The countdown to Christmas advent box was never really a tradition in our home, rather something I inconsistently did from time to time. While my intentions were always in the right place, I sometimes forgot to fill it, or didn’t follow through with the activity behind the door, or I just wasn’t prepared. I let our box fade away for several years until……
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My eighteen year old daughter mentioned it last year. When a teenager wants an advent box, you get an advent box. I got a case of the warm fuzzies, and that very evening I ordered a new box.
The box arrived a few days later, and it was beautiful! I had many ideas of how we would have a Hallmark holiday. Well, we didn’t have a dreamy, perfect holiday (who really does), but we did enjoy a few fun things thanks to that box. Truth be told, teenagers are pretty easy. You don’t have to plan complicated activities, you can enjoy things that you both like, and they are happy with a handful of Hershey Kisses. Do include a few activities though, because when you realize your time with them is limited, an advent box can be the vessel to do these things! Win, win, wink, wink!
25 Ideas for Advent
I don’t recommend doing all of these, I’m just putting them out there for ideas, some may or may not appeal to your family. Your teens may have jobs and a social life, as well as yourself! These are just some fun things to do together, let them know you are thinking of them, and perhaps create a few more fun memories before they leave the nest. If you don’t have a box, paper chains work nicely, or even a jar! I’ve also included pre-made themed calendar ideas following this list that are awesome!
- Movie Marathon – The movies don’t have to be holiday themed. I’ve personally been thinking about watching the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Make it really special with themed snacks, or just a simple tub of popcorn or chex mix will work. (Here is a great recipe!)
- Lunch Money – Slip a $10 bill in one of the doors – everyone likes a free lunch!
- Gingerbread Houses – Have a decorating contest with either edible or non-edible houses. I just may go for the non-edible light up one!
- Go look at Christmas Lights – Make it more fun by turning it into a scavenger hunt. There are plenty of free printables on the internet. You may even want to leave a card on the doorstep of the best displays to say thanks and Merry Christmas!
- Scavenge the Store – There are several free printables for this on the internet as well, or you could make one up yourself. The sillier, the better!
- Winter Nature Hike – This is one of my favorites on the list! There’s plenty to notice in December – check out Noticing Nature-December for ideas, and look for some “dung on a twig to bring home….or not.
- Fun Photos – Christmas-themed props are an inexpensive way to make the memories last for years!
- Coupons – write a “day off from chores” coupon for a nice surprise!
- Escape Room at home – We downloaded an Easter-themed escape room from Teach Sunday School to reivew, and I see they also have a Nativity Escape Room. Looking for something non-Christmasy? Check out these from PaperPie! I’ve heard great reviews from customers.
- Puzzles – can be a jigsaw piece, or a mental riddle on a slip of paper to solve.
- No-Sew Blankets – keep warm and enjoy making them together! Get crazy and go tie-dye!
- Tickets – do something special – a play, movie, concert, or other ticketed attraction for the day.
- Paint Pouring – my daughter and I poured stars that turned out great!
- Bowling, Skating, or Mini Golf – for us, it’s been a long time, so this would be a fun activity to do!
- Travel (without leaving home) – learn about other countries and their holiday customs. If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, try a recipe! Here’s a few dishes we made from Canada and Central America.
- Pomander Balls – make your home smell wonderful, and enjoy this easy activity.
- Volunteer – in your community.
- Game Day (or night) – enjoy old favorites, or get a new Christmas themed one! I think I’m going to get this one. It contains 12 games and suits a variety of ages. Plus, you can fill several boxes.
- DIY Wrapping Paper – recycle newsprint. Sponge or flick a little paint on it for uniquely cool gift wrap.
- Somewhere New – visit a restaurant or coffee shop in your town that you’ve never visited.
- Pinterest – most of us have boards full of ideas! My boards are full of dog treats, art, sugar scrubs, and much more. Pick one or two and actually do them together!
- Minute-to-Win-It Competition – There’s a crazy amount of ideas on the internet, and are usually well-received by teens!
- Chillin’ ‘Round the Fire Pit – keep it simple, and just enjoy each other’s company.
- Novelty Candy – several days are filled with candy in our box. I’ve been able to find some unique candies at Five Below, as well as a few specialty shops in my area.
- The Final Day – For the past few years, we’ve started a tradition of going downtown on Christmas night. The streets are empty, it is no longer peopley, but all the decor is still up. After the loudness of the season, there’s just something peaceful about the quietness of Christmas night. Perhaps you can come up with a simple tradition to suit your family at the culmination of the holiday.
Top 10 Pre-Made Advent Calendars
Sometimes it’s easier just to go with pre-made calendars. December can be a crazy time of year, and putting the ideas together may just be “one more thing” you have to do. Don’t stress over it. I found some really good calendars that would be perfect for teens.
- My World Advent Calendar – I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it. Visit 24 countries, do a craft, stamp a passport, and be back before Christmas? YES PLEASE!
- National Geographic Gemstone Advent Calendar – It really rocks.
- Christmas Tree Building Advent Calendar – Very cool (as long as I don’t have to build it) and it has lights!
- National Geographic Science Advent Calendar – Ohhh, a science experiment or specimen each day? That’s my idea of a fantastic way to countdown the month of December!
- Shocking Science Kit – ohhh, even more science experiments!
- Riddles & Brain Games Advent Calendar – a fun way to challenge the mind!
- Professor Charlie’s World Tour – Advent Calendar – this looks super!
- 24 Family Games – I love the variety in this one!
- Advent Calendar Book Collection – I’m throwing this in for the littles! I sell them and it is fantastic!
- The Adventure Challenge Advent Scratch-Off Holiday Season Adventures – I have been wanting to try something from the Adventure Challenge. (Note there are 12 challenges in this calendar.)
May your holiday be a fun-filled, memory-making, stress free time! If all of this is beyond how you want to spend the next 25 days, check out my 20 Ideas for Grinches!