Gratitude Advent Calendar, Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for kids

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar: Day 1 of 12 Days of Shopping

Jeanette of Tiny Rotten Peanuts and I are doing a 12 Days of Shopping series. We cooked this up over a giggly Skype session with gift ideas that hopefully will help you out this holiday season. A few of our ideas are meant to amuse you as well! We hope you enjoy our series for the next 12 straight days.
Piglet noticed that although he had a very small heart, it could hold a lot of gratitude.
A. A. Milne
We are kicking it off today with Advent Calendars with a gratitude twist. When I think of gratitude, it seems to go hand in hand with acts of kindness. I think a kind act helps us appreciate what we have and those around us. My idea for a Gratitude Advent Calendar is to make a DIY Gratitude Journal and choose a Random Act of Kindness to do that day OR simply write down what you are grateful for.
My kids like Advent Calendars for the chocolate and you can add that element too by doling out a piece of chocolate for each day in which a Random Act of Kindness is completed or when you write down something you are grateful for.

We’ll start by making a Gratitude Journal out of brown paper lunch bags. I got this idea from Confessions of an Over Worked Mom.
You will need:
DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar
  • Cardstock for the cover
  • Some ribbon
  • Paper lunch size bags, a variety is fine
  • Hole Punch
  • Post It Notes to write down your Random Act of Kindness or Gratitude.

1. Fold the paper lunch bags over to the fold of the bottom of the bag and cut off the bottom.

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

2. Cut out cover slightly larger than largest size paper bag.

3. Punch holes into bags and cover.

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

4. Tie ribbons.

DIY Gratitude Advent CalendarDIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

5. Decorate cover. Print a copy of the cover here.

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

To make the Gratitude Journal into an Advent Calendar, use post it notes for each day and write down a Random Act of Kindness to do that day.

DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar

On days where it’s impossible to do a Random Act of Kindness, simply write down what each member of the family is grateful for.

gratitude advent calendar

Here are some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness:

1. Hold the door for someone.

2. Take the time to thank someone for something they do that is generally unnoticed.

3. Give a sincere compliment.

4. Put change in a stranger’s parking meter.

5. Make a small donation of something you purge from your house. It can be used books for the library book fair, a small bag of canned food for a food bank, or gently used clothes for a local charity like Cradle to Crayons.

6. Pick up trash at the playground or park.

7. Pick up dog poop on the sidewalk or park that isn’t from your dog.

8. Weed the neighborhood park or school playground.

9. Bake cookies for the local firemen.

10. Cheer for the opposing sports team that your child is playing against when they do something amazing.

11. Recycle something you don’t usually do.

12. Rescue spiders that wander into your house or other critters.

13. Donate food to a local food pantry

14. Donate used clothes to a charity.

15. Hold the door at drop off.

16. Do a household chore that is usually not your responsibility.

17. Turn off all excess lights in the house.

18. Help someone with their job.

19. Teach someone who needs help.

20. Let someone go in front of you in line.

21. Be polite on the road.

22. Offer someone a piece of gum.

23. Share your umbrella.

24. Say a cheery “Good Morning”

25. Say something nice about someone.

What are your favorite Random Acts of Kindess Ideas? Please share!

Gratitude Advent Calendar, Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for kids

p.s. Thank you to my friend Melissa B for sending me this Read Together Advent Calendar fun idea from Holidaze.

Wrap up twenty-five children’s books and put them under the tree with a special blanket next to them. Before bed each evening, your kids choose one book to open and read together…until Christmas.

picture book advent calendar read together idea


MaryAnne from MamaSmiles has Picture Book Advent Calendar too!

picture book christmas

p.p.s. For more Random Acts of Kindness Ideas, I did 48 two years ago to celebrate my birthday.

12 Days of Shopping with Jeanette of Tiny Rotten Peanuts

Day 1: Gratitude Advent Calendars (Mine, Jeanette’s)
Day 2: Gifts That Give Back (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 3: Gender Bending Gifts for Kids (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 4: Gifts for Those Impossible to Shop for (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 5: Gifts to Open Minds (Gifts for Kids Who Hate Art and Reading, Jeanette’s Reluctant Artists)

Day 6: Oops, I Did It Again; Worst Gifts Ever (Ugly Holiday Sweaters, Oh So Tacky Christmas Gifts)

Day 7: Gifts to Steal from Loved Ones (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 8: Left Brain/Right Brain Gifts (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 9: Gifts for Those Easily Forgotten & Unique Client Gifts

Day 10: Gifts for New Year’s Resolutions (Mine, Jeanette’s)

Day 11: Giving and Receiving Unwanted Gifts & 15 DIY Gift Ideas

Day 12: The Art of the Thank You Note (Mine, Jeanette’s)

p.p.p.s. For more DIY holiday ideas, check out Living Locurto’s Living Creative link up.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board DIY Instead of Buy: Kids on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. So glad my craft inspired you! Love the way yours turned out!
    Ellen Christian recently posted…Simple Scrapbooking Ideas | Organizing PhotosMy Profile

  2. I LOVE the gratitude advent calendar & ideas for random acts of kindness!

    Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  3. Dee

    Love this idea, especially that you are sharing it now before December!!!

    • Thanks so much Dee!
      I needed a month to actually make the book so I figured my readers who were interested would too. It’s not hard to make but it took me a few weeks to gather up the supplies and find the time to sit down and do it. You don’t need to make it though. Any kind of paper to track the acts of kindness would work but I love the idea of saving it each year as a keepsake.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…DIY Gratitude Advent Calendar: Day 1 of 12 Days of ShoppingMy Profile

  4. This is such a great idea! I love how simple it is to make, and I especially love that you listed ideas for RAKs.
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…Advent Calendars: DIY or Buy?My Profile

  5. I love your RAK list! Not sure I would have the guts to save a spider ( they freak me out a little) but my husband found a baby snake in the basement and set him free the other night 🙂 I think my favorite RAK during the holidays is letting people go ahead of me in a line at the grocery store. It’s fun to make someone smile with a small act of kindness.
    Jacquie recently posted…The Quickest and Most Beautiful Fall Project Ever!My Profile

  6. Hello! Great post. I love your list of 25 Days of gratitude and random acts of kindness. I’m definitely going to try to do as many of these as I can. Thank you for the inspiration. 😀
    Vashti Quiroz-Vega recently posted…The Search for the Last Flower – Part 9My Profile

  7. I love this Advent Calendar idea 🙂
    Catherine recently posted…Advent Calendars for Little BookwormsMy Profile

  8. Such a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday!
    Mrs.AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes {3}My Profile

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