30 Awesome Ideas for Advent Calendars and Gifts for Tweens

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Are you looking for creative ways to make the countdown to Christmas extra special for your teens and tweens? It’s easy to create holiday magic for little kids, but big kids can be more difficult.

Make your kids’ faces light up with this list of heartwarming and entertaining advent gift ideas for tweens and teens.

Homemade DIY advent calendar

What are Advent Calendars?

Advent Calendars are one of our most treasured family Christmas traditions. Advent calendars were first used by the German Lutherans in the 19th and 20th centuries. They are a fun way to count down the 24 days before Christmas.

Advent calendars often give families a reason to slow down and spend quality time together in the holiday season. Traditionally, there is a small token, chocolate, or other sweet treat hiding in each day of the Christmas countdown calendar. Families use the daily routine to focus on small acts of kindness or reading books or playing a game together instead.

wooden crate with numbered brown paper packages in it. The words Advent are in green letters across the front.  Small decorative tree and fake snow in foreground

Advent Calendar Ideas to Count down the Days

Advent calendars have become all the rage for the holiday season Christmas Countdown. The Dollar Store and other retailers have simple chocolate calendars to buy. There are also more expensive Lego advent calendars or other featuring socks, makeup, or larger toys.

We always buy the dollar version of the chocolate advent calendar at Aldi for our kids. It’s easy to make your own DIY Christmas Advent Calendars, too. To be honest, we usually end up with both!

As our kids grow into their tween and teen years, it’s important to find quality time and bonding experiences with them. Advent calendars are a fun and meaningful thing to do with kids. Sometimes coming up with ideas for advent gifts for tweens and teens is the difficult part.

Germans celebrate Christmas on December 24th. Their advent calendar includes 23 small gifts and a larger gift for Christmas on the 24th.

Instead of starting with 24 and counting down, a traditional advent calendar counts up. That means the gifts are opened on the day that corresponds to the number. Door number 1 is opened on December 1, door number 2 is opened on December 2, and so on.

basket on mantle filled with numbered brown paper wrapped boxes for Advent.  Decorative jars of cotton branches and succulents in background

Homemade Advent Calendar Gift Ideas

Like I said, coming up with 24 small gift ideas for teens and tweens is the difficult part. Here are my favorite advent calendar fillers for teens that won’t break the budget. The kids will love them!

We have four kids. I buy items in packs of four so each kid will have one small gift.

I also like to use cards or games they can all play together in the advent calendar. It keeps them from fighting over whose turn it is to open the fun treat. 😉

Advent Gifts for Tweens and Teens

  1. Cell phone charger
  2. Air Tag or Air Tag key chain
  3. Money – dollar coins or two-dollar bills are fun!
  4. Gift cards
  5. Ear buds
  6. Nail polish
  7. Waterproof water bottle stickers
  8. Small candle
  9. Funny socks
  10. Small piece of jewelry
  11. Craft idea, like these Waldorf Window Stars
  12. Christmas book to read together
  13. Popit fidget toy
  14. Little lego kit
  15. Brain teaser games
  16. Hair accessories
  17. Croc charms
  18. Art pens
  19. Cupcake liners 
  20. Cookie cutters so you can make Christmas cookies together.
  21. Personalized Christmas ornaments
  22. Hot chocolate bomb or even better would be the molds so you can make them together!
  23. Little succulent
  24. Chapstick
  25. Bath bomb
  26. Fairy lights
  27. Novelty pens and small notebooks
  28. Mini clothespins
  29. Coupons for lunch dates or dinner out
  30. German Kinder Egg
homemade advent calendar with small gift wrapped boxes tied with string and numbered

Advent Calendars to Buy

I think it’s really fun to make our own advent calendars. In fact, our DIY advent calendars have become part of the holiday traditions. If you don’t want to make an Advent calendar, here are a few of our favorites you can buy.

Advent Calendars to Make at Home

Now that you have advent calendar filler ideas, here are 20 different calendars to make at home. Some are quick to make, some take a while, some are completely recycled and there are ideas for every budget! 

Find the perfect DIY advent calendar to fit in with your holiday decor in this list. There are ideas for small homes, large homes, and every home in between.

Reusable advent calendars can be refilled every year with new prizes. They come ready to open on December 1st with each of the gifts already inside.

DIY Advent Calendar Ideas

Countdown the days to Christmas with your own homemade Advent Calendar. From wooden and magnetic to burlap bag and paper and everything in between, there is an idea for everyone, every budget, and every space.

Although my kids are growing up way too fast, they still love our holiday traditions. Advent calendars with fun treats are one way we keep the whimsy in December. There’s something fanciful about the holiday season that captivates young and old alike.

Choosing Advent gifts for tweens and teens extends this cherished tradition a few more years. The daily surprises remind us of the spirit of Christmas and to find joy in the simple things. What are your favorite Advent traditions?

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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