The “Say Yes” Advent Calendar

Today, we’re sharing the “say yes” advent calendar!

This calendar is something the whole family can enjoy together or you can personalize it for someone specific.  While it takes a little planning, the effort is definitely worth it!

The “Say Yes” Advent Calendar Inspiration…

The inspiration for this post actually came from one of my favorite TED Talks with Shonda Rhimes, an author and TV show writer.

In this talk, she spoke about her year-long journey of “saying yes” to the goals, values, experiences, and opportunities she had long made excuses to “say no” to all in the name of being too________ (fill in the blank with busy, stressed, overwhelmed, inexperienced, fat, unattractive, boring…you get the idea…the crazy things we tell ourselves that tear us down instead of lifting us up.)

I have almost nothing in common with her but nearly everything she said during the talk resonated with me.

It hit so close to home, the following days found me looking for more ways to “say yes” in my own life.  And that’s when the idea of the “say yes” advent calendar was born.

The basic premise of this advent calendar is to find ways throughout the season to celebrate saying yes to things you would have previously made an excuse to say no to.

Here’s a look at all the details so you can make the “say yes” advent calendar too…


  • Activity Tags (store-bought or make your own, instructions below)
  • Craft Punch (optional)
  • Scrapbook Paper (optional)
  • Number Stamps (optional, you could also use stickers or markers)
  • Stamp Pad (optional, you could also use markers)
  • Frame (with ribbon or wire to hang the tags on)
  • Ornaments
  • Ribbon or Jute (to hang the ornaments)
  • Bow (optional)
  • Greenery (optional)


You’ll need at least 24 different activities that challenge you to say yes, more if you plan to begin on the first Sunday of Advent.

You can buy tags from your local craft supply store or you can make tags like these using scrapbook paper and a craft punch.

Use a stamp pad and stamps OR stencils and markers OR stickers to number the front of each tag with the date.

Then write one activity for each day. They can be as easy or as challenging as you want them to be.

Here are a few activities to consider for your “Say Yes” Advent Calendar…

  • Surprise your family with a big breakfast including Santa pancakes. 
  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, food bank, or pet shelter.
  • Throw an ugly sweater party via Zoom.
  • Drop off dinner to a friend or loved one that is single, widowed, divorced, or away from family this time of year.
  • Help your neighbor or an elderly family member put up Christmas lights.
  • Make and mail Christmas cards.
  • Create an epic at-home hot cocoa bar
  • Buy the meal or coffee of the vehicle behind you while you’re in the drive-thru.
  • Play Secret Santa to someone that would least expect it.
  • Wear your Christmas pajamas early.
  • Have an impromptu dance party with Christmas music.
  • Leave a scratch-off lottery ticket in random spots around town with a note that says Merry Christmas.
  •  Make a snowman or a sandman if you live near the beach.
  • Craft a new ornament to hang on the tree.
  • Reconnect with an old friend.
  • Send a word of encouragement or appreciation to someone in the contact list of your cell phone.
  • Say yes to a holiday-inspired mani-pedi.
  • Make time for a holiday tour of homes even if it’s a virtual one.
  • Turn off all the lights save for the Christmas tree and watch a holiday movie, complete with buttery popcorn and red and green m&ms.
  • Celebrate the Advent season.
  • Leave a gift under a loved one’s pillow.
  • Bake a new Christmas cookie recipe with the littles.
  • Walk, bike, or ride around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights wearing jingle bells.
  • Leave a voicemail singing Christmas carols.

Use a single hole punch for a simple way to hang each tag.

Displaying the Ornaments and Activity Tags…

Hang the tags on an old door, across the mantel, from a coffee rack, an old picture frame, or any place that is easily accessible using jute or ribbon.

Dress the tags up or down with ornaments depending on how fancy or festive your house is decorated.

I usually dress up the advent calendar using the same theme I’m using around the house to keep things consistent.  It definitely varies from year to year which is always fun!

Adding Greenery to The “Say Yes” Advent Calendar… 

These clipping from our yard are similar to the ones we used to create a simple holiday spray and for the simple ways to show appreciation branches we used in the entry to countdown to Thanksgiving.

I don’t want to get too mushy on you guys but I do think it’s important to remember the holidays can be really tough for people. Especially, if they’ve experienced any kind of loss this year.

Giving back through acts of service, words of encouragement or thoughtful surprises is a great way to celebrate what this season is all about.

Bonus, you just may “say yes” to something that will change your life.

Let us know if you make the “say yes” advent calendar too and the fun activities that challenged you most! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Other Advent & Countdown Calendar Ideas to Enjoy:

Many blessings,


Similar Posts


  1. Love this Coco, I have so many glass-less & backless frames around my house and reading a message a day to bring us out of a funk is an excellent idea! Pickers market is closing? Looks like a sign that it’s time you open up your own little boutique in town 😉

  2. I gotta say this could be fun and devilishly dangerous all at the same time. Thanks for the great idea

    1. ha ha I never thought of it that way Bonnie but you’re right! Tell us if you do this so we can be excited for you! Hugs, CoCo

  3. I’ve never thought about this kind of Advent Calendar, CoCo. Now I want to spend my weekend making one for my husband and kids that gets us all out of our comfort zones.

    1. It’s kind of scary and kind of fun all at the same time. Let me know if you decide to do this with your family, Sarah. I’m always interested to see what people pick for their challenges. Hugs, CoCo

  4. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this calendar…and yes, we meant that to me in all-caps! Doing something special for someone else – without any expectation is a wonderful gift. You have inspired us today!

    1. You guys are so sweet! I appreciate your kind words. If you decide to do this let me know what challenges you choose! Hugs, CoCo

  5. This is so great CoCo. I’ve never made or bought an advent calendar as an adult but I sure loved getting them every year as a kid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *