A few years ago, I started giving my kids an “Christmas Advent Box” on December 1st. It has a few items in it that we were excited to enjoy together through the season, and helped us focus on time and experiences together. I love this time of year to create memories and have evenings in one another’s company!
This is definitely not a time when we’re giving multiple individual gifts to all our kids, but rather focusing on a few things we can use to spend time together as a family this month, as well as some consumables and treats.
I hope these ideas help if you decide to do your own Family Christmas Advent Box!
(For the record, the big box in the photo is not our Advent Box. That’s on Christmas morning. Our advent box is usually just a leftover, unwrapped shipping box, lol!)
We do one of these for each of our kids every year and it might just be their favorite part of Christmas, ha! In the past, we’ve always done the $0.99 ones from Trader Joes, but since we don’t have that here in London, we just got some cheap local ones.
As a family, we’re also doing a few other fun daily consumables:
- Jam advent calendar – this will be a fun thing to share for breakfast or afternoon snack. We’ve done this one before and it’s delicious.
- Science Advent Calendar – we spotted this at the Natural History Museum here in London and it looked so fun. It’ll be perfect to come home and do after it gets dark at 4pm. 😉
- Harry Potter Jelly Bean & Trivia Advent Calendar – Aaaand because I’m a giant sucker, I just got this one a couple days ago. I saw it and couldn’t resist. My 3rd kiddo is currently reading the series and SO into it, and my older two have read them all about a dozen times, so I think they’ll think it’s so fun. Plus, most of my kids like jelly beans more than chocolate (don’t ask me why), so I think they’ll all be happy to partake. I just got one for everyone to share.
And for the adults, here are the advent calendars we’re doing:
- Dark chocolate marzipan advent calendar – Dan and I loved this one last year so we’re doing marzipan again
- Herbal tea advent calendar – Last year, we did the Whittard hot chocolate advent calendar, which we LOVED – but they don’t seem to be doing it this year (and we also already discovered our favorite flavors). This herbal tea advent looked like it has super interesting flavors, has excellent reviews, and will be a lovely start to our morning together after the kids head off to school.
We also do a couple other advents – an act of simple service each day, a picture book one where I wrap 24 of our favorite Christmas books, and this sweet digital Jacquie Lawson one that won’t go in the box.
PUZZLES + PUZZLE BOARD
We don’t do tons of puzzles throughout the year, but I LOVE a good wintertime one. My oldest, N, and I especially love working on them together, and it’s always fun how everyone pops in and out while working together. It gives us a great chance to just chat, too, or watch a holiday movie together.
This year, I got three puzzles: this beautiful London Christmas-themed 1,000-piece one, this 500-piece one, and this 100-piece one. For me, I’d probably prefer to only get the 1000 piece one, but it’s important to me that all my kids feel included and like it’s not totally out of their scope. As big siblings get older, it’s easy to just focus on their interests, so I want to make sure my little ones can enjoy this tradition, too. Hopefully this allows all the different ages to participate!
Our new place doesn’t have a table or even area of the house that would work well to house a puzzle, so I purchased this puzzle board. That way, we can bring it to the living room while watching a movie or hanging out and easily put it away out of the reach of baby hands.
We love family games (here’s a list of lots of our favorites), and this one has been on my radar for a while. Minute to Win It is a favorite over here, so I think this will be a hit and will pull everyone together in the evenings to hang out together. It’ll be great for having new friends over, too!
We always seem to have a fair number of boxes around this time of year. So I decided to hop on the social media trend and got some of these white acrylic paint pens so the kids can decorate little houses on the cardboard for us to cut into garlands. Especially helpful since we didn’t ship Christmas decorations over!
We usually get a new Christmas picture book each year, and it’s way more fun to gift it at the start of the season than at the end. Here’s the one we’re doing this year – perfect for our first London Christmas.
We don’t do an ornament for each kid every year. But with our big move, it seemed like a fun year to do that to remember some of their interests, especially in connection to London. I thought our family advent box would be a great time to give them out so they could enjoy them on the tree all month long. Here are the ones we got for each child:
- N, age 13: Fortnum & Mason tea tray – He’s loved F&M ever since we had tea there 5.5 years ago and it was one of the things he was most excited to do again here. We recently went for his birthday!
- K, age 11: Anne Boleyn – K did a report on her last year and has been really excited to see the musical Six.
- T, age 8: Hedwig – Again, T has been so into Harry Potter lately and also loves animals.
- A, age 6: Royal Coat of Arms – A loves finding and pointing out the lion and unicorn whenever he sees them.
- M, age 3: Queen Victoria – Ever since we toured the Buckingham Palace State Rooms, M has loved Queen Victoria and loves spotting portraits of her.
- S, age 1: Festive London Bus – Always fun for a ride!
Christmas Church Outfits
A couple years ago, I switched from giving my kids their Christmas outfits right before church on the Sunday before Christmas to doing it earlier in the month. And I loved it! It meant they could wear them all season long and got way more use out of them.
- K (11), M (3), S (1) – I got them these gorgeous red plaid dresses with a velvet bow. They’re way more beautiful and substantial in person and I’m really pleased with them. They’re warm, too, for our first cold winter in a while! I also got them each a matching red velvet hair accessory.
- T (9) & A (6) – I could not resist this darling green Nutcracker pullover for my younger boys.
- N (13) was trickier as I couldn’t find a single thing that worked for all my boys’ sizes. I chose this plain pullover in a beautiful dark green. It was an excellent price, is soft and comfortable (not itchy!), and I think he’ll get lots of use out of it well past Christmas season.
We actually give our kids their Christmas pajamas a little earlier – the day after Thanksgiving, when we set up our Christmas tree. That way we all have them while decorating! But if you haven’t given them out yet, an Advent Box is the perfect time to do it. I think it’s way more fun than giving them out on Christmas Eve because they can wear them and look cute and cozy the entire month (and beyond).
This year, we did these pajamas for the whole family and I adore them. We’ve done this brand before and they wear and wash so well and stay sooooo soft. The flannel is especially cozy and I love this year’s pattern.
I shared lots of suggestions for where to get matching family Christmas pajamas right HERE.
That’s it! Do you do anything like an Advent Box, or even any special traditions in December? I’d love to hear!
IF YOU LIKED THIS POST ABOUT OUR CHRISTMAS ADVENT BOX, YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE POSTS TOO:
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- Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning Traditions
- 100+ Christmas Tradition Ideas
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