Starting an advent calendar tradition is a great idea and a fun way for the whole family to get into the Christmas spirit! The thought of coming up with 25 fun ideas can feel a bit daunting though! That’s why we came up with a list of cute ideas and our favorite advent calendar filler ideas to inspire you to celebrate at Christmas time!
Incorporating fun traditions into your family’s holiday celebration is a great way to make each day memorable. From driving around town to look at Christmas lights to decorating the tree together, there are so many fun ways to create memories with your kids during the holiday season.
Advent calendars are a simple tradition that helps build up to the excitement of Christmas day. And with these creative advent calendar filler ideas, your kids can open a unique each day leading up to the big day – December 25th!
What is an Advent Calendar?
An advent calendar is a fun tradition to start with your family. The calendar starts off on the 1st of December and acts as a countdown to Christmas Day.
Each day has a door or box you open and inside is a fun surprise! These include small items like individual pieces of candy or small gifts. Some advent calendars share a piece of the Christmas story on the back of the door or box as well.
You can choose to buy an advent calendar each year with small gifts already included for each day or you can create your own reusable advent calendar!
You can find pre-made advent calendars online and even at the grocery store!
We really love to do a DIY advent calendar though — this allows us to pick out our favorite small surprises for the family each day!
DIY Or Reusable Advent Calendars?
A pre-made advent calendar is going to be the most convenient, but they don’t allow you to customize the gifts inside.
There are ton of great reusable advent calendars out there so you can refill them each year with your favorite advent calendar fillers.
You could also do a DIY calendar with individually wrapped gifts or paper bags with numbers on them – you’d just need 24 gifts — December 1st through Christmas Eve!
Pre-Made Themed Advent Calendars
- Lego Avengers Advent Calendar
- DIY Charm Bracelet Christmas Advent Calendar
- Harry Potter Holiday Magic (you fill it up)
- Fidget Toy Sensory Box
- Hot Wheels 2021 Advent Calendar
- Lego Friends 2021 Advent Calendar
- Star Wars Advent Calendar 2021
Advent calendars for adults:
- Christmas Tea Advent Calendar
- K-Cup Coffee Advent Calendar
- Chocolate Lovers Advent Calendar
- Friends TV Show Advent Calendar (or this one!)
- Wine Advent Calendars
We’ve seen several fun and beautiful wine advent calendars at grocery stores this year as well!
Edible Advent Calendar Filler Ideas
Traditional advent calendars are often filled with edible treats instead of gifts, which means holiday treats and goodies make a great option for filling your own calendar.
With these delicious edible filler ideas, your kids can enjoy a yummy treat as they count down the days to Christmas morning:
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Mini candy canes
- Starlight mints
- Peppermint bark
- Chocolate Santas
- Hard candies
- Mini Christmas cookies
- Packets of hot chocolate
- Chocolate covered marshmallows
- Yogurt or chocolate covered pretzels
- Chocolate covered nuts
- Gummy candies
- Bubble gum
- Kinder Joy eggs
- Candy coins
- Pop rocks
Toys and Games for Advent Calendars
Since the holiday season is filled with so much sugar, you might want to skip the sweet treats when it comes to your kids’ advent calendars. Instead of filling each calendar day with food and goodies, why not add a small trinket? These mini toys and games are candy-free options for filling up your Christmas countdown this year:
- Jigsaw puzzle
- Glow sticks
- Card games
- Playmobil figures
- Bouncy balls
- Doll accessories or furniture
- Mini playing cards
- Travel games
- Wind-up toys
- Mini pop-its fidget toys
- Fidget spinners
- Party poppers
- Ear buds
- Puzzle pieces
- Christmas ornaments
Creative Advent Calendar Ideas
Getting crafty during the holidays is a great way to keep your kids entertained. Encourage creativity during the holiday season by placing arts and crafts gifts in your advent calendar this year. These creative gift ideas are a simple way to bring some creativity to your holiday countdown.
- Rubber Stamps
- Washi tape
- Mini markers
- Ribbon and twine
- Finger puppets
- Mini notebooks or journals
- Cookie cutters
- Sticky note pads
- Mini picture frames
- Silly putty
- Temporary tattoos
- Other craft supplies
- School supplies
Advent Calendar Filler Ideas for Girls
Filling your girls’ advent calendars can be so much fun! These Christmas countdown ideas are a simple way to bring some holiday joy to each day of December.
- Makeup samples
- Mini nail polish
- Lip balm
- Lip gloss
- Nail stickers
- Mini lotion bottles
- Perfume samples
- Bath bombs
- Hair accessories
- Bath salts
- Mini candles
- Little note from Mom or Dad
Advent Calendar Filler Ideas for Boys
You can find some fun filler ideas for the boys in your family, too! These mini toys and games are the perfect way to wish your son a Merry Christmas as he counts down the days until Christmas.
- Mini squirt gun
- Lego minifigures
- Parachute guys
- Matchbox cars
- Thomas and Friends minis
- Nerf gun bullets
- Mini flashlight
- Glow sticks
- Little note from Mom or Dad
Activity Ideas for Advent Calendars
Your advent calendar doesn’t have to be filled with “things” at all. Instead of putting food and trinkets in your calendar, why not use experiences and activities to fill up your holiday countdown? Write down these ideas on a piece of paper and place it in the advent calendar. Then, do the activity listed each day to create some holiday memories with your kids:
- Drive around town to look at Christmas lights
- Bake Christmas cookies together
- Watch your favorite Christmas movie
- Go shopping for gifts with Mom or Dad
- Write Christmas cards to friends and family members
- Read your favorite Christmas book
- Decorate the Christmas tree together
- Make your own ornaments to hang on the tree
- Go caroling around the neighborhood
- Write a letter to Santa
- Hang the stockings on the mantle
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Wrap Christmas presents and put them under the tree
- Visit Santa to tell him what you want for Christmas
- Watch a Christmas parade
In addition to holiday activities, you could also include experience gifts in your advent calendar.
Surprise your kids with these experiences during the holiday season:
- Movie tickets
- Concert tickets
- Gift cards to their favorite restaurant or ice cream shop
- Tickets to a holiday event
- Money to buy Christmas gifts
- Coupons for family activities
- Holiday scavenger hunt
We also have a list of stocking stuffer ideas for college students you may like!