How To Make An Adult Advent Calendar

adult advent calendar

A few years ago, I wanted to make an adult advent calendar. No, not that kind of “adult”. Sheesh! I saw a friend’s adorable tree-topped miniature boxes for her kids’ advent calendar. So I started thinking how it would be fun to do a grown-up version. Most advent calendar ideas I found were either for kids or were themed gifts. For example: 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. So here’s how to make a grown up advent calendar. And how I’ve changed it over the years!

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!

In this post:

Here’s how to make an adult advent calendar:

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 “Christmas party!” or 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.

Advent Calendar Christmas tree

Adult Advent Calendar Activities:

Here is my idea list for activities. It’s like a Christmas bucket list – the categories are: making food or drinks, at home activities, and outings, and of course some little gifts – some of which can overlap. :) Consider it your “advent-ure” calendar if you will.

  1. switched to washi tape after some fell off the wall :)Make fancy hot chocolate
  2. Buy a new whiskey – make hot toddies
  3. Make spiced cider
  4. Soup night! with friends
  5. Make eggnog
  6. Make cookies
  7. Go out for a holiday cocktail or make one
  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
Advent Calendar Ideas

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

Step 1. Get silver cardstock (or any color you like). I used silver shimmer cardstock, (92lb cover). Similar $12

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. Make your circles. 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. Write your advent activities on the backside. Print out the list of activities and glue them on or handwrite 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.

Download the Advent Activities Printable

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

advent calendar ideas

My Advent Calendars Over the Last 7 Years

2018 & 2019 Advent Calendar (activities taped underneath each wooden house!)
2017 – had a baby, no time for creating. So I used our kitchen chalkboard wall.

Low-stress Christmas Philosophy

I subscribe to a “low stress Christmas” philosophy. If making an advent calendar sounds like extra stress and busy work, please don’t do it! So often during holidays, we find so many cute ideas and want to do all the things and say yes to everything. When it comes to making a fun and low-stress advent calendar, be flexible. You don’t have to complete your list. And you can move items to a different day. You can skip or add new items. The idea is to add more joy and little fun and experiences – not stress. So opt out of holiday stuff you don’t want to do. Christmas as a grown up can be fun for this very reason! ;)

Are you doing a kids or adult advent calendar this year?

This post was originally written in December 2013. Enjoy!

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