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Advent Calendar

Paul and I have a tradition where we do an advent calendar and everyday we try to do an activity to get us excited for Christmas. December 1 is a week and half away so we are starting to think about what things we will do this year. The first picture is ours from 2007 (the large white frame thing is from Pottery Barn circa 2005.)

It doesn’t have to be something big every night–it could just be making hot cocoa. But just doing something everyday get us excited for the holidays. Here is a list I posted a few years ago of possible ideas:

Go Ice Skating
Watch It’s a Wonderful Life, make spiced cider.
Exchange gifts
Make Christmas Cookies for friends.
Find Mistletoe, hang it in our house and kiss under it.
Address and Mail Christmas Cards
Go to Borders and Pick out one new Christmas CD.
Go to The Nutcracker
Handel’s Messiah Sing Along
Leave out wooden shoes on December 5
Go to the Oakland Temple to see the Nativity
Make Thick Hot Chocolate and Homemade Marshmallows
Host a Christmas Sweater Party
Put up a ribbon sash for Christmas cards
Donate canned goods
Give neighbors a present
Put up a wreath
Make a Gingerbread house
Make a popcorn garland
Make hot chocolate and read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sing (or listen) to favorite Christmas songs
Drive around to see neighborhood lights
Go out and see public light display
Read Christmas story from the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Open a gift (new stocking or pajamas or pillowcase)
Make a family traditional dessert
Eat out at a festive restaurant
Go to a seasonal movie
Tell stories of childhood Christmas around the fire
Have a romantic candlelit dinner by the Christmas tree
Make decorative sugar cookies
Sign up to purchase gifts for a needy child
Host a Christmas dessert party
Write out a Christ-centered goal to start early for the New Year
Have a movie party (classic Christmas clips)
Go to a Christmas Concert
Attend City tree lighting event
Have a full traditional breakfast while listening to Christmas music

  1. Lindsey

    November 19, 2009

    I love your idea on how to fill the advent calendar. I need to find a calendar first. Been wanting one for years. Thanks for the idea Jordan!

    { Lindsey }

  2. liz stanley

    November 19, 2009

    oh great! I want to do this too

  3. Sarah Bradley

    November 19, 2009

    I love this, what fun! Thanks for the idea!

  4. Bunny

    November 19, 2009

    I'm curious (and showing my lack of knowledge), how does the Christmas story differ in the Book of Mormon?

    Love the calendar idea, it gave me lots of ideas of what to do for the holiday when I go home to see my family.

  5. Errin

    November 19, 2009

    I was just getting excited about finding advent calendars this morning on the bus and then you posted this….thanks!

  6. i am zoe

    November 19, 2009

    oh, i love this idea!

    i'll suggest this to my husband right away in the morning. i'm anyway not in a holiday mood at all yet, even though they're already playing christmas songs in the stores.

    thanks for sharing.


  7. sierra

    November 19, 2009

    what's the wooden shoe thing all about?

  8. Miranda

    November 19, 2009

    I've always loved this idea…I remember you posting about it before. Those little packages are too adorable!

  9. LobotoME

    November 19, 2009

    love these ideas! we do an activity calendar too with our kids!

    j 🙂

  10. {natalie}

    November 19, 2009

    i love this advent calendar, it is very cool. i love that it is not especially for kids. haha. i have loved your list in the past and hope to remember to do this this year.

  11. Stephanie J. Robertson

    November 19, 2009

    i've been meaning to do something like this for a few years now and this post inspired me to get on it already! thanks for all the good ideas!

  12. michelle

    November 19, 2009

    Best thing I did last Christmas, finally doing an advent and I totally ripped off half of your ideas. And I'll be doing the same thing again this year.

  13. delightfullysweet

    November 19, 2009

    What a great idea!

  14. Fatale Femme

    November 19, 2009

    Great list of ideas! I'm trying to get excited for the holidays and maybe something like this would help, lol.

  15. Barbie

    November 19, 2009

    The advent calendar is one of my favorite memories about Christmas as a girl. Even just a Hershey Kiss was fun to uncover. I love all the ideas here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Tania

    November 20, 2009

    awesome list! I have a fun Saturday ahead of me now.

  17. Jennifer

    November 20, 2009

    I have never made or had an advent calendar, but I'm definitely thinking of doing one this year. They seem like so much fun!

  18. Jess

    November 20, 2009

    Thanks for the list! I was just thinking about this the other day…

  19. Porter

    November 20, 2009

    Thanks for helping us recapture the Christmas spirit, Jordan. Sometimes it can come off as hokey when I tell people to give activity dates instead of presents. This makes it sound really fun!

  20. Kyle and Lesley

    November 20, 2009

    Wow- thank you so much for the idea! I have been stressing trying to find the perfect advent calendar, and I've finally found it thanks to you! I am absolutely thrilled. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. jen byard

    November 21, 2009

    This is such a great way to creative memories together! I'm sitting down with my boys today to write our own list. Thanks for the idea!

  22. nicole

    November 21, 2009

    I love your ideas! I've done an advent calendar like this for the last couple of year with our kids. It's been fun to have 25 days of Christmas to get in the holiday spirit. As the kids have grown I'm able to change some of our activities, but I have some constant ones as well. I take pictures each day during the activities and create a scrapbook of our month of fun. I always add our christmas card to the back cover so we'll have a library of Christmas memories once the kids are grown and gone.

  23. Kate Buckley

    November 21, 2009

    Dear Jordan, after reading about your Advent activity list last year, I thought it was brilliant and immediately followed suit and had a very merry Christmas season, indeed. I am a sucker for lists – love making them, but not always so good on the follow through. This was an exception – thank you! And Merry Christmas.

  24. Kyra

    November 21, 2009

    Love that you give attention to the true dutch tradition Sinterklaas on december 5th.

  25. Anonymous

    November 22, 2009

    I'm curious about your Christmas Card ribbon sash – how/where do you hang it?

    I'm always looking for better ways to display our Christmas cards!

  26. MissMtheBeekeeper

    November 24, 2009

    HI Jordan,
    Ive just tried to download your amazing Paris guide and it says it's unavailable. Would it be possible to email me a copy on

    Thanks so much

  27. Liz

    November 24, 2009

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! What a wonderful and creative tradition. I might just have to steal (er, borrow…) it 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

  28. Martha

    November 28, 2009

    I absolutely love this! I hope you don't mind if I steal a few of these. You always have such fun ideas.

  29. Kate Blaylock

    November 29, 2009


    The Book of Mormon Christmas story
    does not differ in content from the Bible. The only difference is perspective, as the Book of Mormon is a history of the Americas. In the Book of Mormon a prophet, much like Abraham or Moses, saw the birth of Christ in a vision.

  30. Deborah

    December 6, 2009

    I love your ideas for doing things together instead of getting things. Very nice.

  31. liso.

    December 7, 2009

    i loved this idea when you posted it! huz and i sat down the day after thanksgiving and each came up with a list of things we wanted to do this month. it's fun to take a moment together every evening after work to celebrate the season… and so far, we're 7/7!

    thanks again!

  32. mamagnome

    November 16, 2010

    Hi! I saw this through Apt Therapy and love it! I definitely want to give it a try. This is our first year doing Christmas as a nuclear family and I think my older son is the right age to begin some traditions. Thanks for the tips!

    PS we are in Paris; please don't hesitate to get in touch about or after your move.


  33. Busy as a Bee in Paris

    December 14, 2010

    so cute!!! i love it! could you link this up to my meaningful family christmas party
    and then could you bring one of those nienie calendars when you're over in france! wink, wink
    loved your review and loved this advent calendar, thanks for sharing

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