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100 Advent Calendar Activities and Ideas {free printables!}

Use this free printable set of Advent Calendar ideas & activities to inspire time together for a Christmas Countdown with your kid

One of my favorite memories from childhood was our Advent Activities!  It was a Christmas tradition to hang our Advent Calendar in the kitchen — a simple felt calendar with 24 small red pockets and some jingle bells on the top.

Advent calendar ideas and fillers for toddlers, kids and family fun!100+ Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids {free printable!}

Each day, my brother, sister or myself placed a candy cane in one of the pockets — boy, did we fight over that honor 🙂

It’s a good thing that 24 is easily divided by 3 so my Mom could quickly swoop in on any disagreement (along with a fast reminder that “Santa’s watching”).

And now we have a similar calendar in our house — 24 small pockets with a stocking of candy canes hanging nearby (and even a few arguments about whose turn it is will still occur 🙂

In addition to the candy canes, we also like to include an Advent calendar fillers with a fun Christmas activity for each day.  Some of the activities are pre-planned such as getting the tree or attending a holiday show.  Others are surprise activities for our kids (like impromptu family movie nights or a holiday scavenger hunt we do together).

Every year, our activities change and we have amassed quite a list of festive holiday ideas so I thought I would share them with you.  All of our Advent activities are family-focused because life goes by too quickly and the holidays are already so hectic — these tiny slips are a wonderful way to make sure we connect a little each day.

And to make things super easy (because like I said, the holidays are busy enough) we have 2 options for you!

  • I’m including FREE printable slips for 50 of the BEST Advent activities — you can get yours below!

Advent Calendar Ideas for families

Advent Calendar Ideas

If you don’t have an Advent Calendar, here are a few that we really like!

Each of these countdown calendars has small pockets that can hold activity slips (go to our full list of Advent Activity Ideas page to find more!).

Advent calendars double as a wonderful holiday decoration and will be one of the first things your kids will want to pull out each year.  We’re including affiliate links so you can learn more about the items on our list!

I also love these options:

Or browse this huge assortment of Advent Calendars to find one that fits your family!!

Another option is to use our FREE printable Advent Calendar Numbers — just tape the advent activity slips to the back of them!

Advent Calendar Activity Ideas

It’s great to have a large list for a Christmas countdown that you can pick and choose from every year — it always helps to have a few back-up activities in case the weather or our schedules don’t cooperate with one of our original items.

We’re including special links to help you with planning some activities, free printable slips for your countdown and affiliate links for items we’ve used during our holidays.  If your short on time and need more, you can get a full printable list of ALL the ideas + Holiday planning page and Christmas activities in the Advent Pack too!

Advent Activity Ideas to use as calendar fillers for a Christmas countdown!

Advent Activities for Families

So many Christmas traditions surround holiday outings at this time of the year.  Browse this list of family-focused things to do and be inspired to get out and enjoy the season!

  • Attend a holiday-themed story time your local library or bookstore
  • Visit Santa
  • Go cut/choose a Christmas Tree
  • Attend a special Advent church service or event
  • Go pick out a special ornament for the tree
  • Visit a historic site to explore Christmas Past
  • Take a sleigh ride
  • Attend your city’s tree lighting
  • Go out for cocoa together (with marshmallows on top!)
  • Get into your holiday pj’s & drive around to see the light displays
  • See a local Christmas show or play

Printable Advent Calendar activities and small printable fillers

Christmas Activity Ideas for Your Advent Countdown

If you’d like to avoid the crowds and enjoy some time together, these are great Advent activities to do at home!

  • Help with the holiday cards (put on stamps, draw pictures, sign your name)

Christmas-opoly for Monopoly fans

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Operation (put the Bumble together 😉

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Journey

or a rousing game of Santa Cookie Elf Candy Snowman

and this *NEW* one this year — The Santa Claus Game!

  • Sing Christmas carols & have the kids play along with some fun instruments
  • Decorate your room for Christmas
  • Look through old photos & family movies (and share memories of holidays past!)
  • Put up your Nativity together
  • Have story time under the tree with the lights
  • Help decorate the front porch or put up the lights
  • Trim the Tree
  • Do a puzzle together (a holiday puzzle is a bonus!)

100+ Advent Calendar Ideas for your Christmas Countdown

Nature and Outdoor Activities

  • Enjoy an afternoon ice skating
  • Go sledding together

Ideas for Advent Activities that Help Others

Blessing others during the holidays is always high on our list — find inspiration with these easy volunteer and service activities!

  • Deliver cookies to someone special or a community helper
  • Donate food items to your local pantry
  • Collect old towels & blankets to bring to the animal shelter
  • Do some Random Acts of Kindness
  • Choose outgrown toys and donate to a local charity
  • Donate winter coats, hats or mittens to a shelter
  • Sign up to ring bells for the Salvation Army as a family
  • Adopt an angel from the Angel Tree
  • Sing carols at a local nursing home

Looking for more ideas?  Browse the FREE printable list of 30 Service Ideas & Gracious Giving tracking sheet to bring the spirit of the holidays to others this year!

Family-friendly Christmas Movies

We love cuddling up with a good holiday film together.  Our entire movie list can be found in the Advent Activity printable pack which will make planning your Christmas countdown SO easy!

Try a few of these traditional holiday movies and newer favorites:

Miracle on 34th Street

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Home Alone: The Complete Collection

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Polar Express

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus and Nestor The Christmas Donkey (Double Feature)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Town That Santa Forgot

The Year Without a Santa Claus 

Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas(one of our family’s favorites!)

The Santa Clause 

And if you like classic vintage Christmas movies, here’s a few of my FAVES!

White Christmas 

March of the Wooden Soldiers (one of my favorites as a kid!)

A Christmas Carol

The Bishop’s Wife

Christmas Activity Ideas for the Kitchen

The holidays are always the perfect time to invite your kids into the kitchen more!

  • Bake cookies together
  • Make hot cocoa and add your favorite toppings
  • ‘Bake’ a holiday mix that will make the house smell yummy
  • Make snowman pancakes or Rudolph pancakes

Easy Christmas Crafts for Advent

  • Cut out paper snowflakes and hang them on your windows
  • Make your own ornaments
  • Draw a picture for out-of-town relatives
  • Make a pomander
  • Put together some Reindeer Food
  • Make a holiday card for your teacher or favorite neighbor

Free Printable Advent Calendar Activities

We’ve included 50 of the BEST ideas for Christmas activities to include in your Advent Calendar!!

Grab a copy of these free printable fillers below — choose your favorites, tuck them in the small pockets and watch your kids’ eyes light up as they discover what fun ideas await them each day!

And be sure to pop over and see the FREE printable Christmas Countdown Numbers that you can use for December too!

I hope this brings a little fun into your season —

Enjoy the Holidays!

~ Jacquie

More Holiday Activities:

25 Free Printable Christmas Activities

30 Holiday Books to Pair with your Favorite Traditions

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