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:
- How to Make a Grown-Up Advent Calendar
- Adult Advent[ure] Calendar Activities Ideas
- Download Printable Silver Dot Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
- All of My Advent Calendars over the last 7 years
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.
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.
- Make fancy hot chocolate
- Buy a new whiskey – make hot toddies
- Make spiced cider
- Soup night! with friends
- Make eggnog
- Make cookies
- Go out for a holiday cocktail or make one
- Make smores
- host a holiday brunch with friends
- Decorate the tree
- Make something crafty
- Wrap gifts
- Write a holiday card?
- Mail or send cards
- Make popcorn and watch a fun holiday movie
- Any donations?
- Buy or make some Christmas candy
- Make paper snowflakes
- play Christmas songs on guitar or sing carols
- make a holiday playlist on Pandora
- game night
- go to Timberline lodge
- get chai go for a walk
- Stocking stuffer outing
- Shopping downtown
- Visit Hood River
- Go to Powell’s Books – read with niece
- Attend a Christmas event
- dress up for dinner or drinks
- Arts – go to a play or musical performance
- go soaking at Kennedy School
- go out for tiki drinks or holiday cocktails
- holiday train ride
- Go out for holiday ales
- go look at Christmas lights
- Take grandparents out talk about childhood Christmas’
- holiday pop-up shops
- Have a Holiday picnic
- Volunteer somewhere
- go out for a comfort food dinner
- sledding or snowshoeing
- yoga de-stress before the madness
How 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.
My Advent Calendars Over the Last 7 Years
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!