I know it's already December 2nd so I'm a bit late on this but I thought I would share what I have planned for our Advent calendar this year. As I've shared in the past here, rather than doing small gifts or candy for our Advent calendar, each day we get an activity prompt. The kids have really embraced this (they don't know anything else which surely helps) and it has turned into a wonderful tradition for our whole family.
Here's what we have planned this year.
** Make paper snowflake garland
** Make gingerbread house
** Eat gingerbread pancakes
** Read Legend of the Candy Cane and make candy cane cookies
** Watch Rudolph
** Gratitude Garland
** Go to the tree lighting on base
** Choose two toys to donate
** Go to the kids' Christmas party at Daddy's work
** Make goodies for the birds (string popcorn, peanut butter pinecones, etc.)
** Watch Polar Express
** Make hand/foot reindeer
** Watch the Very First Noel
** Make teacher gifts
** Make a card for a friend and mail it
** Donate canned goods
** Picnic dinner by the tree
** Bake sugar cookies
** Decorate sugar cookies
** FaceTime/Skype family to sing carols
** Go to the party at Connor's school
** Take an evening walk to look at lights and drink cocoa afterward
** Go see the nativity scenes in a nearby town
** Read the Christmas Story from Luke
Now, in full disclosure, sometimes the activity just doesn't happen for some reason (like a 10 pound weight being dropped on a 6 year old's finger which throws the whole evening into a tailspin as a hypothetical example). That's ok. We just push it to the next day. So, on Saturday (again, hypothetically) we'll be eating gingerbread pancakes and making the gingerbread house. It all works out.
Also, some years I plan the activities as we go. This doesn't really work for me as I find myself late at night trying to figure out a plan for the next day. This year, I have it planned for the whole month which is nice. Of course, it's in pencil on my calendar so I can change plans if needed.
Even if you don't do the whole advent calendar thing, these ideas can be incorporated into the month sporadically. You can also search for advent activities and get tons of results. One blogger I read just posted today with ideas this link with the idea of putting a joke a day in the kids' lunchboxes.