Special Advent Calendar Ideas with Few Presents

I’ve never hosted or participated in an advent calendar.  Purchasing presents for each day seems daunting and expensive.  Not to mention that the presents will likely end up with the other junk my child has collected.  This year, I have decided to provide activities that our family can do together, mixed with handmade presents.

Perhaps use a free Advent Calendar printable and fill in your own for your family.


  1. Decorate the house and trim the tree.
  2. Go to the library to pick out holiday or other special books.
  3. Make a box for your Christmas Elf giving him/her ideas and accessories for the season.
  4. Watch Peanuts holiday series together.
  5. Make an ornament for the tree together.
  6. Drink hot cider or hot chocolate for breakfast on a school day.
  7. Make matching holiday t-shirts for immediate family.
  8. Evaluate charities (provide a short list) and decide as a family which one to support.
  9. Write a letter to Santa and send it to the North Pole with your Christmas Elf.
  10. Drive around the River Oaks (insert your town’s swanky neighborhood) to look at Christmas lights.
  11. Work on a DIY holiday gift for grandparents.
  12. Attend Houston’s Zoo Lights.
  13. Have picture made with Santa Claus.
  14. Wrap several cookie embellishments for opening before attending extended family’s annual cookie making party.
  15. Open a present with New Christmas pajamas
  16. Wrap a special holiday pillowcase that you have made.  I like the one with a flap to hide the pillow.
  17. Have a Family holiday movie night.  Here are a list of 20 of my favorites.
  18. Make personalized gift tags.
  19. Gather all your wrapping and trimming and wrap presents together.
  20. Read your family’s traditional holiday book together.
  21. Make a donation to your town’s food pantry.
  22. Make a decoration to bring an elderly neighbor and wish him or her Happy Holidays.
  23. Eat dinner by candlelight.
  24. Practice harmonizing a single favorite Christmas Carol.  Perform it for the extended family.
  25. Hang your Christmas Stocking.

One comment

  1. Virtual server says:

    We had a fabric calendar with a little pocket for each day when I was a kid. There was a teddy that me and my brother took it in turns to move each day. Mum put a little chocolate in each day- but as there were two of us it was only a chocolate every other day! I love all of your ideas, I shall file them away in case we ever have children

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