A hallmark of my childhood Christmases was moving the marker on our hanging advent calendar. It wasn’t the kind with wooden doors or fancy chocolates, just a simple but beautiful design of a cozy house with little numbered pockets for a small felt mouse to sit nice and cozy while we moved closer and closer to Christmas. My first Christmas as a mom I set out to find my own hanging advent calendar, to give my own little ones the same joy I remember. Also, I could finally move the marker without having to argue with my sister, which is a win. Little did I know I’d willingly give that up to watch my own children delight in moving our own version of my childhood mouse, a small wooden snowflake on a ribbon.
This year, I decided to add some adventure to our advent calendar and help us fit in all of our favorite holiday traditions. As a bonus, it removes the endless when will we [insert tradition here]? questions throughout this joyous and busy season.
This isn’t some elaborate Christmas craft which requires power tools and hot glue and glitter. It is simple. All you need is scissors, index cards, and whatever you like to draw with. You can also let the kids participate and make the drawings themselves!
First, cut an index card into four equal pieces. ( I used 3 x 5 cards, but aim to make your card fit into your advent calendar.) I used scalloped scissors because I can’t cut a straight line and the decorative edging distracts from my terrible scissor skills.
On the lined side of each card, write one Christmas tradition. I’ll include a list below for ideas, and a supply list with links.
Draw a picture on the back that coordinates with the tradition.
Tuck each tradition into a pocket on the advent calendar. Make sure to put the more time intensive ones on weekends, and strategically place shorter ones on busier days. For example, on our busiest day of the week, one of our activities is to simply draw a Christmas tree.
Each day when you move your marker, whether it’s a snowflake, a mouse, or something else, pull out the adventure/activity/tradition card. That’s the activity for the day!
This helps balance the joy of the season, dividing it up into manageable moments so you aren’t building a gingerbread house while baking cookies and making ornaments while drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music and sending pretty cards—gasp– all on one day.
What to write on the cards:
- Build a gingerbread house
- Bake Christmas cookies
- Make an ornament
- Sing a Christmas song
- Write a letter to Santa
- Wrap presents
- Watch a Christmas movie (twice– there are too many good ones to limit this to just once!)
- Go look at Christmas lights
- Draw a Christmas tree
- Make paper snowflakes (instructions for 3D ones here!)
- Go gift shopping
- Put Christmas bows on pets/ decorate the house
- Donate a toy
- Watch a Christmas TV show
- Play a board game
- Take treats to a neighbor
- Make and mail a card
- Read a Christmas book
- Drink hot cocoa
- Decorate the tree
- Leave treats for Santa
- Make treat bags for delivery workers
- Listen to Christmas music
Whether it’s a surprise or a family project, this ADVENTure (I had to do the pun; I regret nothing) will hopefully bring joy and balance to your holiday season.
Supplies links [Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon. I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase.]