24 Days of Christmas Surprises

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was super cute, so I knew I had to try it out my own version this season. I'm nearly done Christmas shopping, but I have to say this simple and inexpensive 24 Days of Christmas Countdown is the thing I've been most excited about so far this season. I can't wait for Kenzie to get home from school and not only see all of the little gifts under the tree, but to see her face when she finds out they're ALL for her is going to be priceless. Who doesn't love to watch their child's eyes light up as they open something special? Now imagine how excited they would be that they get to open something new every day until Christmas!

Now, I know what you're thinking: 24 days of presents? There's no way that's budget-friendly. But it totally is! You could also do this with multiple children very easily - just pick things that are share-able and stick to activities everyone can do together.

Here's how I did it:

About half of my little surprises were things that we usually do at Christmas anyway, and the rest were free or of little cost. I made a list of as many fun Christmas themed activities I could, with some of the ideas coming from the original blog poster for this idea. Some of the things I chose were making fireplace s'mores, putting on a Christmas play for Mom and Dad, and baking gingerbread cookies for Santa. You could do as many or as few free activities as you'd like depending on your budget, but I did about half and half. I looked up cute clip-art to go along with each activity then printed them out on card stock and put each in an envelope I decorated with leftover wrapping paper.

Christmas activities:

  • Create a Christmas scripture chain (here is the link to the Google Doc, by The Things I Love Most)
  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Put on a Christmas Play for Mom & Dad
  • Go shopping for your Secret Santa 
  • Make Christmas playdough (homemade in red & green)
  • Sip hot apple cider by the fire
  • Create snowflake cutouts and decorate the house
  • Homemade hot chocolate  & toast before bed
  • Make fireplace S'mores
  • Go look at Christmas lights
  • Make homemade ornaments (salt dough)
  • Bake Gingerbread cookies for Santa

As for the gifts, here's what I came up with:

  • Mug decorating "kit" (white $ store mugs, Sharpies)
  • 2 Christmas movies (found these in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart)
  • 3 $1 Christmas crafts - (I got mine from A.C. Moore)
  • Red & Green Nail Polish ($1.38 each at Wal-Mart)
  • Gingerbread House (we do this every year, so why not wrap it up? it was on sale for $7)
  • Phineus & Ferb Jell-o Mold & Cherry Jell-O (also on sale at Wal-Mart)
  • Christmas slipper socks ($2.88 at Wal-Mart)
  • Christmas themed Fun Dip ($1)
  • Mini Santa shaped chocolates ($1)

I was so excited to get wrapping that I got dumb and forgot to take pictures of all of it unwrapped! Oops. Once I had everything laid out, I numbered each item 1-24. We're a busy family so I even went an extra step and looked at a calendar to make sure the more time-consuming things fall on a weekend if it's before Winter Break for school (such as decorating the ginger bread house). I used the activity  "make a Christmas scripture chain" for Dec. 1, since there are 25 bible verses, one for each day leading up to Christmas.

Can you find the number on the penguin package? 

For the Christmas activities, I simply cut them from the printed card stock and stuck them in some envelopes I'd decorated and numbered with leftover wrapping paper. Some of the gifts I wrapped and others are in bags. The gift bags I got at A.C. Moore 3/$1 and the lunch-sack type bags I got for $0.25/each at Wal-Mart. The numbers are just extra wrapping paper taped to the bags/gifts with a square of card stock that I decorated and numbered. Once I was finished, I put the gifts under the tree and nestled the envelopes within the branches.

One of the things I love most about this project is that you can be as creative or a simple as you'd like. I hope you enjoy making it as much as I did, and I hope your kiddos love it, too!

P.S. Click below to download and print the Christmas activities list. :)
Christmas Fun

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