75+ Christmas countdown ideas for kids
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‘Tis the season to create lasting Christmas memories! Get ready for a month-long extravaganza of festive activities that will make this holiday season truly unforgettable. Whether this is your first time planning an advent-style, countdown to Christmas daily activity calendar or you’re just looking for some fresh ideas, you’re about to embark on the best family adventure with these 25 days of unforgettable activities. I’ve got 75+ Christmas countdown ideas for kids that you can pick and choose from. Plus planning tips to transform your December memory making madness into organized chaos! 🙌

The Best Family Christmas Tradition

It is time. 🎅 No, I don’t like to start listening to Christmas music or put up my decorations until after Thanksgiving. BUT, I am 100% not going to enjoy the holiday season, nor carry out all of the fun traditions that my family packs into December if I don’t begin to properly plan and prepare in early November.

I share this to inspire my #MemoryMakingMindset community on LinkedIn to also get started ASAP. Why?

✨Because the magical years with our kids are going to be gone in a blink!

✨The quality time spent with your family will live on in their memories, long after you’re gone!

✨The traditions and love behind them will be passed down to your grandchildren!

✨Establishing a strong foundation will ensure your grown kids don’t opt out and hang with the in-laws instead!

✨When you’re stressed out and avoiding family time at night to finish your holiday checklist, your kids feel it!

✨Being regretful for not giving these numbered moments all of your love is something I will never allow!

Generational Family Tradition

A tradition my mom started when my sister and I were young was a December countdown, instead of a chocolate/day advent calendar. We opened a surprise activity every morning! Absolutely one of the coolest things of my childhood, and a 0% chance I would ever skip that with my 3 daughters. And my sister is the same way! And knowing my girls, I’m confident they too will pass this tradition down for generations to come. My mom made Christmastime so special and I am forever grateful❤️

Thanks Mom!

I typically see other mamas eyes widen when I share this with them, like holy crap I could never find that time to do that. But, if you think about it, I’m sure that you actually do a lot more things each year than you realize… The only difference is, my organized chaos is setup more intentionally! 🤣

As I start planning and being thoughtful about this Christmas tradition in early November, I re-use varying Christmas countdown ideas ranging from bigger to smaller effort ones. Some require coordinating schedules with others, ASAP. Even if they aren’t ready to think about Christmas yet, ha! I will note, that as the years go on, your family and friends will LOVE the traditions they get to be a part of and HAPPILY coordinate schedules with you early-on to make sure it happens! Some Christmas countdown ideas need a lot of prep, but are so worth it. Some require little to no effort whatsoever!

So, grab your calendar and use my planning tips below now because this countdown to Christmas is about to be the most memorable one yet for your kids!

75+ Christmas Countdown Ideas for Kids

Way to go, Mama! You are totally going to be THE COOLEST by incorporating this Christmas Countdown Calendar into your family’s annual traditions. Let’s get your next Memory in the Making by picking and choosing from this huge list of Christmas countdown ideas for kids!

First, I’ll start by listing a few simple ideas so that you can see that not every day has to be a giant to-do! You’re probably doing some of these already anyway. But by adding them to the countdown daily activities you build so much more excitement and anticipation for the big day!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

No Prep Christmas Activities

There’s no doubt that your life is busy already, let alone during the holiday season madness! That is why these no prep Christmas countdown ideas are a perfect choice to fill in on busy weeknights.

  1. Watching a Christmas movie
  2. Making paper snowflakes
  3. Wrap gifts for their siblings
  4. Circle wish list items in store toy catalogues
  5. Look through old Christmas photos as a family
  6. Read a Christmas story
  7. Learn Christmas songs or extra verses
  8. Go crazy and bust a move during a Christmas music dance party
  9. Give kid(s) paper and crayons to DIY their own Christmas story book
  10. Journal a favorite memory from past Christmas
  11. Have a grandparent take kid(s) shopping to buy gift for parents
  12. Santa’s workshop shopping at school
  13. Let the kid(s) decorate their own room or door with signs, string lights, stuffed animals, etc.

Next, I’ll share some super easy Christmas countdown ideas for kids that pack a big punch!

Easy Christmas Countdown Ideas for Kids

Sometimes the simplest of things can be the most magical! I love weaving these easy Christmas countdown ideas into the mix. Kids can start their activity right after school or sneak it in between basketball or dance practice!

  1. Writing a letter and mail it to Santa Claus
  2. Painting holiday ornaments
  3. Invite grandparent(s) over to play charades after weeknight dinner
  4. Indoor snowball fight
  5. Deliver cookies to neighbors
  6. Make reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter!)
  7. Go to your kid’s dance recital or winter school performance
  8. Hot cocoa by the fireplace
  9. Color a Christmas box house with markers
  10. Play antler toss game
  11. Tell Christmas jokes and riddles
  12. Wear ugly Christmas sweaters
  13. Do a random act of kindness
  14. Make a thank you card for kid’s teacher

Third, I have a list of FREE Christmas countdown ideas for kids that you’re all sure to love!

Free Activities To Do in December with Kids

The holidays can be rough on the bank account, so sprinkling in a healthy dose of free Christmas countdown ideas into the month is a great idea!

  1. Going on a winter nature walk
  2. Singing Christmas karaoke at home
  3. Volunteering at a local charity or shelter
  4. Sibling sleepover under the Christmas tree
  5. Color Christmas cards for family
  6. Kids work on a dance/talent routine/play to perform for the family on Christmas Eve
  7. Christmas music calisthenics workout to wear off some energy
  8. Making holiday decorations from recycled materials
  9. Attending a community tree lighting ceremony
  10. Church, live Nativity reenactment
  11. Drive around neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
  12. Building a snowman together
  13. Decorating the Christmas tree, house or front yard
  14. Singing carols around the neighborhood
  15. Take a nice family photo
  16. Shovel the driveway of an elderly neighbor
  17. Bundle up and watch your town’s holiday lights parade

Fourth, I have a list of Christmas countdown ideas for kids that are all about spending quality time together as a family.

Countdown to Christmas Quality Time Ideas

This is what the holiday season is all about! These Christmas countdown ideas will most certainly warm your heart!

  1. Bake or decorate Christmas cookies for Santa
  2. Family game night with holiday-themed games
  3. Going ice skating at a local rink or frozen pond
  4. Doing a holiday puzzle or craft together
  5. Drive to a nearby Christmas lights show, such as Larsons
  6. Caroling at the grandparents’ door before dinner
  7. Take kids on individual dates to gift shop for their siblings or parent
  8. DIY or go get manicure/pedicure with daughter(s)
  9. A horse and carriage ride around town
  10. Have a sleepover at family or friends, while parents have a night out or getaway trip
  11. Pass out candy canes to spread Christmas cheer in your town’s downtown or shopping center
  12. Volunteer to be a room parent for classroom holiday party
  13. Make-ahead food to bring to a party, or Christmas Eve at someone’s house
  14. Teach your kid(s) a generational family recipe

Lastly, these next ideas are going to require a lot more preparation but dang are they worth it!

Advent Calendar Ideas That Need Preparation

These are the big ones that I start penciling into my calendar first because they require the most preparation. Preparing includes things like schedule coordination, ticket purchasing, making reservations, budgeting, shopping for supplies, or require a full day’s schedule blocked.

To start, research dates of events, throw feelers out to family and friends, and consider how exhausted you and/or the kid(s) are going to be on certain days before you over-do it. Here are some over-the-top Christmas countdown calendar ideas that are sure to WOW!

  1. Invite grandparents and cousins to join you for brunch with Santa
  2. Sponsor a family’s Christmas through a local charity, such as Fox Valley United Way in Chicagoland area
  3. Host a Cookie Baking Day with all the women/girls in your family
  4. Craft night at cousin’s or friend’s house
  5. In-house scavenger hunt with clues that lead kid(s)/cousin(s)/friend(s) to their Christmas Eve PJs, so they wear throughout the month of December
  6. Create homemade gifts for friends and family
  7. Make gingerbread houses with loved ones
  8. Candy Cane Olympics with minute-to-win-it style games
  9. Walk through a local Christmas lights experience, such as at Brookfield Zoo or Morton Arboretum
  10. Walk around Christkindl Market or craft show
  11. Drive around your town with a scavenger hunt list for each kid to find in yard decorations
  12. Watch Home Alone Lost in New York movie and recreate the ice cream scene
  13. Setup sleepover teepee tents with Grinch or Christmas theme
More December Daily Activity Ideas That Require Prep…
  1. Have kids friends over for a Christmas candy-making party
  2. Coordinate a white elephant or secret Santa gift exchange with kids friends
  3. Get tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Pentatonix concert
  4. Get tickets to Cirque de Soleil or The Nutcracker performance
  5. A local park district run holiday activity
  6. DIY a photobooth
  7. Host a Christmas party with friends and their kids

I’m confident that doing any one of these will create magical moments that will stay with you and your loved ones for years to come!

How to Prepare for a Christmas Countdown Calendar

First, start with the days that have must-do, holiday related activities already planning. Such as, the school performances, dance recitals, etc.

Second, choose from the ones that require the most preparation and coordination, like the last two lists above: Countdown to Christmas Quality Time Ideas and Advent Calendar Ideas That Need Preparation.

Third, lock those bigger ones in ASAP by purchasing tickets, formally sending calendar invites to family and friends, etc.

Fourth, look at your calendar to fill in other Christmas countdown activities across the no-prep, easy, and free lists.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Consider how pooped you and your kid(s) will feel with how their school, extra curriculars, and other routine things like bath night meet the back-to-back, super fun daily Christmas activities! Shuffle things around accordingly.

Fifth, make yourself a list of anything you need to source, purchase or gather from the house in advance. Set calendar reminders for yourself throughout the next 2 months to eliminate unnecessary stress.

Cute Advent Calendar Setup Ideas

Next, hand write or print out little pieces of paper with the Christmas countdown activity of the day. Fold them in half and tape closed if you aren’t sure you trust your mischievous little elves, ha! Choose what you want to put them in. There are many vessels for the advent calendar activities, such as boxes, felt pocket calendars, paper chains, strung mini stockings, etc. I personally like the wooden box version because I keep it on the kitchen counter for breakfast time fun. Here are a few cute ideas:

Lastly, start building the anticipation with the kid(s)! Let them know about the daily Christmas countdown calendar you’ve been working hard on for them. Explain that every morning when they come down for breakfast, the siblings can take turns with who opens the activity of the day. Also, I’d definitely set the expectation out the gate that you may need to throw audibles throughout the month due to exhaustion, weather, sickness, etc.

I am sooooo excited for you and your family!

Amazing Christmas Gift Ideas That WOW!

Yay! It’s Christmastime! Go have fun with your kids and make those lifelong memories. This is what I’m all about at Memory in the Making! Follow me for tons more family fun ideas. I’ve got you covered! Check out my other posts featuring more ways to…

Without a doubt, save these Christmas Countdown Ideas for Kids to your Pinterest board for later!

…Or text a link to your partner in crime!


Merry Christmas!

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