Weekend Creative | Advent Action Cards

I'm a big fan of Advent calendars.

Many of you have seen the Advent boxes I made back in 2007 (inspired by Martha). I'm currently looking for new place to hang them in our house. Last year we also had a LEGO® City Advent Calendarbecause they are just super fun for each morning. This year we're going to have both again + a little something else.

The little something else for 2010 are hand-drawn Advent cards with specific actions to be taken each day.

Here's a video that shows you what I did and talks a bit more about the project.

Ali Edwards | Advent Action Cards from Ali Edwards on Vimeo.

Here's the how-to for this project:


For each of the daily sentiments I wanted to head in the direction of answering this question: what things that can help our kids look beyond themselves and celebrate the season. That was my initial focus.

I want words that require action. I want activities that are developmentally appropriate. I want things that are fun. I want activities that invoke the spirit of the season. I also want to include a few fun traditions like looking at lights while drinking hot cocoa, getting our tree and visiting Santa.

I like the idea that these cards can act as a road map for the season. I like that each day Simon (with a little help from Anna) can pick out a card and it can steer us in a specific direction for the afternoon or evening.

Here's what I've come up with so far (I'd love to read your suggestions and ideas in the comments section):

  1. Tell a friend at school you think they're really cool.
  2. Take a special treat to a neighbor.
  3. Pick a name from the giving tree. Find a gift for that person.
  4. Make a small stocking. Drop it off on someone's door as a surprise.
  5. Make a card for a loved one and send it in the mail.
  6. Recycle some toys to share with others.
  7. Read a Christmas book to your sister.
  8. Light a candle and say a prayer for a loved one far away.
  9. Take food to a local food pantry.
  10. Take a trip to get the Christmas Tree.
  11. Go see Santa.
  12. Go look at Christmas lights & drink hot cocoa.
  13. Make thank you notes before they are needed.
  14. Write a list of 10 things you are thankful for this year. Share with your Grandma


Doris, one of the super creative members of the Designer Digitals team, used the PNG files on top of photos to create this set of Advent cards that she'll be hanging on some branches in her home. She originally emailed asking me to make some more hand-drawn Christmas boxes where the words were farther down on the box - leaving room for a cute face. Thanks for the inspiration Doris!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

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144 thoughts

  1. Beckie says…

    Love all these ideas. So much better than gift giving everyday. Acts of service are great for our kids to learn early!

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  3. Cecilia says…

    Just came across this in Pinterest. What a great idea! My children are 3 and 5 and for the past few years I had been doing a toy countdown calendar. Fun, but it made me feel that I was adding to the sense of self-entitlement of my kids, rather than make them aware of the real reason for the season. Last year I added an activity calendar to the toy one, and it was so successful that my kids don't even remember the toy one anymore... just to say that they would rather do something fun together than get a cheap inky-dinky toy, ah! This year I plan on adding a daily act of selflessness to the regular activity calendar and nix the toy one. I love your suggestions. I think also sending a drawing to a far away relative or call them on the phone is something I will add to mine...

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Carrie says…

    Instead of making gingerbread houses, make Christmas trees out of ice cream cones and candy. (the waffle cones)

    Reply 0 Replies
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    [...] they share a felt pocket calendar that we hand-stitched ourselves.  Within each pocket is an advent action card that reveals a special holiday activity or special [...]

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  8. Krista says…

    Love the ideas here. I came across this post last year & thought about incorporating some into our daily activities this year.


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  9. Vanessa Babin says…

    My sisters, nieces and I make pralines (a recipe from my grandmother) every year the weekend before Christmas while the great grandchildren decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We have been doing a Charlie Brown tree for over 30 years.
    I also decorate a gingerbread house with my grandchildren and they also help us decorate the outside of the house including putting up our nativity scene in the yard.

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  10. Karen Watson says…

    LOVE LOVE LOVE.......that is all!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Stephanie Hackney says…


    Love the way you're making your Advent Calendar.

    I just finished on for a special little girl and will be making another one tomorrow for two sisters. I'll have pictures posted, with a quick tutorial, on the blog this week.

    I was a military brat and my parents didn't have much money, but they definitely instilled the spirit of giving in me (year-round).

    Here are some of the things we did as a family:
    -Buy and donate toys to Toys For Tots
    -Hand down my nice dresses (made by my mom) to those who were less fortunate so they had nice clothes for the holiday and beyond.
    -Read the Christmas Story
    -Attend Midnight Mass

    My mom and I also:
    -Made bread dough ornaments
    -Baked German Christmas goodies (and gave many away)
    -Attended the Christkindtmarkt (Christmas Market)

    As adults, my husband and I have:
    -Donated toys to Toys for Tots
    -Donated toys to our local (police dept.) toy drive
    -Adopted a family and bought (and wrapped) gifts for them
    -Made or bought goodies for the local firehouse
    -"Secretly" bought drinks for other Starbuck's customers
    -Bought (10) $5 gift cards and handed them out to homeless people we saw while out running errands, Christmas shopping, etc.
    -Hosted an ornament exchange (OK, this was me, not my husband!)
    -Made specialty candy for family and friends and sent it out in tins (this is a popular thing among our friends!)
    -Donated money to the Salvation Army (money in the red kettles!)
    -Watched our favorite holiday movies
    -Attended a Christmas concert
    -Gone to see a new blockbuster movie (this year: The Hobbit!)
    -Brought cookies and candy to the post office workers on Christmas Eve day
    -Left treats for our mailman
    -Tipped our landscaper, hair stylists, etc.

    This year we will do a few of the above in addition to:
    -Make goodies and drop them off at our local Senior Citizens home
    -Buy blankets to hand out to the homeless
    -Donate shoes to the local shoe drive
    -Bring a hot drink to a local Salvation Army bell ringer
    -Take a donation to our local children's hospital - for the staff who are working over the holidays
    -"Ornament Bomb" a neighbor's trees! (I've never done this, but I so want to!!!)

    Hopefully some of these ideas will be options or spark your imagination with others.

    Happy Holidays to you, Katie, Simon and Anna.


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