I love to get into the spirit during the holiday season and over the last few years it has changed so much with having a kid. My daughter loves Christmas time, Santa, and all the family activities that we do. With this being her last Christmas as an only child, I decided that I wanted to make it as special as I can! I have done Elf on the Shelf the last two years but I never really planned anything and just winged it. I am not a fan of the "naughty elf" because the whole point is making sure that we are being kind to others. I tend to have our elf bring activities or little treats that we can enjoy together. This year I decided to also use our advent wall hanger that I snagged a few years back, it comes with the blank cards that you can write on. There are others I found on Amazon too, this one is customizable or you can go more simple with just numbers
I decided to map out the activities we would do for our advent wall hanger and match them up with our elf. I thought was a fun idea to hit both at the same time, and making it more about spending time with family rather than just silly things our elf was doing. If you are interested you can download both of these as PDF files below if you want to use them yourself! If you post on Instagram I would love if you tagged my account @mrsmathfashion so I can share how you used or modified! I also have them shared in this google drive folder as well if you want the images along with the pdf! I will be working on updating and creating little cards too for specific days that have notes about our activities and will be adding these to the folder as well!
I will be updating this post as I go with the photos of our elf and our activity each day! That way if you want to pick and choose you can see the examples of what we did first. Anything that I purchased I will try to link for you as well so you can see where I got it from! Again, I try to spend as little money as possible and use what I already have in my closet. I am also planning on us taking a photo of our activity each day as well with our instant camera and then adding those into the days too!
I tried to make the Advent days accessible so that you don't have to purchase much, most of these things I already have at home, found on sale at the craft store, or found in the dollar spot at Target/Walmart.
1 - She found her elf waiting in the tree this morning with her special note. She was SO excited and I told her the elf also wrote me a special letter to help arrange all the activities in her advent calendar so he can bring her special activities throughout the month. Day one activity is to make a Christmas countdown with a paper chain. This is so easy to do, just cut out colored paper and then have your little one write the number, if they're too small you don't need to do it, it's just great practice for them with handwriting and counting. Then, just staple them and hang them up so each day they can take one off for their countdown!
2 - I found a really cute idea on Pinterest to paint a Christmas tree with a fork - post linked here, I might save this for making our Christmas Cards like this example because I found an expensive paint set at Michaels that we can use
3 - Hobby Lobby had this snowman base and we bought some extras props (presents, pom poms, and a hat) so that we can glue them together to make her own little snowman! I'll use the white mini pom poms we already have to use for our elf's "snowballs" when I set him up with the craft.
4 - I found cute little cozy Grogu socks (she loves baby yoda) and am just putting them next to the card in our wall hanger for "national sock day"
5 - Make a Christmas Ornament is so simple. You can do this with objects at home (think pinecones!) or Target has some kits that can be reused so you don't have to buy one each year. I bought our ornament kit two years ago and still have plenty left over! This kit includes 30 ornaments for $9 so it can be used for more than one year!
6 - Writing thank you notes for their teachers or postal workers is so easy. We have printer paper, tons of holiday cards stashed away from years passed, and scrap book paper that can easily be used to create little notes. Plus a bonus if you have holiday stickers, and if you don't you can find some for cheap like this pack of 208 at Michaels for only $.99
7 - Reading a Hanukkah story is a great way to introduce your child to other celebrations this time of year. If you don't have a story, you can find them online like this one where they tell the story behind Hanukkah. Many stores carry books for kids like this Peppa Pig one they might find fun or this simple Story of Hanukkah
8 - Watch your favorite Christmas Movie is easy, just hop onto Disney +, Netflix, Hulu, etc and find a fun family friendly movie! Our little one has been asking to watch the Christmas Chronicles 2 so that will probably be our pick this year.
9 - I'm setting up our elf with some older toys/socks with a little note about how it's nice to help others. Todays goal is to donate clothing/toys that we don't need or use anymore to others that could use them more than us.
10 - Today's activity is making paper snowflakes! I am planning on having our elf hanging from one with maybe some glitter down below on the table. I will put all the materials needed to make them easily with what you probably already have at home. This post has step by step directions, with a video, and even a template if you need some guidance!
11 - Today is the day to write a letter to Santa! I'm going to set our elf up on a paper airplane with all the supplies to write a letter. If your little one is learning to write this is the perfect activity to practice spelling and handwriting. My little one is in kindergarten so I'm trying to incorporate activities that also align to what she is learning in school.
12 - Make a gingerbread house! My go to for this is stopping at my local Trader Joes but a ton of places tend to have these types of kits that are quite reasonable. Our elf will have a little mess of sprinkles/candies trying to prepare for the decorating!
13 - Last year I bought hot chocolate drops from Costco and had our elf dropping off all the goodies for hot chocolate. This year I bought asimple spoon to use and some marshmallows that our elf will drop on the table with a mug to have a special cozy night! PS bonus if you want to snag this cute little kit ($.450) and paint hot cocoa treats.
14 - Today our elf will be tangled up in ribbon with the supplies out to make Christmas cards for the family! You can use pre-bought cards, or make your own. I have one of the big boxes from Costco, but I will put out an assortment with markers and stickers so she can decide how she wants to make them.
15 - We already took photos with Santa, so our elf will be dropping these pictures with some clothespins with the supplies to make photo frames. I snagged this little frame kit from target for $4.50 so we can make a framed photo for both sets of grandparents.
16 - Today is a day to spend time with family. Take a walk or drive around the neighborhood or to a well know place where there are lots of lights! Our elf will be tangled up in the LED lights we have had forever, you can find them at Walmart like these ones for less than $3.
17 - School is almost out for winter break and since she started preschool we started the tradition of making candy cane holders to give out to her classmates. I have found super affordable options at Hobby Lobby like thisSanta one. I tend to stock up on little crafts like this when they are doing their 50% off sale and save them for future years as well! We have a candy cane in the advent calendar, and I will have our elf using the candy canes as a ladder!
18 - Today's theme is Christmas coloring! Our elf will be sitting in a Christmas mug with markers all around and some coloring pages printed. I don't suggest buying a Christmas coloring book because there are SO many free options you can easily print off! Crayola has a ton of options here or if you want to focus more on the religious aspect of Christmas this site has plenty of options as well!
19 - I snagged a mini chalk board years ago and this is perfect for setting up a game night so you can keep score! Find a game you already own - no need to buy something new, so that you can just spend some time with your family playing games. Personally we love Sorry, and I recently bought the giant version from Amazon (currently on sale for $15) that I plan on playing! I will set up our elf with the regular size game with the bigger one next to it.
20 - Today is the day to decorate your door! You can do this with garland, a DIY wreath kit, whatever you have around the house or left over from your Christmas decor! I don't plan on buying anything new for today and will have our elf hanging out above the door frame to watch over our progress.
21 - I LOVE baking sugar cookies and making royal frosting this time of year and always do themed cookies to decorate. I will be hanging our elf from above our island with a little bit of a powdered sugar mess and some sprinkles to prep for all the fun decorating!
22 - Today is a simple day of just listening to Christmas music! I will have our elf set up above our record player with some headphones and have our some of our Christmas albums so that we can have a fun music night.
23 - We have had our Fuji film polaroid forever, and today is the perfect day to do a fun little family photoshoot in front of the tree! I will have the elf holding his selfie at the top of the tree with the camera ready to go for us to have some fun! Her current camera is on sale for $49 with a pack of film. Recently I bought a 60 pack of film for $38 so it averages out to a much cheaper cost at .63/photo
24 - A Christmas story night. My daughter has a bookshelf in her room so I plan on propping her elf up on the top shelf. We have all of her holiday books already out so it will be easier for her to pick what one she wants to read for the night!
25 - Saying goodbye can be hard so once your elf is up use the simple goodbye template I shared earlier to tell your little one that they will miss them and see them next year!