Advent Calendar Ideas

Last year, I wanted to make an adult advent calendar. No, not that kind of “adult”. Sheesh!

Seeing a friend’s calendar of adorable tree-topped miniature boxes, I started thinking how it would be fun to do a grown up version. After doing a bit of searching around, it seemed that most advent calendar ideas were either for kids or they were interesting themed gifts of 25 whiskeys, 25 chocolates, 25 wines etc. I wanted to do something a bit more budget friendly and experience oriented instead of shopping/consumer driven.

The result was a giant list of fun activities and outings. After the list was finished, I realized that they fall into three main categories – food or drinks to make/eat, at home activities, and holiday outings. I’m sure you’ll be able to think of a ton more fun activities along those lines!

Since I was traveling the first few days of December, the advent calendar was just a list in Google Docs. Then I ordered some silver cardstock on Amazon, so by the time I got the paper, printed and cut out all the circles it was Day 6, but who’s counting?

Here’s how to make your own:

1. Create a list of at least 25 activities or little gifts. (see ideas below)

2. Make sure the activities line up with anything already on your calendar (ie. if you have a big Christmas party on the 13th, make sure you slot in something simple as the activity for that day).

3. Be flexible. If you miss a day or need to re-arrange things, don’t stress about it. The point of creating this advent calendar is to add more joy into your month, not create a stress storm!

4. Find a calendar style that works for you. You could go as simple as writing them all down on paper or keeping a list on your calendar, or more complicated with little boxes or bags, like some of these ideas. I designed my own Christmas tree shape out of silver dots. Check out the instructions on how, below.

#1-12How To Make the Dot Christmas Tree Advent Calendar:

Step 1. Get silver cardstock (or any color you like).

Step 2. Arrange 12 #s to a page equally spaced with a fun font. Here’s my template, #1-12 printable pdf, #13-24 printable pdf, #25 printable pdf (in gold or silver). Print onto the card stock with your printer. If you don’t have a printer, you can print to Kinkos for pretty cheap too.

Step 3. Round up a few glasses from the kitchen to see what size of circle fits best (using either the rim of glass or base of glass) and trace around each circle with a pencil. Then cut out the circles!

Step 4. Print out the list of activities (or write them on the back side of each dot) and assemble on the wall in a Christmas tree shape. I printed out the activities list and used double sided tape to attach to each dot so we could have the option of moving days around and re-using the dots another year.

Advent Calendar Christmas tree

Adult Advent Calendar Activities:

Here is my idea list from the categories of making food or drinks, at home activities, and outings – some of which can overlap. :)

  1. switched to washi tape after some fell off the wall :)Make fancy hot chocolate
  2. Make eggnog
  3. Make spiced cider
  4. Soup night! with friends
  5. Buy a new whiskey – make hot toddies
  6. Make cookies
  7. Make or go out for a holiday cocktail
  8. Make smores
  9. host a holiday brunch with friends
  10. Decorate the tree
  11. Make something crafty
  12. Wrap gifts
  13. Massages
  14. Write a holiday card?
  15. Mail or send cards
  16. Make popcorn and watch a fun holiday movie
  17. Any donations?
  18. Buy or make some Christmas candy
  19. Make paper snowflakes
  20. play Christmas songs on guitar or sing carols
  21. make a holiday playlist on Pandora
  22. game night
  23. go to Timberline lodge
  24. get chai go for a walk
  25. Stocking stuffer outing
  26. Shopping downtown
  27. Visit Hood River
  28. Go to Powell’s Books – read with niece
  29. Attend a Christmas event
  30. dress up for dinner or drinks
  31. Arts – go to a play or musical performance
  32. go soaking at Kennedy School
  33. go out for tiki drinks or holiday cocktails
  34. holiday train ride
  35. Go out for holiday ales
  36. go look at Christmas lights
  37. Take grandparents out talk about childhood Christmas’
  38. holiday pop-up shops
  39. Have a Holiday picnic
  40. Volunteer somewhere
  41. go out for a comfort food dinner
  42. sledding or snowshoeing
  43. yoga de-stress before the madness

And here’s a printable list of some of the above activities that we picked last year. Enjoy!

advent calendar ideas

Are you doing an advent calendar this year?

This post was updated, but originally written in December 2013. Enjoy!