A 5 minute craft using a 24 slot shoe organizer and envelopes. Each envelope holds a fun Christmas themed activity we’ll do together that day, and acts as a count down to the sleeps until Christmas! This went viral when I shared it last year!

DIY Family Activity Christmas Calendar

This is my favorite thing we do all Christmas season. I make a Family Togetherness Christmas Advent Calendar using a shoe organizer and envelopes. In each envelope, I print out an activity we’ll be doing together that day as a family as a fun way to celebrate the magic of Christmas.

Every morning my kids cannot wait to open it and see what we’re doing.

Most of these activities are so simple, and many of them are free. It really brings the Christmas magic. My kids love this! And I love that it makes the focus of our Christmas season on time spent together and making memories, which if you ask me is the greatest gift of all!

Items Needed

Steps to Set Up

  1. Hang the shoe organizer in an area that is easily seen by your family. I do ours on our pantry door.
  2. Label the envelopes with the numbers 1-24, then stuff them in the shoe organizers. I like to do 1 at the top going down to 24 at the bottom.
  3. I used the same envelopes to make a sign at the top that says Days Until Christmas.

All of this is so easy. It will take you 5 minutes.

Every night, type out and and print out an activity that you’re going to do the next day. I do mine on Apple pages, but you could use Word, Google Docs or Canva. I like to grab clipart from Google so my little boys who don’t know how to read can see what we’ll be doing that day too.

Pro Tips

  • DON’T plan out every activity and stuff every envelope at the beginning. It’s too overwhelming
  • DO plan the activity the night before. This is much easier, especially because plans can change depending on the weather, if someone is sick, etc.

Activity Ideas

Here are a bunch of ideas you can use if you’re stumped on ideas!

  1. Family visit to the library for Christmas books
  2. Mail Christmas cards, then get a candy at the store
  3. Decorate the Christmas tree and listen to Christmas music
  4. Free Home Depot Kids Craft day (always the first Saturday of the month from 9am-12pm)
  5. Make Christmas cookies together
  6. Drive and look at Christmas lights after dinner
  7. New Christmas pajamas present
  8. Mail Christmas wish list to Santa
  9. Family Christmas coloring pages party
  10. Morning hot cocoa
  11. Bedtime hot cocoa
  12. Meet Santa
  13. Popcorn and Christmas movie night
  14. Go caroling at family or neighbors house
  15. Christmas scavenger hunt (set up a fun scavenger hunt around the house, they love this!)
  16. Fun bath with Christmas bath bombs
  17. Decorate gingerbread houses
  18. Family snowball fight (if you don’t live in the snow, here is how to make snow using ice and a blender!)
  19. Make snowflakes craft (cut folded paper with scissors to make snowflakes)
  20. Walk around the neighborhood Christmas scavenger hunt (like this)
  21. Paint Christmas ornaments (I buy wood ones the dollar store and let the kids paint them or color with markets, so cute!)
  22. Go to a Christmas Light show (we’ll drive further to go to the extra fancy decorated houses)
  23. Christmas Karaoke family night
  24. Make a Christmas treat and deliver to the neighbors
  25. Make a popcorn garland
  26. Go to a Christmas market
  27. White Elephant Christmas party with friends
  28. Go to the movie theater for a Christmas movie
  29. Family bowling date after school
  30. Donate gifts to those in need (I love Operation Christmas Child. You can “build a shoebox” for $25, and the site is very visual and fun for kids to do!)
  31. Cake pops after school (from starbucks, my kids favorite!)
  32. Special bagel breakfast date with mommy before school
  33. Christmas puppet show at the library (my library does this every year and it’s adorable!)
  34. Christmas shopping for family gifts at the Dollar Store
  35. Go for a ride on the Christmas Train
  36. Go to the Zoo Lights
  37. Go to a Christmas play (high schools often put one on for very cheap!)
  38. Go to a Christmas parade
  39. Go to a local tree lighting
  40. Go ice skating
  41. Decorate a Christmas card for your teacher
  42. Christmas Eve party with family

Video Tutorial

Note, you can also view this video tutorial on YouTube.