Toddler Advent Activities: Holiday Traditions

Toddler Advent Activities: Holiday Traditions

Do you remember making these paper advent calendars at school? I do! And I loved them! After searching around for a simple, fun, yet easy to make advent calendar, I decided that I would stick to what I know and incorporate the paper chain advent calendar into our family holiday traditions.

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Nothing fancy; just strips of paper stapled together to create a chain perfect for little fingers to tear, one for each day closer to Christmas. Alina pretty much has no clue why a paper chain is hanging on the wall  in between her and Sebastian’s room, but she likes the idea of being able to rip paper. And it being Christmas.

Family Holiday Traditions Focused on Charity, Family, Friends

There are many advent calendars out there with little slots that hold daily treats for the kids. I’ve seen treats such as little chocolates, other food goodies, even big ol’ gifts. But. Here’s the thing. In raising my kids, and building our family heritage, I want this season to be about more than treats and gifts. Alina and Sebastian will be ridiculously spoiled come Christmas day, make no doubt about it. And, in general, these kids lead a very charmed life on a daily basis. So, offering an unearned daily treat just didn’t seem right to me. The holiday season should be about more than just self, and if even still a toddler, laying the foundation of generosity, appreciation of family and recognition of friendship is important to do. This is the time to establish meaningful holiday traditions.

On the inside of each ring that makes up our paper chain advent calendar, I’ve written an activity for us to complete that day. Some are simple, but some are family sized excursions that Alina will especially enjoy. Here are some ideas…

Christmas Traditions – Toddler Sized Charity

We’ve been using the words “generous” and “charity” much more these days. In a purposed, yet age appropriate way, I prompt Alina to visualize herself giving to others. It was shocking how resistance she was to it at first. But through simple analogies, she has gotten much better in just thinking about donating toys. On our advent calendar, we have two days that I foresee being a challenge. Alina wants a toy (pink) horse for Christmas; she has seen and asked Santa twice for it. So, we will be purchasing a toy horse to donate to “a little girl who doesn’t have as much”. Also, I have been preparing Alina for the day when we donate the largest toy she owns. It’s actually a hand me down from a friend, and in its place Alina is getting a sparkly new kitchen on December 25th, but since she doesn’t know that, the thought of donating this toy has been rough. I’m not even sure it will happen before Christmas, but at least we are discussing it. A few other charitable activities include: thanking our favorite Librarians with thoughtful cards and gifts, being sure to wish strangers a cheerful “Happy Holidays!” and showing gratitude.  What toddler sized charitable activities do you incorporate?

Appreciating our Friends and Family – Holiday Traditions

This season we want to make sure our friends know how much they are loved. For those that live in other states, Alina and I are making cards while talking about our special friendships. We’ll be sending love notes all over the country – from Atlanta to South Carolina to Northern California. We also planned advent activities and invited our Vegas friends to enjoy those moments. Activities include: building gingerbread houses, writing letters to Santa, going shopping for Daddies and Christmas crafts. It is also my sister’s birthday in December, so focusing on her is also on our advent calendar to remind Alina that the holidays are a time to celebrate her Auntie, too.

A few advent activities that we are cherishing as a family of four include: making snowflakes to hang in her bedroom, reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Alina is a huge Dr Seuss fan – check our her Dr Seuss Party!), have a picnic dinner under our Christmas tree, make homemade hot coco, go ice skating and a few other fun local activities.
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 Cheers to a splendid holiday season!





  1. We really are feeling the same about what lessons we want to teach our kiddos during the holidays ha! We’re doing the same thing with a note a day, only the notes are inside a small wooden advent calendar house. So much better than a candy or toy for sure because like you said, they will be showered with gifts come Christmas day. You want to hear something funny too?! My daughter has requested a pink pony toy for Christmas (along with a few other things of course), lol.

  2. P.s. I LOVE the “have a picnic under the Christmas tree” note! I’m gonna have to switch one out for that one :D.

  3. Vanessa, I am enjoying your blog and the Toddler sized activities, Thank you! I also though you would appreciate this… When putting out Tree up we had to rearrange toy and of course we decided it was also a good time to give some away (we have explained that there are children who don’t have toys). So our largest toy and a favorite, was a pink castle tent. The girls loved playing hide and seek in it and pilling their favorite toys in it. The castle took up the spot where we put our tree each year so as we were taking it down and Taylor started asking questions about if we would put it back after Christmas, etc. by the end of the conversation she said, “Maybe we should give it to the kids who don’t have any toys?” Our hearts melted and we took it to Goodwill! Tomorrow we are going to my husband’s office to give two new toys to “kids who don’t have toys” and I can’t wait to see Taylor’s reaction-Morgan (18 month) is still a little young to understand but she will be giving one of the toys too!

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