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It’s that time of year again. The 25 days before Christmas. As a mom, I want to make these 25 days extra special and festive. There are some big things that we do, like Christmas parties or special Christmas events. Those are important but the smaller things are special too. Some people like doing Elf on a Shelf but I prefer doing an Advent Calendar for kids. There are editable cards to add your own activity in and picture cards for toddlers and non-readers. Going to visit Santa? Put the picture card of Santa under the number! Making hot cocoa Add the cup of cocoa!

Advent Calendar Ideas and Printables for making Christmas countdowns fun for them and easy for you! 15 non candy ideas to fill up your calendar.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t do that Elf on the Shelf thing. I want to want to do it. One of my best friends has a great time thinking of different mischief for her-I mean her daughters’- elf, Angel Ink Pen, to get in to.  But I see that creepy little elf and all that messes it makes and I just think: “Ugh. Someone will have to make that mess and then clean it up.” And guess who that someone would be? Me. Uh-uh. Ain’t no way. I refuse to create another mess for ME to clean up. And then to remember to even move it every night? Gah. Nope.

Simple Advent Calendar Idea

I’m not evil, though. Like I said, I do want to create some magical moments for my children. That is where the advent calendar comes in. The 25 day count down to Christmas is here and this year I am prepared! Now, in years past, I would hand draw a Christmas tree, fireplace and even a table, on a piece of paper and stick it in the small hole that is provided on the advent calendar. I mean, what else was I supposed to do?! I have 4 kids and the size of the itty bitty spaces on advent calendars would fit maybe one Hershey kiss? What fun is that?

Advent Calendar Ideas and Printables for making Christmas countdowns fun for them and easy for you! 15 non candy ideas to fill up your calendar.

So instead of dividing one Hershey kiss into fours, I would hide the special little treats for each of them around the house and give them clues to where to find them. That is how I started making these horrible little drawings that were sometimes difficult to decipher.

This year, I got super smart and made a cheat sheet of advent calendar ideas and printables. I wanted to give you some non-candy ideas so that maybe you didn’t have to give your little loves sugar each day and could just do what I do and give it to them when you forgot to buy or plan something fun. Now, a little hint for you that makes it cheaper and easier, if you already do holiday traditions, write those on a coupon and stick it in there. Like making gifts for family members or going shopping together (does anyone actually do this with young kids?!). Below, I’ve listed some other non-candy ideas and have included the printables to place in the advent calendar.

Non Candy Advent Calendar Ideas

    • Look at Christmas lights
    • Bake cookies
    • Have a movie night
    • Stay up past your bedtime
    • Go shopping for gifts for other family members (taking the kids to the dollar store is a cheaper, and sometimes hilarious way (hair gel for bald Uncle Bill?) to let kids pick out gifts for their loved ones
    • Computer/iPad time
    • Dessert night
    • Happy Meal for dinner
    • Sleepover with a friend
    • Polar Express Train Ride
    • Open one present early
    • Make an ornament
    • Family game night
    • Sing Christmas carols


PLEASE READ BEFORE DOWNLOADING: These advent calendar for kids cards are completely free to use- you just need to sign up for canva if you don’t have an account yet so you can edit them. After clicking on the link and signing in, PLEASE PLEASE make sure you make a copy in your own account BEFORE editing the file so that it stays the same and consistent for everyone to use. If you edit the original file, everyone that clicks the link after you will see what you added instead of the template.


Click on the blue download here button, sign up or log in to your account. Go to file and scroll down to MAKE COPY. Voila! Done!


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