Celebrating 25 Days of Christmas ~ DIY: Advent Calendars & Christmas Countdowns

25 days of christmas

 Photo Credit: Contributor Sarah

Update: This is a post that I shared a few years ago for the first time, but I’ve updated it with a few more ideas for all of you! Sia & I will be sharing some more ideas of some of the 25 Days of Christmas activities we do with our families with you, too!  You can follow along on Instagram . We’ll be using the hashtag: #25dayschristmas & we’d love to see some of your pictures of fun activities you do with your family too! Use the hashtag: #25dayschristmas to follow along & post your own pictures!

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Now that December is here,  it’s time to start preparing for Christmas . I don’t know about you, but I find that Christmas just speeds by every year & every year I’m left wishing we’d done more of the fun, family activities instead of getting caught up in the rush of shopping, baking, etc.  So, the last few years, we’ve tried to be more intentional in spending time as a family and slowing down to really enjoy this season.  We want the focus for our kids to be on the real reason for the season.

So I thought I’d share a fun tradition that we’ve been doing the past few years called the 25 Days of Christmas (many people also call these “Advent Activities” or “Christmas Countdown”). This is where you pick an activity or craft or go to an event as a family for each day in December (or however many days you choose to do this idea). Your kids will open up the advent calendar to find out what the activity is for that day. It can be simple activities such as read a Christmas book under the Christmas tree or have red & green night where all of your dinner food is in red & green colors. Or you can do more involved activities like go to a Living Nativity or a Christmas play. It’s just taking the time to think about special activities you can do with your kids or as a family.

Activity Ideas for 25 Days of Christmas:

Make sure to check out this big list of fun activities to provide some inspiration for your 25 Days of Christmas!  We’d love to hear what fun activities you do with your family, too!

If you’re local to the Northwest, check out our HUGE list of Pacific Northwest Christmas Events around the area to give you more ideas of places you can go if you’d like to add a few fun events to your list!

Now I know that 25 days of activities can sound very overwhelming to some of you (including me) – it really doesn’t have to be that long – you can do 12 Days of Christmas, 5 Days of Christmas – whatever is manageable to you. Your kids will just love having something to look forward to every year! I first learned of the 25 Days of Christmas activities years ago in my MOPS group & I started by just doing 10 days, then 15 days & finally the last few years, I’m organized enough to do the full 25 days. It’s just about whatever works best for your family & your schedules! My girls look forward to these special activities all year long – my daughter asks if we can do it now for Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. :)

As for the first day of December, we always open an Advent Calendar as the activity & I wrap it up! It’s a fun way to kick off the 25 Days with a little present for them & then they get to follow along with the countdown to Christmas with their own Advent Calendar, too. We just do the chocolate Advent Calendars from the drugstores.

Advent Calendars:

The first step  is to come up with a fun idea to display your 25 Days of Christmas Activities or Christmas Countdown.  I’ve been having fun looking for ideas for Advent Calendars on Pinterest, so I thought I’d share a variety of different ideas with you. These range from the very simple to a few more elaborate ideas. Most of these are quite frugal, using items you most likely have around your house.

Christmas Stockings with Activities Inside:

25 days christmas stockings

I am not so crafty so I go with the super simple approach, where I buy the two pack of little Christmas stockings at the Dollar Tree.  I then use the free printable Christmas Countdown numbers & cut out all my numbers and glued a number to each stocking. Inside the stocking, we put that day’s Christmas activities. We then let our girls alternate who gets to pick the stocking & read the activity that’s inside. We’ve always just kept the stockings in a little Christmas box & then it’s easy for me to switch out the activities as needed, in case the weather is bad or we have a change in plans. Or sometimes (oftentimes) I don’t come up with the activity until that afternoon. :) My kids never know as I slip it into the little stocking. This would be even cuter strung from some twine across your fireplace or somewhere in your house so you could display it.

Christmas Countdown Paper Chain:

You could also involve your kids & have them make a paper chain of red & green paper & write the number on each link. Then they get to pick an envelope with the corresponding number that has the activity (I don’t recommend writing the actual activity on the link as your plans could change because of weather, sickness, etc, but it’s up to you).

More Advent Calendars for Inspiration:

Baby Sock Advent Calendar from Martha Stewart - This is a variation of what we have done in the past. I didn’t use baby socks but actually found mini stockings at the Dollar Store a few years ago (I also have seen them at Walmart). I then strung them by a ribbon over our fireplace the first year. Last year, I kept it very simple & just kept the stockings in a special box & we’d pick out a new stocking every day. {This was a great option for us because I could switch out the activities easily depending on what our schedule turned out like that day} We haven’t yet gotten our Christmas items down (been too busy with Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals); otherwise I’d show you what we used.

25 Days of Christmas Buckets by Missy from Seeking His Grace – Missy actually used a kit from Stampin Up to create this cute & simple way to display their 25 Days of Christmas activities. However, you could find these cute little paper buckets at a craft store like Michaels or Joann’s for a quick & easy way to set up your Christmas Countdown. She just added numbers to the front of the buckets and then tied them onto a long ribbon on the wall. She also added letters to the back to spell out “We wish you a Merry Christmas” so when each bucket is turned over, they get to figure out what it spells on the back.

 Framed Advent Calendar from Thrifty and Thriving – using painted molding (or a painted frame), numbered scrapbook paper or sticker numbers on cardstock, ribbon/string & mini clothespins. This is very cute & is not too labor-intensive but fairly simple.

 Muffin Tin Advent Calendar from Amy at Mom Advice – I love that this is so simple using items easily found at home yet it still turned out super cute!

Wipe – Off Advent Calendar from Make and Takes –  Use a sheet of metal combined with scrapbook paper & create flaps with number. Write down the activities under each flap. Great thing about this calendar is that the activities wipe off if you need to change them & then you can reuse it year after year, too.

There were just so many fun Advent Calendars on Pinterest, so I had to share a few more of my favorites:

  • Christmas Countdown Garland from The Crafting Chicks - They also include a free printable for the numbers, #1 – 25 – these are what I used with our stockings – just printed them out & taped them to our mini stockings…super simple. Love the cute envelopes they used for the garland!
  • Advent Calendar using a Shoe Organizer – I love the practicality of this idea – use some cute cardstock paper or envelopes & then clip your advent calendar to the shoe organizer & hang it on the back (or front) of a door. {The only problem would be little hands moving the clothespins or trying to peek – I could totally see that happening in my house}
  • Handmade Advent Calendars - If you’re really crafty, then you might want to check out all of these fun ideas for Advent Calendars. I love the little felt pockets – so sweet!
  • Paper Chain - The easiest & most frugal idea would be to just create a simple paper chain using construction paper & tape. Then write or tape the ideas for your activities onto each of the  links in the chain.

Christmas Countdown Clothespin Wreath from Contributor Sarah from Chickie Momma Crafts

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Now it’s time to hear your ideas & see what you’ve done for Christmas Advent Calendars! Feel free to leave a comment or share a link to your blog if you have it posted with pictures or send me an email at thriftynwmom (at) gmail (dot) com with a picture & I’ll post for others to get ideas! 

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Comments

  1. molly says

    I used hanging gift tags. Printed out numbers to tape to the front, taped activities to the back and strung them on some cording. I used tape so I can either make a new countdown next year or use the tags for their intended purpose. I love the fancier advent calendars. I hope to make one some day :)