31 Advent Ideas the Whole Family Will Love

advert family activities feat good

As the holiday season approaches, it is special to think of ways to spend time together as a family. With so many parties and commitments, it is important to think about what meaningful traditions you want to implement in your family.

Children may not remember the material things surrounding the holiday season, but I know from my own experience that they will definitely remember, cherish, and celebrate the time spent together as a family.

Celebrating the holiday season with advent is a great way to spend time together. “Advent” means specifically reflecting on the values and beliefs that one holds important in this season. Advent can be celebrated with activities that are designed to help children and families engage in these beliefs and traditions.

The Christmas season can come very quickly, and before long, you will find that it is already December 1st, which is typically the first day of Advent. What activities should you do each day? How can you make the activities special? Below is a list of fun, meaningful activities that the whole family will love and continue year after year!

Creating the Advent Experience

Before December 1st comes around, you may need to do a little prep to get ready for the Advent activities. First, decide what kind of system you want to use to organize the activities. You could create a DIY system such as writing the activity descriptions on cards and putting them in numbered envelopes for family members to open each day, or you could purchase something from Amazon to use.

Whatever you decide, consider choosing activities that reflect your values and traditions of the season. Advent is an exciting time, and it is extra special because you get to celebrate it with loved ones.

Here are some ideas to get started with planning your own Advent celebrations each day. Change or adapt the activities to fit what you want your family to do each day.

Watch a Christmas movie. Start off the month right with your family’s favorite Christmas movie. Some common favorites are Polar Express, The Santa Claus, Home Alone, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, etc. Be sure to check movies reviews to see which movies are age-appropriate for your children. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Make paper chains. Paper chains are a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. Use some construction paper and scissors to cut strips from the paper. Use a stapler and a glue stick to loop the strips to form a long chain. Take off one loop each day to help you count down the days until Christmas.

Cut paper snowflakes. Give each person a piece of paper, scissors, and a pencil. First, trace a circle onto the paper. Fold the circle in half and then in half again. Keep folding until you reach the desired size. Using the pencil, create your own outline for how you want the pattern to look or find a pattern to copy from the internet. Cut out your design and display the snowflakes in the window.

Build a snowman. If you live in a place that snows, bundle up, get outside, and build a snowman! Find two sticks and use mittens or gloves for the arms, some rocks for the eyes and buttons, and add a scarf and a hat. Maybe your outdoor fun turn into a friendly snowball fight!

Build a gingerbread house. Use graham crackers and icing to construct a gingerbread house or build a pre-made kit to assemble. Use candy like m&m’s, skittles, gum drops, candy canes, etc. to decorate your house. Consider dividing your family into two teams and have a competition to see what kind of gingerbread houses each team can make. The best part is, after you make the gingerbread house, you get to eat it!

Sing Christmas Carols. Choose a few family favorites or have everyone in the family choose a Christmas carol to sing. If anyone in the family plays an instrument, consider having them lead the carols!

Decorate Christmas cookies. Make a batch of sugar cookies and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Find some fun Christmas-themed cookie cutters and cut out the cookies. Transfer them to a cookie sheet and bake for the desired time. Either make your own icing or use store-bought icing to decorate the cookies. Don’t eat too many! You’ll need some for tomorrow’s activity!

Bring Christmas cookies to your neighbors. Many people will agree that it is better to give than to take. Here’s a chance to spread some joy and give something sweet to others! Take some of the sugar cookies you decorated from yesterday’s activity over to your neighbors. They will appreciate receiving some delicious and beautifully decorated cookies to enjoy!

Gratitude list. Create a list of things you are thankful for. This is a special thing to do as a family to reflect on the season of giving. What are you thankful for? Look back at the year, remembering all of the highs and lows.

Hot chocolate and stargazing. Make some hot chocolate for the whole family, complete with marshmallows, whipped cream, and candy canes. Here’s a great recipe to use! Bring some cozy blankets outside and look at the stars. They are especially bright during the winter and you may even be able to see different constellations than you do during the summer. Which constellations can you find?

Sleep under the Christmas tree. Set up blankets or sleeping bags around the Christmas tree. Turn on the Christmas lights and spend the night sleeping under the tree. Wear your most festive Christmas pajamas. No snoring, Dad!   

Secret angel. Have everyone in the family draw a name from a hat. (Put the name back if you get your own.) You have 24 hours to do something nice for that person in secret.

Donate your clothes and toys. Christmas is a great time to clean out the closets. Invite kids to do this with you. Make a pile of things to keep, things to throw away, and things to donate. Having them do this with you will get them involved so that they will want to find things to donate. It’ll be helpful to free up some closet space and take inventory of what they have or need!

Christmas scavenger hunt. This game can be played in a variety of ways. Create a scavenger hunt by writing clues for children to solve. The prize at the end could be their gifts from Santa or a special treat!

Decorate ornaments. Find some blank ornaments to decorate and embellish. You can use chalk pens or permanent markers to write on Christmas bulbs or add glitter to make a fun design. You can also paint a wooden ornament or make your own by folding paper into different origami shapes. Decorate your own tree or give them away to a friend!

Make your own wrapping paper. This activity is fun but can get messy. Use big sheets of paper and stamps made out of potato or cabbage halves to decorate your own wrapping paper. Carve different designs into the potato, and dip the stamp into a plate of paint. Stamp it onto the piece of paper. Use this wrapping paper to wrap your family’s gifts!

Make Christmas cards. This is a great project to do for grandparents. Consider printing out a family photo and giving it to children to use for the front of their Christmas card. Decorate the outside of the card with ribbon, glitter, stickers, stamps, or designs and write a note to loved ones in the center of the card. Use your best handwriting!

Read a Christmas story. Cozy up with some blankets and a hot drink and enjoy listening to a fun Christmas picture book or novel. Even older children love to listen to picture books! Consider an adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is always a fun read during the holiday season and a good reminder to treasure what is important.

Family game night. Host a family game night–Christmas edition! You can create your own Heads Up game that is Christmas-themed or play a game of charades or Pictionary with holiday words.

Christmas dance party/karaoke. Crank up the Christmas tunes and let loose! Have a fun dance party and get the whole family involved. You can also put the karaoke version of Christmas songs on your television and have a karaoke party.

Make a Christmas craft. Crafting is a great way to help you unwind and destress during the holiday season. Check out this post to get ideas for snowman-themed arts and crafts! The opportunities for Christmas crafts are endless! Paint a picture, make your own DIY Christmas tree, or knit or crochet something with a holiday vibe.

Make a bird feeder. Using a paper towel tube, cover it in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Hang it out in the trees and see what birds haven’t flown south for the winter. Squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife like deer also love these feeders, so keep an eye out to see what animals you can spot.

Learn about Christmas traditions around the world. Head to your local library to check out some books about the different ways that people celebrate Christmas around the world. Share what you learn with your family. Are there any new traditions you’d like to start with your family?

Video call family. Consider video calling family that is far away. They will love to connect with you during the holiday season!

Go sledding, skiing, or ice skating. A great way to enjoy Christmas is to enjoy being outside, even though it may be cold and snowy. Bundle up in some warm winter gear and do a fun activity outside such as sledding, skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating. After playing outside, enjoy a warm cup of hot cocoa.

Go on a nature walk. Go to a local or state park and enjoy the beauty and quiet of a walk in the winter wonderland. What animal tracks can you find in the snow or mud?

Write a Christmas newsletter. Give each child a section to write their highlights from the year or sit down to write the Christmas newsletter together as a family. Include some fun pictures, print them out, and mail them to your friends and family! They will love an update about your year.

Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Wear your warmest pajamas and drive around in your car to look at the displays of Christmas lights in neighborhoods around you. Check your local area to see if there are any walking or driving Christmas light tours.

Make a meal for someone. Get the whole family involved in making a meal for someone. Decide who you want to give the meal to. Consider making up meal packages for the unhoused in your community or donating boxed or canned food to a food back.

Leave snacks out for mail delivery/UPS. Everybody should be celebrated during the holiday season, including the couriers who are delivering all of the special surprises and goodies to you through the mail. Consider creating holiday gift packages with a water bottle, Christmas candy, or snacks, or leave some homemade baked goods for your mailman.

New Year goals. Create a list of things that each person would like to do in the coming year. What would you like to accomplish together as a family? Spend some time dreaming about what you’d like to the new year to be like. Display it on your refrigerator so you can see it.

However you decide to celebrate the holiday season, I hope you enjoy spending time with loved ones and reflecting on the blessings in your life.

For more great ideas, check out this post to learn about indoor games you can play during winter or this one about snowman snacks! 

If you’re in need of some classroom activities and themes for the month of December, check out this post.