Advent Calendar Ideas

This 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 mainly finished – meaning I had at least 24 ideas, I realized that they fall into three main categories (which actually helped me think of a few other ideas) – 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 24 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 list in 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. Decorate the tree
  10. Make something crafty
  11. Wrap gifts
  12. Massages
  13. Write a holiday card?
  14. Mail or send cards
  15. Make popcorn and watch a fun holiday movie
  16. Any 2013 donations?
  17. Buy or make some Christmas candy
  18. Make paper snowflakes
  19. play Christmas songs on guitar
  20. make a holiday playlist on Pandora
  21. go to Timberline lodge
  22. get chai go for a walk
  23. Stocking stuffer outing
  24. Shopping downtown
  25. Visit Hood River
  26. Go to Powell’s Books – look at travel books
  27. Get beers at a new brewery
  28. Go out for holiday ales
  29. go look at Christmas lights
  30. Take grandparents out talk about childhood Christmas’
  31. Play a game/crossword etc
  32. Attend a Christmas event
  33. Dress up for a dinner
  34. Have a Holiday picnic
  35. Volunteer somewhere

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

advent calendar ideas

Are you doing an advent calendar this year?