Simple Holidays: Advent Activities

I don’t know about you, but I have gone looking for lists of Christmas Countdown / Advent activities for the past couple of years, and have come up short.

Somehow, other people’s ideas of “toddler-appropriate” activities are much more involved than I am willing to get.  It would be lovely to go on Christmas outings every night, or make elaborate treats with the kids, or sleep under the Christmas tree, but I’m a realist (pessimist?)  My kids would get way overstimulated, we don’t have that kind of time on school nights, they’d make a huge mess and eat way too many cookies, and there’s no flippin’ WAY any of us would get any sleep in the living room on the floor surrounded by tempting ornaments and each other.

So after much researching and brainstorming, this is the list I have come up with of truly simple activities appropriate for small children.  A list compiled by an aspiring minimalist, whose kids operate best with a firm schedule and short activites.

1. Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
2. Put the angel (or other topper) on the Christmas tree
3. Set up the nativity scene
4. Put up __a decoration___ in your (kid’s) room
5. Trip to Dairy Queen
6. Bake a treat (we made brownies from a mix.  Really.)
7. Make a paper chain
8. Papercraft: Construction paper Christmas tree with red dots (dot marker)
9. Wrap a gift (or several, depending on your patience.  I mean, your kids’ patience?
10. Cocoa party
11. Read __insert favorite classic Christmas picture book here___
12. Go on a car ride to look at Christmas lights
13. Cinnamon dough Christmas ornaments
14. Decorate Christmas cookies (pre-made? Mix? Break and place dough?)
15. Christmas milkshakes (a milkshake with something mint in it)

That’s it.  The other 9 days in my advent drawers are filled with candy.
We can’t do an activity every single night!  Especially nights when we have church services or some other crazy busy situation going on.  Those nights the kids have a piece of candy and we go on our way.

How do you fill your Advent calendar or Christmas countdown?  Any truly easy traditions you keep with your littles?