my own reusable advent calendar with wooden compartments for each day in December so that I could put my own chocolate treats in it. (Yay for good chocolate!) Unfortunately, after we had Gaelan I quickly realized that the compartments were just too small for more than two people’s worth of chocolate.

This is a serious issue. I don’t share chocolate.

I started thinking about what I could reasonably fit in such a tiny compartment that could still be enjoyed by the whole family… and that’s when I came up with our family activity advent.

The family activity advent may not be full of chocolates (now Mommy’s stash is hidden elsewhere) but it certainly does have plenty of treats. I printed out a calendar for December and wrote a special holiday activity for the day on each one. (I used a calendar to plan them out so that the more involved activities would be on days when we would actually have time to do them – randomly doesn’t really work for this unless they are REALLY simple.) Then I put each one on a separate slip of paper, and tucked them into the truck.

(Hint: Number the slips of paper so you can get them back in the right order easily if you drop them. Or if your toddler decides to climb up on the table and pull them all out. Not that I would know.)

What exactly your activities are will vary by personal tastes and your family traditions, but here are some suggestions:

  • Take out the Christmas mugs and pick your favourite! As of today, only Christmas mugs are allowed for beverages until Christmas.
  • Make snowflakes for the windows.
  • Write letters to Santa.
  • Write Christmas cards.
  • Make a Christmas pizza.
  • It’s St. Nicholas Day! Check your shoes for candy. (Note: Dec 6.)
  • Get the Christmas tree!
  • Christmas puzzle day.
  • Pick out a new Christmas cookie recipe.
  • Christmas bubble bath.
  • Make special hot chocolate.
  • Plan a secret act of kindness.
  • Make an ornament out of your kiddo’s hand or footprint.
  • Make candy cane popcorn.
  • Find 5 things in the house to give to charity.
  • Pick out Christmas outfits.
  • As of today, all bedtime stories must be Christmas carols.
  • Put on your jammies and go for a drive to look at Christmas lights.
  • Make Christmas pancakes.
  • Put out a Christmas treat for the birds.
  • Roast marshmallows at the fireplace.
  • Family Pajama Party, Game Night & Picnic under the tree!
  • Read “T’was The Night Before Christmas” (Dec 24)

You can also pick out some special outings for certain days – like going to the Magic of Lights. Take a look at our Local Holiday Activity List and Family Event Calendar for some ideas!

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