Blog Demo Design by Britt Douglas. Powered by Blogger.

75+ Ideas for Advent Calendar Gifts, Fillers and Activities (Updated for 2023)

by - Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Enjoy the best of the holidays with these simple and inexpensive ideas for an Advent calendar. Updated for 2023.

It's almost December 1st which means, if you plan to create a DIY Advent Calendar or Christmas Countdown Calendar for your family for the holiday season, now is the time to do so! The holidays always go by way too fast and having an Advent calendar ensures you make the most out of every day. It's a fun way to feel that Christmas magic and guarantees you get to spend more time together.

But a whole month of activity can feel daunting to plan so today I'm sharing 75+ ideas for Advent calendar gifts, fillers, and activities. With these Advent calendar ideas, you'll feel prepared to deliver on all the daily surprises for your loved ones. 

Not only that but don't forget to sign up to receive your FREE Advent printables to make this holiday tradition even easier!

Note: affiliate links have been used in this post for shopping convenience.

ideas for advent calendar gifts, advent calendar fillers, advent activity ideas, advent activities for families

But First, What Is An Advent Calendar?

Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means "arrival". The Advent season is observed in most Christian denominations as a time for preparing and celebrating the arrival of Christmas and the birth of Christ, while non-Christians have embraced Advent as a four-week countdown to Christmas.

Advent calendars are designed to build anticipation to Christmas Day. Though the start of Advent changes every year in the church calendar (it begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas), Advent calendars keep things simple and start on December 1st and end on December 24th or 25th.

Types of Advent Calendars:

There are many cute and fun calendar styles to countdown to Christmas Day. From sweet paper houses with little doors to open, to simple tags with handwritten messages strung up on the Christmas tree,  you can be very creative with your homemade Advent calendar display. 

If you want to keep it super easy, opt for mini envelopes, dated and with a note tucked inside, or buy a fabric pocket hanging Advent calendar. An all-in-one 2023 Advent calendar gift box kit offers a beautiful presentation and tiny boxes ready to fill with your personal gifts. 

Whatever format you choose, it's a great idea to create a Christmas Advent calendar that you can reuse year after year. You will enjoy the tradition of seeing the Advent calendar each season. 

2023 Advent Calendars

If you're not the crafty or DIY type, or simply don't have the time, you can always use pre-assembled Advent calendars which have gifts ready to go for each day. Here's my favourite packaged Advent calendars for the 2023 Christmas season.

Advent calendars for kids:

Advent calendars for adults:

DIY Advent Calendar Ideas

I've been making an Advent calendar for my daughter Chloe since she was 2 years old and it's our favourite way to make the most of the festive season. This year, I'll continue to use our Advent calendar made from small 4x6" cotton bags. The bags are large enough to hold small gifts and have a drawstring so I can attach them to a ribbon.

ideas for advent calendar gifts, advent calendar fillers, advent activity ideas, advent activities for families
Our 2018 Advent calendar. See more of the craft room HERE.

No matter what your calendar looks like though, you'll need to put something inside it. What do you put in an Advent calendar? My favourite kinds are ones that have an Advent activity for the family to enjoy together plus little gifts. 

There's lots of gift ideas for filling Advent calendars below - remember, you only need 24 to get to the big day! As a bonus, I've included some FREE downloads too to save you time and effort in putting together your own Advent Calendar so sign up for those at the end of this post!

Advent Calendar Activities for Families:

For our Advent calendar ideas, I like to include a task or activity for each day. Completing daily activities is a great way to ensure you spend time together as a family and get out and do things (despite the wintry weather!). But before you create your list of Advent calendar activities, here's a few tips:
  • Look at what you already have scheduled for the month of December. Are you going to watch The Nutcracker, visit a tree farm with a family member, or watch a school play? Include those activities for those confirmed dates - just don't tell the kids beforehand and it will still be a surprise ;)
  • Be aware of which days are weekends and which are weeknights. Weeknights tend to be busy so you might want to avoid including a time-consuming activity like "watch a Christmas movie" for those nights
  • Think about gifts you were already planning to give, such as Christmas pajamas, hot chocolate mixes, or the Twas the Night Before Christmas book. Could you incorporate those gifts into the daily activities somehow? One gift I give each year to my daughter is a Lego Advent Calendar. Now, I assign it as the first Advent activity "Open a Gift!". It's a tradition she looks forward to.
If you're in need of activities, here's 48 Advent Calendar Activity ideas that you can use in your calendar. There are 24 days to plan for so I've tried to include a balance of short and quick activities to longer ones that you can enjoy over an afternoon or a few hours. From outdoor winter fun to indoor activities and simple kind tasks, these are activities both kids and adults will enjoy.

ideas for advent calendar gifts, advent calendar fillers, advent activity ideas, advent activities for families

ideas for advent calendar gifts, advent calendar fillers, advent activity ideas, advent activities for families
Christmas activities are just one part of the Advent calendar. You can include a "filler" - a small gift or treat - inside the day's package too. 

Advent Calendar Gifts and Filler Ideas:

Advent calendar fillers don't need to be expensive or elaborate - it really is the thought that counts! But you can heighten the surprise by incorporating a variety of gifts that are cute, funny, or unique. You can certainly buy gifts but consider bringing a personal touch and make your own DIY Advent calendar gifts and special treats. You can shop for fillers at craft stores, dollar stores, toy stores, and even the grocery store.

But don't feel pressured to include a physical gift every single day! Advent shouldn't be stressful and put additional expensive gifts onto your already-long shopping list. Instead, look at the daily activity as the "main" item and any gift or treat as a bonus. 

I include only 5-6 gifts in my calendar and most of the gifts relate to the day's activity. For example, if the day's activity is "make a craft", I might include dollar store art supplies as the gift. But sometimes, the gift is unrelated and is purely just for fun (side note: Chocolate is ALWAYS appreciated, lol!). 

If you are intent on giving small items every day though (and want to keep it budget friendly), consider "splitting up" a gift and spread it out over several days. Perhaps you gift a box set of books and there's one book each day.

Here's 75+ Advent calendar gifts ideas and fillers for kids and adults.

Advent gift ideas for kids:

  1. Cute charging cord protectors
  2. Harry Potter snitch hot chocolate bomb
  3. Artificial snowball maker
  4. Temporary tattoos
  5. Gingerbread house kit (edible, cutters, building, or craft variety)
  6. Handwritten poem, love note, or riddle
  7. Seasonal lip balm
  8. Mochi squishy toys
  9. Individually wrapped chocolate or assorted candy
  10. 2023 Christmas photo frame ornament to hang on the tree
  11. Clay character kit pack
  12. Hair accessories, hair clips or hairbrush (we love this 'no tangles' hairbrush)
  13. Homemade coupon for something fun like "Stay up 20 mins late". Check out this post for more coupon ideas
  14. Non-toxic peelable nail polish
  15. Paint your own dinosaur kit
  16. Hamster keychain
  17. Monopoly Bid card game
  18. Christmas craft kit
  19. Friendship bracelet kit
  20. Bath bombs or bath crayons
  21. Crayola Colors of the World markers
  22. Art brushes or canvas painting kit
  23. Puzzle erasers
  24. Bead box kit
  25. Glitter crayons or mess-free markers
  26. Journal or sketch book
  27. Family picture or photo album
  28. Fun socks
  29. Magic 8 Ball or puzzle
  30. Funny cat pen holder
  31. A Christmas book 
  32. Fun bendy pencils
  33. Washi tape
  34. Unicorn swirl chippits
  35. Turtle nightlight
  36. Water reveal activity pad
  37. LEGO Dots bracelet kit
  38. Kids playing cards
  39. Cookie cutters
  40. 3D Stickers
  41. Glow in the dark putty
  42. Money

Advent gift ideas for her:

Advent gift ideas for him:

  1. Cozy buffalo plaid socks
  2. Multi-tool pen
  3. Milk frother
  4. Back scratcher
  5. Airpods earbuds cleaning kit
  6. Fair isle beanie
  7. Beaded bracelet
  8. Tire pressure gauge
  9. Magnetic wristband for screws
  10. BBQ grill mats
  11. Sneaker deodorizers
  12. Goodfellow mint and cedar shampoo
  13. Wine pairing chocolate bar
  14. Magnetic pickup tool with light
  15. Nail clipper
  16. Waterproof playing cards
  17. Emergency seat belt cutter and window hammer tool
  18. Working hands cream
  19. Desk cord organizer
  20. Dog dad keychain
  21. Massage ball
  22. Bike lights
  23. Cooling towel


ideas for advent calendar gifts, advent calendar fillers, advent activity ideas, advent activities for families
One year I strung the Advent bags on a mitten garland with numbered tags

With these activity ideas and Advent calendar gift ideas, you'll be all set for December. But just in case you're strapped for time, I've put together some FREE Advent Calendar Printables to help you put your own Christmas countdown together in no time.

Sign up below to receive:

  • A PDF of the 48 Advent calendar activities. Just print, cut on the lines, and include one task for each day
  • Printable modern number tags
  • Printable iron-on bag numbers. Use these files to print on t-shirt transfer paper and then iron on to small 4"x6" cotton bags. Note: the images print out reversed. See this post for a similar process.

I hope you feel encouraged to enjoy each and every day this holiday season. These small moments, spent with those we love, are really what we will remember and hold on to.


For more Christmas fun ideas, please check out these posts:

How to Make a Grinchmas Tree

Cricut 3D Gingham Tree Ornament

DIY Hand Warmers

You May Also Like