When we were young, my sister and I had an advent calendar that my mom made us out of felt. Each day we would wake up and see which felt ornament we got to place on the tree. We were so happy when the advent calendar came out on Dec 1 as it was the countdown to Santa's arrival. The anticipation would build each day and the only thing we would fight about was who got to put the ornament on the tree.
My daughter is 2 and this year we are going to start our own advent calendar tradition. We have the Wee Gallery advent calendar and I love the flexibility of choosing what items to put in each pocket. You can make it your own. You can choose to put chocolates in each one, or little gifts or schedule in activities when the day lands on a weekend. We have decided to mix it up with a few gifts and activities but foregoing the chocolate.
Here are our Modern Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids
Saturday Dec. 1 - Buy a Coffee for a Stranger
We start the weekend off with Coffee, yes coffee. Every weekend, we walk to get a latte and a babyccino and buy our morning groceries for a fancy brunch at home. This time we will also buy a coffee for a stranger and talk about doing nice things for people for no reason.
Sunday Dec. 2 - Donate your used Clothing
Time to clear out your closets and donate what you don't need. Get your toddler to help. This helps begin tidy the house for any guests coming to visit plus make room for the gifts you may receive from family. I usually have a box of clothing in the closet where all the clothing my daughter has grown out of already. Just bag it up and bring it to the charity shop.
Have your toddler choose 3 of their baby toys that they will give away to someone in need.
Here are a few local charities that we believe in as they all help mothers in need.
Kelowna: Mamas for Mamas
Mamas for Mamas is a local award winning charitable organization that supports mothers in crisis, and provides ongoing support to low income Mamas and their kids
Montreal: Women On The Rise
Women On The Rise supporting isolated, low income and single mothers with children between 0-5 years old by empowering and coaching women in their personal, economic and social development while promoting optimal development of their young children.
Toronto: Jessie's Centre
Jessie's Centre works to help pregnant teenagers smoothly transition into motherhood by providing them with resources and goods. The centre is always on the lookout for baby clothes, clothes for young women and maternity wear.
Monday Dec. 3 - A Cozy Hat
Of course, we are going to recommend our striped pom pom hat for the advent calendar. ;-) It is fleece lined and gives a cozy Scandinavian vibe.
A pack of crayons/pencil crayons or markers. I love the Ikea Mala pencil crayons that also double as water colour when you use a wet brush.
Tuesday Dec. 4 - Crayons
Wednesday Dec. 5 - Colouring Book
We love the Miniso colouring books as they have quirky images and are gender neutral. (This link goes to the Australian website but we have it from the Miniso shop in Montreal)
Thursday Dec. 6 - Stickers
Everyone loves stickers! Super easy to put in the pockets and if you want to spread the sticker love, cut them up and put them in multiple pockets! Great also if you have multiple children.
Friday Dec. 7 - Socks
What is better than putting on a pair of brand new socks? We have a cute selection of striped socks from Mingo.
Saturday Dec. 8 - Make an Ornament
Weekends are for activities! Here is this Saturday's easy craft that you won't mind putting on the tree.
Buy clear plastic ornaments that are fillable from a craft shop. This year, we will fill ours with faux greenery that will look fab on our tree. You can also fill with coloured pom poms, feathers or sparkles (if you dare). Match them to your colour scheme.
Sunday Dec. 9 - Decorate the Tree!
Enough said, they will be so excited. It's also something you would do anyway so why not build it into the calendar.
Monday Dec. 10 - Toothbrush
This is the type of thing that I love putting in an advent calendar. It's something they need, it gets them excited to use a new toothbrush. Find one they will love.
Tuesday Dec. 11 - Mini Lego
Mini anything really. Mini lego, mini cars, mini animals. The dollar store is your best friend.
Wednesday Dec. 11 - Learn a new Christmas Song
Get singing and playing those instruments! Choose a song that you don't mind hearing every. single. day. Basically, Little Drummer Boy is in my head every year anyway due to the fact that the David Bowie and Bing Crosby's version is my favourite Christmas song. So I will go with that. Plus, your toddler will love to bang on a drum for this one.
Thursday Dec. 13 - Get Cozy
This time of year, you just want to be cozy. The pocket on the Wee Gallery Advent Calendar is large on this day so I like to take advantage of the space and stuff a new sweater inside. This one is a particular favourite as it is as cozy as it looks.
Friday Dec. 14 - Finger Puppets
The little pockets are perfect for little finger puppets. My pick are from Ikea again.
Saturday Dec. 15 - Bake Cookies
The third weekend of the month brings the spirit and smell of Christmas into the house! Bake some cookies with your littles and then package a few of them up to bring to a neighbour. These ones are a healthy(er) almond and cinnamon star cookies.
Sunday Dec. 16 - Go see some Christmas Lights
Whether it's bundling up with some hot chocolate and going for a walk in the neighbourhood, or piling into the car to see some extravagantly decorated homes this one is a tradition that we loved as kids (and still do as adults)
Find a 4-6 puzzle or a larger one to spread out the pieces across a few pockets.
Monday Dec. 17 - A Small Puzzle
Tuesday Dec. 18 - Temporary Tattoos
As like stickers, they are small and easy to separate for multiple kids or multiple days. We love these modern, graphic Wee Gallery tattoos.
Wednesday Dec. 19 - A Mini Book
This pocket is also larger on the Wee Gallery Advent Calendar so even a small paperback book that you can roll up would fit here. A Christmas themed one is what you may want here ;-)
Thursday Dec. 20 - Bath Bomb
I can guarantee squeals of joy when the see this bath bomb sizzling around them in the bath. The magic of the Lush Bath Bomb for Kids.
Friday Dec. 21 - Undies
As my daughter is newly into wearing underwear she loves getting new underwear. I love the Dott Child underwear set that also come with tops for wearing under sweatshirts. Put one set in the pocket for today and save the rest for the stocking.
Saturday Dec. 22 - A Ticket to See Santa
Cut out a fancy piece of paper in the shape of a ticket and tell them to keep is safe!
Sunday Dec. 23 - Wrap Presents!
Toddlers love helping so why not give them the task of holding down the ribbon for you to tie a bow. They will also get excited not just to receive gifts but also to give them.
Monday Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve Stuffed Toy
In the Finnish tradition, Santa Claus comes when the night falls on Christmas Eve. In Finland, they believe that Santa Claus lives in Lapland in the North of Finland and since he needs to deliver the world's presents by morning, he begins with the closest children.
During the day, everyone is busy cooking and baking for the evening and as soon as it is dark, the children go for a sauna and when they come out the gifts are under the tree. We used to hear a loud bang that was meant to be the sound of the reindeer landing on the roof. We would come running out but always missing him by a second.
I am going to continue the tradition of gift giving on Christmas Eve but to finish of the advent, I will give a slightly larger gift to keep her company while we are also busy preparing.
If you like our ideas and want it as a reference. Download our Full Calendar of Ideas Here for FREE.