- November 28, 2014

Hill Country Christmas Countdown ~ Free Printable!


As we enter the season of Advent, let’s face it…waiting is hard. While I sit here, stunned, thinking Halloween was just yesterday, my kids are already bouncing off the walls in anticipation of Christmas. For our family, an Advent calendar works wonders to stave off the “Is it Christmas yet?!?” chorus and to put some structure to that excitement. This year, I am thrilled to switch to a calendar full of experiences rather than stuff–and even more delighted that I get to share it with you.

This uniquely Austin countdown is chock-full of fun ways to help your family celebrate the season. Simply cut out the squares in our 
Hill Country Christmas Countdown printable and place them in a cute little holder like this or this. Feeling crafty? Get ideas for constructing your own calendar here. Not so crafty? Stick the whole thing on your fridge for ideas when you need them.

However you use it, we hope you’ll enjoy our holiday printable. The list below provides all the details you need to fulfill your 25 days of Advent adventures in Austin. Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

1. Play in the Snow

Find times and locations here.

2. Attend a Holiday Concert

Austin Trail of Lights* December 7-21, 2014
Luminations December 13-14, 2014
Walkway of Lights (Marble Falls) November 21, 2014 – January 1, 2015
EmilyAnn Trail of Lights (Wimberley) November 29-December 31, 2014

4. Admire Christmas Lights

Find times and locations here.

5. Bake Cookies
Find Shellie’s 15 Favorite Christmas Cookies here.

6. Take a Photo with Santa

Find times and locations here*.

7. Visit a Christmas Market

Blue Genie Art Bazaar November 28 – December 24, 2014
Renegade Craft Fair November 29-30, 2014
ATX Artisans Holiday Market November 30, 2014
German Christmas Market December 6, 2014
Violet Crown Arts Festival December 6-7, 2014
Budafest (Buda) December 6-7, 2014
Cherrywood Art Fair December 13-14, 2014 
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar* December 16-24, 2014
Find more local holiday markets here.

8. Go Ice Skating
Find times and locations here*.

9. See a Christmas Play (or put on your own)

A Christmas Carol* November 26, 2014 – December 28, 2014
Elf: The Musical* November 28-30, 2014
The Nutcracker: Suite Dreams* December 5-7, 2014
Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story* December 5-6 and 13-14, 2014
TexARTS Presents the
NutcrackerDecember 6-7, 2014
Holiday Heroes* December 13-20, 2014

10. Write a letter to Santa
Read here how to get a free response from Santa via the USPS.

11. Sip Hot Cocoa and Read Christmas Books

Find Shellie’s Top 25 Children’s Christmas Books here.
Find The Children’s Book Review Best Kids Christmas Books here.

12. Watch a Christmas Movie
Find ideas to watch at home here.
ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas
Holiday Movie Marathon December 23, 2014
Looking to add some to your collection? Shellie has a list of Holiday Blu-rays under $10.

13. Donate a Toy or Book to Charity

APL’s Holiday Events December 4-27, 2014

15. Send a Card to a Soldier

Operation Gratitude
Operation Write Home
Operation Christmas Cards

16. Make a Gingerbread House or Visit the Gingerbread Village

See your local options here*. Find ideas for homemade houses here.

17. Attend a Tree Lighting

Zilker Holiday Tree November 30, 2014
Driskill Tree – December 2, 2014
Mueller Tower December 2, 2014
Heritage Oak (Cedar Park) December 5, 2014
Capitol Tree December 6, 2014
LBJ Tree (Stonewall) December 21, 2014

18. Attend a Craft Workshop

Lakeshore Learning Every Saturday
Michaels* Every Saturday
Upcycle This December 4, 2014
Home Depot December 6, 2014 
Lowes December 13, 2014

19. Attend a Living Nativity

Follow the Star December 4-6, 2014
Main Street Bethlehem (Burnet) December 5-7 and 12-14, 2014
Drive-thru Luminary (Pflugerville) December 6-7, 2014
Bethany United Methodist Church December 12-13, 2014
Bethlehem Nights (Johnson City) December 12-13, 2014
Park Hills Baptist Church December 12-14, 2014
His-Story December 18-21, 2014
Mount Olive Lutheran Church December 19, 2014
Trail of Life December 19-21, 2014
Find more here

20. Cruise Past the Loop 360 Christmas Trees
Read about them here.

21. Have a Family Game Night

Find 15 Best Board Games for Family Game Nights here.
Find Family Game Night ideas on Pinterest here.
Game Night at Cafe Ruckus Every Monday

22. Go Caroling

Find tips for successful caroling here.
Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll December 6, 2014

23. Pick Out and Decorate the Christmas Tree

Find live Christmas trees in Austin here.
Find Cut-Your-Own tree farms here

24. Attend a Christmas-themed Storytime
Find 101 Easy Ideas here.

If any of the activities above aren’t a good fit, here are some bonus ideas as well as Kids Choice cards and blank cards for you to add in your own ideas.

1. Christmas Coloring Pages
2. Deliver Treats to Neighbors
3. Write a Letter to Santa
4. Decorate the House
5. Kids Choice Activity x 4
6. Blank squares for your own ideas x 5

Of course, if your holidays are too busy for daily activities, you can sprinkle in some candy, books or other treats on days you can’t get out! 

Click on the image below to download your free copy of the Hill Country Christmas Countdown printable!

Make this holiday the best ever! Be sure to follow Free Fun in Austin for more hot holiday events and activities and don’t miss Saving With Shellie’s complete holiday coverage to grab all your gifts for less! 

*Check the link for admission fees. 

In her life before kids, Emily held jobs as a zookeeper, a middle school teacher, and a tour bus driver in the wilds of Montana–not one of which prepared her for the adventures of motherhood. Now she’s living the good life in Austin with her husband, two sons and a Great Dane. When she’s not off gallivanting with her boys, you might find Emily baking up a mean batch of cupcakes, recalling obscure 80s song lyrics, or dreaming of peace and quiet.