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Easy DIY Modern Christmas Advent Calendar

Christmas time is one of the busiest times of the year! 

Have you ever pondered how you could make the month of December more meaningful for your family? 

What are some fun and easy activities that YOU can do as a family to make lasting family memories during one of the busiest times of the year? 

Today, we're going to show you just how easy, simple & FUN it is to connect with your family with this Modern Christmas Tree Advent Calendar complete with twenty-five activity ideas to help you and your family count down to Christmas!

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

Several Christmas's ago when my kids were younger I was so concerned about the timing and production that went into making everything festive and memorable for the holidays that I forgot to make the memories.

I remember sitting amongst the torn wrapping paper and opened boxes and looking at my family somewhat exhausted and not remembering much of what took place during the last month. Oh sure,

I had our family pictures taken, sent out our Christmas cards, made goodies for the teachers, neighbors and friends, cleaned our house, purged and cleaned out closets to make room for new toys, purchased gifts for our extended family, wrapped everything with cute paper and ribbons and labels and decorated the inside and out of our home.

All of those boxes were checked, but the most important box of living in the moment and soaking in the faces and connecting with our children had somehow taken a back seat to "being busy".

It didn't feel good and I didn't like it. So, we changed course and I let some things go.

Making memories with my kids was going to be the number one priority for our little family.

We needed a little reminder every December so I created a special advent calendar and as a family we came up with different family activity ideas and wrote them on slips of papers and paired them with a day on our calendar.

It has made all the difference!

When we're ready to decorate for the holidays, it's the first thing my boys talk about and ask for. Some years we keep the same activities and some years we add new ones.

We're flexible because let's face it, some evenings are just busy with meetings, school activities and concerts. On those nights that we have limited time we've built in slips of paper that read a "Read a Christmas story together". 

On those nights the boys choose a wrapped Christmas story from under our tree and we snuggle in our bed and read it together.

If you'd like to do something similar, we've put together a list of our Favorite 55 Christmas Books for Kids! You can read about it here.

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Here are a few popular activities our family enjoys doing together...

25 Family Christmas Activity Ideas For An Advent Calendar

  1. -Have snowman pancakes for dinner.
  2. -Get jammies on, drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  3. -Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar night.
  4. -Go pick out our tree.
  5. -Go for a Winter walk.
  6. -Christmas movie & popcorn night.
  7. -Deck The Halls (Decorate our tree and put up our outside lights.)
  8. -Go iceskating.
  9. -Make goodies for neighbors/local police & fire station.
  10. -Deliver goodies.
  11. -Act out the nativity.
  12. -Family game night.
  13. -Write letters to Santa Claus!
  14. -Watch First Presidency Christmas Devotional
  15. -Christmas craft (usually involves eating it) :)
  16. -Go sledding.
  17. -Secret Santa to a family.
  18. -Make Orange rolls or Cinnamon rolls
  19. -Family Shopping Trip
  20. -Gather up some toys you don't love and donate them.
  21. -Make a list of 10 things you are thankful for. Call Grandma/Grandpa and read them the list.
  22. -Picnic dinner around the Christmas tree.
  23. -Read a Christmas story together. (Have a few duplicates of this one for the busy nights)

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BONUS! Here are a few more family Christmas activity ideas...

-Write letters to Santa.
-Make paper snowflakes.
-Christmas music dance-a-thon!
-Go sledding.
- Act out the nativity.
-Christmas light scavenger hunt.
-Make a real wreath out of tree trimmings.
-Make Christmas tree decorations.
-Random act of service.


Modern Christmas Tree Advent Calendar Tutorial

Modern Christmas Advent Tree Supply List:

(Some of the links below are affiliate links for your shopping convenience.

White Yardstick
Pattern Paper
- Scissors
Miniature 24" Christmas Tree
Gold Spray Paint
- Clothespins (Dollar Store)
Number Chipboard 
Number Template (personal use only)

1. Spray your clothes pins with gold spray paint.

2. While it's drying create your numbered cards in Word using a variety of different fonts or use our FREE template cards and print them on white cardstock. Trim to size.

3. Add a little variety with pattern paper, chipboard numbers and embellishments.

4. Once finished, simply clip your glitzy clothespins to your number cards and place on your tree.

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I'd love to hear from YOU! What are some of your favorite family traditions? Leave your ideas in the comments for all to see.

If you are interested in making something similar, I'm offering mine as a FREE printable! (For personal use only.)

We open Christmas Pajamas every Christmas Eve. Do you do the same?

We've put together a list of our Favorite Places To Buy Budget Friendly AND ADORABLE Matching Christmas Pajamas here. Here's our  Top 50+ Favorite Christmas Book Resource List for Kids.

A HUGE thank you to Redbook Magazine for including our advent calendar in their Roundup! We're working on am  EASY and gorgeous DIY Coffee Filter Christmas Wreath next!

Happy Memory Making!
Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street

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  1. Cute idea! I love how it looks on the tree! And the ideas are great! I like how some of them are doing something for someone else. That is an important part of Christmas. Enjoy the season!

  2. I absolutely love this! I always forget to stop and make my own memories so this is absolutely perfect! I'll have to make my own little tree... or maybe even a garland! Thanks for linking up with us over at Welcome Home Wednesdays! Can't wait to see what you link up with us this week!

  3. What a great family project Carrie. Thank you for sharing it on Shabbilicious Friday. I'm delighted to be featuring it at tomorrow's party. Hugs ~ Kerryanne

    1. Kerryanne- Thank you for stopping by and for featuring this project that rings close to my heart!

  4. That such a lovely idea Carrie. It's so easy to forget what Christmas is really all about in the mad rush to do things, while all around us the most beautiful memories are being made. Memories that don't cost a lot but that have the ability to change someones life.

    1. There are so many things that we can do to really connect with the people we love. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money, we just have to carve out the time. :)

  5. An advent calendar has been on my list. Love yours! And the little tree part is so perfect.

  6. So very important to remember what is truly important in life. Thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!

  7. Carrie, I am a huge sucker for fonts and graphics, this is the coolest idea ever! The clothes pins look so festive in gold against the white tree. I have a silver tinsel mini tree and this looks like the perfect decoration for it! Thanks for sharing the idea and congrats for the shout out from Redbook! How cool is that!

    1. I'm a sucker for typography too! And black and white combinations. And white Christmas trees. And gold. Thanks for stopping by, Nikki!

  8. This post is beautiful in all aspects, the list of activities, the fact you do all these wonderful things with your family and the gorgeous fonts and graphics. I really enjoyed reading this.

    1. Thank you, Leanna! It really takes effort to connect, but it's so worth it!

  9. These are absolutely incredible, how have I never seen anything like this and why on earth did I not think to do it myself!! Kicking myself right now.