Christmas Books and Activities Advent Calendar and Linkup

One tradition I wanted to start this year is making an Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas with fun family activities and Christmas books. There are numerous Advent calendar ideas out there, from the kind you buy with chocolates inside to simple homemade varieties with a Bible verse a day to read.

{our advent calendar: important "criteria"}

I love the idea of an Advent calendar because it makes the anticipation of Christmas nearly as fun as Christmas day itself. When I was thinking about the kind of Advent calendar I wanted to make, I had three important criteria in mind. One, it needs to be simple. I work, I have two little kids... I don't have time for a complicated craft project. Two, it needs to be inexpensive. I don't want to blow our Christmas budget on a PRE-Christmas activity. Finally, it must not involve food. Special holiday food treats abound as it is, I don't need to add any more to the mix.

{our advent calendar: the how to}

With those "ground rules" in mind, I created an Advent calendar that is a mix of family activities, Christmas (library) books, and non-food goodies. I bought some pretty paper tags from Michael's, and wrote the numbers 1-25 on the front of each one, and each day's activity or item on the back. I used mini clothespins to attach each tag to a piece of colored twine and strung them across my mantle.

{advent calendar activities, books, and gifts}


I chose about ten activities we could do as a family that would help us get in the spirit of Christmas. I included ideas like write a letter to Santa, make paper snowflakes, listen to Christmas music, and have a game night. (If you need some ideas I loved this post from Fresh Mommy blog.)

An intense game of Chutes and Ladders for game night! 
Writing his letter to Santa... with mom's help.


I did a little research and found ten Christmas books that we haven't yet read. I put them all on hold at the library a few days before December first so that they'd be ready in time. If you want to give books your kids can keep it's worth checking out your local thrift stores, they often have a great selection of children's books. I didn't wrap the books, but if I do this again I think I will to make it a bit more special. If you need ideas for Christmas books, Janssen at Everyday Reading puts together a great list every year.


For this, I visited the dollar section at Target and found a few inexpensive treats that I knew Jona would love. I bought some stickers, a big bouncy ball, a wooden ornament to decorate, and some window clings.

I love how our little Advent calendar turned out, and I think Jona is really enjoying it as well. I hope to continue this tradition and get Violet involved when she gets a little older.

Be sure to head to Alexandra's blog to see her Advent calendar as well. She is always so creative, so I know she has something awesome to share.

Link up your Advent calendar or holiday tradition post below! Remember that it doesn't have to be a new blog post, we just ask that you link back to Alexandra or me somewhere in your post so that others can visit. We intended for this linkup to be pretty open-ended, so any holiday-themed post is welcome!


  1. This is just the cutest idea! I also would not be interested in food, so many treats around here lately and they're driving me crazy! Ha!

    pumps and push-ups

  2. We barely remember to hang a little ornament on the tree every night. I don’t know if I could be this organized!

  3. I love how you kept the advent calendar simple, but have a good mix of activities, books and treats!!!! I definitely want to start doing one maybe next year when my daughter can be more involved and understand. We already have a Christmas book collection started for her! They are my favorites to read.


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