There is nothing so special as a home-made advent calendar - and the best thing about them is that you can choose exactly what will go in them each day, personalising them to suit your family. But what will you put in them? We have lots of ideas to get you thinking below...
Ideas for Filling Advent Calendars - Flat
Some Advent Calendars don't give you much space for a gift. For these a little slip of paper with an activity suggestion, plus a Christmas joke, Christmas puzzle or a mini Christmas colouring page is just about perfect!
- We've got so many Christmas printables, printable crafts and puzzles here at Activity Village, you could easily roll up 20 pages for each day if your "pockets" are big enough. Settle down with a cup of coffee and have a browse around here to pick out the pages that will most appeal to your children:
- Cut images from last year's Christmas cards
- Write "challenges" for the children to do each day
- Think of an activity to do each day with the family. What do you plan to do that day? Leave an exciting message for the kids to open and read: "today we will pick out our tree", "today we will take our Christmas presents round to Granny's house", "tonight we will go for a drive to see the Christmas lights", "This evening we will pop popcorn and watch a family movie", and so on.We've got Advent Activities for Families inspiration to read online, or you can find lots of ready-made printables on our Advent Calendar Printables pages
- If you have more than one child, ask them to draw little pictures for the other's Advent Calendar. Add some of your own too.
- Pop in a joke - you could use some of our Christmas Jokes for Kids
- How about some Christmas quotes, bible verses or lines from popular Christmas carols? You'll find lots of little Advent Calendar Printables to choose from here.
- You could write the title or first line in a Christmas story which you will read to the kids at bedtime. Why not a Christmas book or story a day? Invest in a few new books each year and you'll soon build up enough for Advent (especially if you look in thrift stores and charity shops just after Christmas!) Alternatively, use the library and hunt for good Christmas stories online. We have a few!
- The first clue in a treasure hunt - how exciting! Save up some little bits and pieces as the "prize"
- The name of a recipe you will cook with the kids that day - perhaps some special Christmas cookies (or a photo of the cookies you will bake!)
- Tickets to a special Christmas show or pantomime
- The name of the Christmas movie you will watch that night
- Mini booklets with stories for the children to read (or leave them blank ready for them to write their own stories). Perhaps you could use our origami booklet. We've also got special Christmas Booklets all ready for you!
Ideas for Filling Advent Calendars - More Space
If you have a more spacious Advent Calendar, you have a lot more possibilities for filling up the pockets (or drawers, or bags...) Here are some ideas to get you started.
- A miniature Christmas cokie cutter or two (make sure you have the ingredients to make cookies!)
- A Christmas movie on DVD
- Stickers for decorating a Christmas letter to family. We have lots of Christmas Writing Paper that you can print and assemble into little packs
- Glitter (to decorate pine cones after a nature walk)
- Craft materials to use in a pre-planned Christmas craft - choose one from here!
- A battery-operated candle or two (to make your own Christmas wreath)
- A sachet of flavoured hot chocolate
- Christmas sweets or chocolates
- Tiny toys from the toy shop, appropriate for your child
- Candy canes
- Christmas hair ties, hair grips or bobbles
- Christmas card blank, envelope and stamp (you could prepare one of our Christmas Colouring Cards)
- A small Christmas notebook
- A Christmas pencil or pencil topper, or pen
- A little pack of pens or pencils and some Christmas Colouring Pages
- Gold and silver chocolate coins, or other Christmas treats
- A little jigsaw puzzle
- Save up miniature toys, knick-knacks and puzzles - you could even save Christmas cracker gifts from last year!
- If your Advent Calendar pockets are big enough you could add a shop-bought miniature Christmas cracker
- A miniature pre-packaged craft activity
- A small sewing project: assemble some Christmas coloured felt, some scraps of ribbon and buttons, a needle and embroidery thread together in an envelope
- A little packet of Christmas beads, safe needle and beading thread
- Mini travel-sized toiletry items - like toothpaste, bubble bath and shampoo
Christmas isn't all about receiving! How about having a "giving" day rather than a receiving day? Ask the children to pick one or two toys to take along to a charity, or pack up a shoebox full of goodies to give to your local Christmas scheme. Perhaps you could bake cookies or a cake and take them to your local old people's home? Or clear out some of the children's books and take them to a hospice or hospital? Older children could do some research to find a cause they would like to help, and spend the day making a plan to raise money.