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Manage December excitement with Christmas Countdown activities

Teacher author, Aoife Doyle, has shared an alternative way of engaging children in the festive period using envelopes with fun activities in them as an advent countdown.

Christmas is a very busy time of year in our schools. It can be hard to manage pupil’s excitement at times! A Christmas Countdown or activity based Advent Calendar is a great way to mark off the days until the Christmas holidays.

You will need 24 envelopes, hopefully this works out at roughly one envelope per child. If you have more than 24 pupils you can make a 1a and 1b and open 2 envelopes on that day. If you have less than 24 pupils, you can give a pupil more than one envelope to decorate.


Each child receives an empty envelope with a number from 1-24 on the front. They can decorate their envelope with their best Christmassy drawings! 

When the envelopes are decorated you can display them in the classroom. 

After school, fill the envelopes with different Christmas themes and activities. In younger classes, you can tell the children that Santa’s elves filled the envelopes!

You can use this sample Calendar template (MS Word) to help you map out the activities to suit you over the month of December.  I’ve included some example activities but you can devise your own.

Here is the example of the calendar I am using with my class. I tied it in with a couple of events that were happening in my school. I also kept it close to what I knew would be happening in my class, for example the advent calendar revealed 10 minutes extra PE on a day that we had PE already!

Each morning of December, your class will be very excited to see what will be revealed on the advent calendar! On a Monday we would open the previous 2 days envelopes too! Each child can open the envelopes they decorated and share the contents with the class.

A class advent calendar is a great way to build community in the class, while incorporating some festive fun. You can make the activities as basic or as extravagant as you want. You can also touch upon lots of different curricular areas. Personally, I feel it’s best to keep things calm for as long as possible in the run up to Christmas. It can be an overwhelming time for children (and teachers!) so it can be reassuring to stay close to regular classroom rhythms. 

Let us know what you think or share a comment.

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