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20 Advent Calendar Activity Ideas

Advent Calendar Activities

It's almost time to bring out our advent calendar.  Our calendar has been a happy tradition for us (I love traditions, especially around the holidays) but it includes mostly activities and experiences each day, instead of chocolates or gifts.  I keep a box with the ornaments, activity cards, books and other items that we use year after year, so that everything is organized and ready to go.

Here are 20 Advent Calendar Activity Ideas from my home to yours!

1. Random Act of Kindness - Each family member receives a small amount of money to go out and perform a random act of kindness for someone else.

2. Shop for a gift for children less fortunate - Place an amount of money inside so that your child knows his or her budget. Wrap it up together and take your gift to a local drop-off site for holiday giving.

3. Make an ornament or decoration - Include all of the materials, supplies and instructions for a small craft project.  You can find ideas on my holiday Pinterest board.

4. Watch a special Christmas movie with treats - There are so many great Christmas movies.  The DVD could be included in the advent calendar (if there's room) along with a package of un-popped popcorn and some candies or chocolates (or healthier treats, if you prefer!) If you don't have room in the actual advent calendar, leave a little clue to find the items. 

5. Hot chocolate made especially for you - include marshmallows, or wrap up the hot chocolate in special packaging. Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board. 

6. Today we decorate the Christmas tree - every year, part of our advent calendar includes special ornaments that we use year after year.  You could also include a new ornament - something that you've made yourself

7. Animals deserve a special treat too.  Today we'll feed the ducks - include a small bag of birdseed!

8. Christmas colouring book - You can buy an inexpensive book, or you can make your own out of free printable colouring pages.

9. Let's make a snowman - This is a great invitation to play if you have snow outside - otherwise, you can improvise and make an indoor snowman.  Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board.

10. Your special Christmas pillowcase - Our kids each have their own special holiday pillowcase that we take out each year.  It's a lovely tradition, so we include it with the advent calendar activities. 

11. Make Christmas cards -I love homemade cards, and try to get the kids involved.  You can include some blank cards, colouring objects and embellishments for an invitation to create.

12. Decorate the windows in your room. - Include window decals (can be used year after year) or paper and scissors for making paper snowflakes.

13. Listen to fun Christmas music - Include an age-appropriate Christmas CD (can be used year after year).  My absolute all-time favouite (from my childhood) is Dolly and Kenny's "Once Upon A Christmas"

14. Make a gingerbread house. - If you have room, you could include a small bought gingerbread house kit, or you could make a graham cracker house.  Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board.

15. Have a picnic dinner in front of the tree - they might find some of the picnic supplies under the tree that morning - a blanket, maybe a picnic basket and some fun Christmas dishes perhaps?

16. Read Christmas stories together - at our house, we have a whole container of holiday books. Early in the month, we include a card that announces the arrival of the holiday book box.  It's always exciting to have new stories to read.  If you don't own holiday books, you could include a trip to the library to pick some.

17. Go for a drive to see the holiday lights - this is a tradition that we look forward to every year. You could also do a neighbourhood lights walk together as a family.

18.  Bake Christmas cookies, or make cinnamon salt dough ornaments - the Oliver Bakes Cookies story card, included with Petit Mail holiday gift sets, would be the perfect thing to include with this activity.

19.  Make an ornament time capsule - this is something that I started last year, and I love it!  Using a clear plastic ornament, we write the year on the outside with a gold sharpie, then I ask the kids some favourite memories from the year.  We write them on small red pieces of paper and slip them into the ornament.

20. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper - use a roll of white paper, or kraft paper.  Include paints, or stamps - a great invitation to play, or activity to do together as a family.

Holiday Gift Sets: Monthly Subscription for Kids

Back by popular demand, Petit Mail story postcard subscription Holiday Gift Sets are now available in the shop.

If you've been thinking about gifting a Petit Mail subscription, now is the perfect time to order.

Holiday Gift Set + Subscription Includes:

(+) A pre-packaged, double-sided Petit Mail story postcard - "Oliver Bakes Cookies" and envelope, ready for gifting or mailing.

(+) A gift subscription card and pre-ordered gift subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months (January start, or let us know that you'd like a different start month)

(+) Gift set postage costs included with your order for Canada and US addresses.

Petit Mail is a double-sided story postcard, mailed in a bright colorful envelope and addressed to your child each month, featuring the adventures of Oliver + Olivia.

How Petit Mail Works

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail.
Give your child the gift of a monthly snail mail surprise.

Petit Mail provides something to look forward to receiving together and encourages quality time together as a family.

3, 6 or 12 month Canadian and US subscriptions cost $6 per month and all prices INCLUDE postage. International subscriptions are also available.

Story Card Themes (by month) Are:

January: Oliver Explores Art
February: Olivia's Pen Pal
March: Oliver Loves Reading

April: Olivia The Superhero
May: Oliver Goes Camping
June: Olivia Plants A Garden

July: Oliver Learns About Fossils
August: Olivia's Science Project
September: Oliver Recycles

October: Olivia Builds A Boat
November: Oliver's Puppet Show
December: Olivia Plays Dress Up

It's fun, affordable, and gives you a unique way to spend quality time with your kids. Let your story card inspire new ideas and new ways to play!

Free Petit Mail Story Postcard: Olivia's Acts of Kindness

Try your FREE sample Petit Mail story postcard

Been thinking about a snail mail subscription for that special little in your life?

Here's a chance to try a sample Petit Mail story postcard for FREE.

This free sample is electronic, it doesn't come in the mail, BUT the postcard is personalized with your child's name!

Think about how much FUN it will be to open up your tablet, or computer and read along with your Petit Mail story postcard together.

What's The Theme Of The Free Postcard? 

The theme for this sample story postcard is "Olivia's Acts of Kindness" - a great way to encourage your child to be creative, and spread a little love and kindness in your own community. In this postcard, Olivia draws pictures and writes happy notes to leave behind and brighten someone else's day. A perfect way to teach and encourage thoughtfulness.

Refer a Friend! 

Know someone who would love to receive this FREE Petit Mail story postcard? Be sure to SHARE.

Free Printable Postcard

Free Postcard Template

NJ and I love working on snail mail projects together.  It's a wonderful opportunity for us to have mommy-daughter time, plus we get to be creative.  We enjoyed our recent preschool Pen Pal exchange so much that I've been wanting to try other ideas to encourage letter-writing and discovering the joys of snail mail.

FREE Printable Postcards

With this month's Petit Mail postcard theme being recycling, I created a printable postcard template that can be glued to recycled cardboard - the front can then be decorated ANY way you want.  Try collage, painting, drawing - the sky is the limit.

Don't you love how they turned out? These free printable postcard templates, feature Petit Mail characters Oliver and Olivia.  Just sign up below to receive two free DIY postcard templates.

Want to Send Your Own DIY Postcard?
Sign up now to receive your 2 free printable postcard templates +
inspiration for creating your own DIY postcards.

Tips for Making Your Own DIY Postcard

You can divide this project into several parts, depending on how much time you have.  We made ours over 2 days.

The first day, we put together our postcard and NJ decorated the front of the cardboard with her own original design.

The second day, she decided who she wanted to send her postcard to, and wrote her note on the back. She is so much more motivated to practice her writing when we are working on projects like this!

Hope you have as much fun making your postcards as we did!

Happy Snail Mail,


Fairy Garden Gifts for Kids

Kids Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden Gifts for Kids

I'm a big believer in non-toy gifts for kids.  Gifts that spark imagination, play, creativity and maybe even some learning!  Recently I've been inspired by Fairy Gardens, what a magical gift idea for a child.  Uncover inspiration here for your own fairy garden gift - including both DIY and pre-made options.  

Build-Your-Own Fairy Garden Kits

Kits allow a child to build his or her own fairy garden using a variety of creative supplies. Here are a few gorgeous ideas to make your own fairy garden gift kit, or purchase a ready-made kit filled with fairy garden supplies. 

Left: DIY Fairy Garden Gift Basket from How Does She
Top Right: DIY Fairy Garden in a Box from the Asylum
Bottom Right: Fairy House Kit in a Box from The Magic Onion

Gift a Fairy Garden

Another option is to gift a pre-made fairy garden.  Here are a couple of my favourite ideas - I love both of these ideas because they can be used both inside and outside. 

Left: DIY Teacup Garden - a full tutorial for creating this pint-sized fairy garden from Life is a Party. Right: This gorgeous little fairy garden from FairyElements is the definition of sweet.

Fairy Door Tours

I love the idea of gifting experiences - local business Fairy Door Tours in St. John's, NL takes children and adults on an enchanted woodland walk looking for fairy doors. We loved our tour, filled with opportunity to leave small treasures for the fairies, including sending notes in a fairy-sized mailbox (which of course is our FAVOURITE!).  If you do not live in our area, check your local region for similar ideas!

How can you make an experience gift memorable?  

Pair your outing with a fairy or gnome dress-up costume, a book about fairies, or a fairy garden kit.  Take photos during your experience and present an image in a special frame after the fact as a reminder of all the fun.

You can find more non-toy gift ideas and inspiration here
Want to Spend More Time with Your Kids & Focus on What REALLY Matters?

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Top image by my amazing friend september