The Alternative Advent Calendar with Purpose

I love Advent – the preparing, waiting and celebrating for 4 weeks; not just on December 25th. For Christians it is the beginning of the church year, leading up to the advent of Jesus. There is the feast of St Nicolas of Myra, the Jewish community celebrate Hannukah and for pagans the winter solstice is significant.

Whatever your age or creed, there is a way to enjoy December, with its own magic.

If you are tired of the commercial, expensive, nasty or branded advent calendars in the shops, try giving the kids a new activity each day – something with purpose to foster joy and kindness. We put one slip of paper in each day of the advent calendar pockets (or you could put it on the fridge, on the tree, in lunchboxes or under table mats etc.) for the kids to find and do – you can include chocolate treats too, and a reading from your favourite poem, book or the Bible. Keep it simple:

  1. Put up Christmas decorations while thinking how fortunate we are and can share our blessings.
  2. Fill a bag with toys or clothes to donate to charity
  3. Give everyone in your home a true compliment not involving appearance
  4. Paint kindness rocks and hide them
  5. Draw pictures for a retirement or care home
  6. Learn about St Nicolas
  7. Write an encouraging note to someone
  8. Drive around and see the Christmas lights
  9. List 3 kind things that others have done for you. Then list 3 kind things you will do for others in the coming week.
  10. Do a chore at home you wouldn’t normally do
  11. Draw a picture showing all the ways we can be kind to people
  12. Make Christmas biscuits and cards
  13. Attend a carol service
  14. Make Christmas ornaments that you will remember with love in years to come.
  15. Learn how other countries celebrate Christmas
  16. Pack the bag for Dad to deliver neighbours’ Christmas messages
  17. Help someone without being asked
  18. Make up a Christmas song
  19. Watch a Christmas movie and talk about what we learnt
  20. Read a book to someone or tell them a story
  21. Play and sing carols together
  22. Help at church / a local care home or animal shelter
  23. Call someone far away and tell them you are thinking of them
  24. Read the story of Christmas / Hannukah / st Nicolas together – talk about why this time of year is significant to you.
  25. Celebrate Christmas Day
Painting kindness rocks to hide at the park

For print-and-go templates, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store: