A few years ago I stumbled across this concept of a Christmas village advent and I felt filled with excitement over the idea of creating some Christmas magic for my kids, – a new family tradition. The word “advent” doesn’t hold any meaning for me personally, so the kids and I just call this…Christmas Houses… LOL!
Putting together 25 paper houses can feel like a lot of work, honestly, but it’s so worth it because they can be used year after year! Each year I tape them together with small bits of masking tape and then at the end of the season, I take them apart to store them flat. Ideally, I set this up on the night of November 30th, but there have been a couple of years that I didn’t have my act together and we started a week late. However, if your kids are little, they won’t even notice if you don’t have it set up “on time”. Feel free to start at any moment. It’s not worth putting it off till next year!
The truth is, if advent doesn’t hold meaning for you either, you can make this Christmas countdown be for however many days you’d like! This is YOUR family tradition. Perhaps 12 or 14 days sounds more enjoyable than 24.
There are so many ways to create an advent calendar. If you aren’t inspired to make paper houses, just tuck your activity papers into whatever you prefer to use.
Christmas Village Activities
You’ll want to come up with a list of 25 activities. Here are some ideas:
1. Make Christmas cookies
2. Visit a Christmas tree farm/set up an artificial tree
3. Decorate Christmas tree
4. Decorate the house
5. Make a handmade gift (I usually use this one for several different days, ie: make a gift for papa, make a gift for grandma, etc)
6. Take a Christmas bath (light some candles and play some Christmas music softly)
7. Make gingerbread man-shaped pancakes for breakfast
8. Make Christmas candles
9. Work on a Christmas puzzle with a hot drink
10. Unwrap Christmas books (every year I wrap up all of our Christmas books in a playsilk, including library books, and they get a thrill out of unwrapping them and being reunited with their favorite Christmas books)
11. Make red and green homemade playdough (recipe) and set out some Christmassy items to play with such as cookie cutters
12. Christmas music dance party
13. Go for a hike with a thermos of hot chocolate (I always use this recipe, but HALF of the sugar and it’s still plenty sweet!)
14. Make Christmas cards
15. Christmas movie night
16. Winter Solstice party
17. Go for a nighttime walk (or drive) to see Christmas lights
18. Watch a Christmas special (live or on youtube)
19. Roast chestnuts
20. Make a Christmas tree ornament
21. Make lanterns
22. Go on a lantern walk
23. Make paper snowflakes
24. Make a holiday wreath
25. Make popcorn garland for Christmas tree or outdoor tree
26. Make dried orange garland to hang in a window
27. Make gingerbread men cookies
28. Sing Christmas carols as a family
29. Create a Christmas playlist on Spotify together as a family
30. Make gingerbread houses (check out my candy-free tutorial)
31. Go to a bakery for a Christmas treat
32. Go check out Christmas books from the library
34. Make a window star with Christmas colors (check out my tutorial)
35. Open presents!
If you have more ideas, please share them with us in the comment section below!
Planning It Out
There is no need plan out all 25 days in advance, however, I do like to make note of which activities are definitely tied to specific dates. For example, you might need to go get your tree on a Saturday or perhaps you have tickets to a Christmas concert. Keeping those in mind will help you flesh out the rest.
To give myself some flexibility, each night I decide what the following day’s activity will be. I make a quick, simple drawing to represent the activity and place it under the house for the kids to find the next day. (If your child can read, you can simply write what the activity is, of course)
Keep in mind that the activities can be things that you plan on doing regardless of the Christmas village advent calendar. Make it work for you. For example, you don’t have to come up with a bunch of special activities IN ADDITION to what traditions you already have in place, such as decorating the tree or making Christmas cookies. Be sure to save the activities that are the easiest for you to throw together for the days that you will be the busiest.
What I love most about this tradition, is that the houses serve as a container for all of our other Christmastime traditions. They also look absolutely gorgeous and I LOVE the mood that the little glowing village adds to our living room! Feels like Christmas warmth and magic!
If you would like to make these watercolor paper houses to create your own Christmas village advent, become a Toymaking Magic member to access my video tutorial!