My son is almost begging me to start our Advent Calendar even before Halloween has ended. A Christmas advent calendar doesn’t have to be a monumental task that leaves you feeling so overwhelmed you end up doing nothing. It also doesn’t have to be a store-bought one either! Wondering what to put in an advent calendar? Here are some simple and fun DIY advent calendar ideas you will love.

Homemade Advent Calendar and 25 Days of Christmas Countdown IdeasPin

Make Your Own Family Advent Calendar

The last thing you need for the holiday season is another activity that makes everything feel more rushed and busy!

I had always wanted to create an advent calendar for my son but was neither crafty nor well-prepared. I don’t think you need to be either with some of these fun and easy advent calendar ideas I will show you right here.

An advent calendar is a fun and simple way to countdown to Christmas Day. Great for impatient kiddos who keep asking if it is Christmas Day yet!

You can make your advent calendar as long or short as you like. Traditionally, advent lasts 24 days, from the 1st of December to the 24th.

There is a tiny bit of prep for these advent calendar activities, but not a whole lot! Some require printing a few pages and setting up the Christmas activities!

I like keeping it simple, using what I have, and I also like to pick up a few things at stores I am already going to, namely the grocery store. So these advent calendar ideas below are just that! Budget-friendly, simple, and super easy to set up.


There were plenty of times when I left out a packet of hot cocoa and a baggie of mini marshmallows, and that was good enough! Or I decided to declare a pizza day and have a picnic by the Christmas tree. That one is always remembered.

My son loves the planned advent calendar activities as much as he loves the crazy, unplanned ones I throw in. Each morning, he can’t wait to check the spot to see what will happen that day.

Below, you will find a list of simple ideas you can throw in to make your homemade family advent calendar fun and easy to pull off.

Easy Christmas Advent Calendar Ideas For Kids

1. Use Printable Advent Calendar Activities

Get these cute and colorful printable advent calendar envelopes and activity cards. Fold along the dotted lines to create the envelopes (see the images below) and add in an advent calendar activity for each day.

Grab this FREE printable Advent Calendar idea today!

2. Printable Christmas Games

How about a fun Christmas game each day instead of a treat? You can grab our inexpensive 25 Days of Christmas Countdown pack here and have more than enough advent calendar activities for December.

Perfect for kiddos ages kindergarten to 3rd grade or as needed. Includes coloring pages, bingo, simple crafts, games, and more!

3. Planned Activity or Outing

Are you getting your tree? Make it your advent calendar activity for the day. Write it on the card!


4. Add a Simple Elf

Do you have an elf to enjoy with your Christmas countdown activities? I don’t mean that creepy elf, either! It’s just a friendly one that hangs out to enjoy the season.

I purchased a small {inexpensive $3} one after we started our advent calendar, but this year he will be arriving on the 1st. Our elf is wrapped below. In the past we have also purchased these awesome kindness elves. I am so excited about these little elves!


5. Use What’s Available

You can base your family advent calendar activities on the items in your house, the places you will go, and the activities you already do. Plus, you can add a few new fun things based on your available time.

6. No Junk Please!

What I did not want to do was end up buying a bunch of junky little novelty items that would just get strewn around the house. I want our countdown activities to be meaningful, family-centered, and hands-on!

For example; science activities, LEGO building, family adventures, and experiences that will be remembered and asked for again and again. Hopefully passed on to future generations too!

7. Keep it Simple

You do not need a Pinterest-worthy setup for your Advent calendar DIY. This thinking can derail your chances of setting up your own pretty quickly.

Some items that make it fun include a mini fake Christmas tree, small paper bags, gift tags, and cards. You can pick up these items or get creative with what you have. I have pictures of everything below too.

8. DIY LEGO Advent Calendar

Keep it inexpensive with Christmas mini-builds using your own bricks and a printable LEGO Advent calendar. This is a fabulous frugal Advent Calendar idea that everyone will enjoy! Grab the LEGO and dig into our DIY LEGO Advent Calendar with printable projects!

Lego Advent Calendar Printable FreePin

9. Chalkboard Sign

Use a small chalkboard easel with the day’s number on it for your family countdown calendar. Leave out a special treat, a note about what you are going to do that day or a new Christmas book or movie to watch.

This is the simplest way to incorporate what you would do into a Christmas advent calendar!

10. Christmas STEM Challenges

Add our Christmas STEM Challenge countdown cards to a bin of themed supplies to encourage engineering and creativity all month long. All the activities use simple supplies you can easily get or may already have.

Tip: I used plastic refillable ornaments (seen below)! You can hang one a day on your tree or present a few at a time to pick from.

Plus, you can use the ornaments for gifts too! How about filling up one with LEGO bricks, or even slime!

small tree with numbered cards that have STEM challenges on them for a Christmas countdown ideaPin

11. Christmas Jokes Paper Chain

A classic paper chain advent calendar is perfect for Christmas jokes! This simple countdown calendar features 25 days of Christmas jokes perfect for kids. Plus, it’s quick and simple to make!

You can also try out our Christmas-themed Paper Chain STEM Challenge! Click here to grab a copy.

12. Christmas Books

Make a Christmas book countdown! You can absolutely rewrap your own books or head to the local thrift store to grab a few new ones for surprises. This is a great way to build your Christmas library each year and then put them aside for future generations.

It’s a fun way to remember the books you have and add them to your collection as well. Add hot cocoa, marshmallows, and cookies. Or add a fun new place to sit each day and read the book together like on the floor by the Christmas tree.

13. Random Acts of Kindness

Print out this Random Acts of Kindness Advent calendar by Coffee Cups and Crayons. Pair it with these awesome Kindness Elves with their own set of 25 kindness ideas. It’s a great way to get kids into the true spirit of Christmas that lasts year-round!

Our new kindness elves are perfect for leaving out all year long. We like to incorporate many of these kindness activities into our Advent Calendar as well. A favorite is taking cookies to the local police and fire stations.


More Christmas Fun…

Printable Christmas Activities Fun Pack

Countdown to Christmas with 25+ low to no prep activities!


  • 25+ Low-to-no-Prep Christmas activities include games, secret codes, paper crafts, and more!
  • Fun Christmas games include a 10-card bingo game, DIY board game, I Spy, word find, sodoku, and more!
  • Easy Christmas Projects include making a peppermint spinner, exploring gingerbread house tessellations, playing with homemade thaumatropes, creating 3D Christmas cards, and so much more!
  • Bonus! Includes the 12 days of Christmas Color by Code!


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