- November 30, 2015

Hill Country Christmas Countdown with Free Printable!


Hill Country Christmas CountdownAs 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 Symphony’s Christmas in the Community Series Ongoing (FREE)
Holiday Music at The Driskill Ongoing (FREE)
Handel’s Messiah* December 1, 2015
Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll December 5, 2015 (FREE)
Tuba Christmas December 21, 2015 (FREE)

3. Visit a Trail of Lights

Hancock Recreation Center Candle Light Trail December 4-5, 2015 (FREE)
Austin Trail of Lights* December 8-22, 2015
Luminations at the Wildflower Center* December 12-13, 2015
Walkway of Lights (Marble Falls) November 20, 2015 – January 1, 2016 (FREE)
EmilyAnn Trail of Lights (Wimberley) November 28 – December 29, 2015 (FREE)

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 27 – December 24, 2015 (FREE)
German Christmas Market December 5, 2015 (FREE)
Violet Crown Arts Festival December 5-6, 2015 (FREE)
Budafest (Buda) December 5-6, 2015 (FREE)
Cherrywood Art Fair December 12-13, 2015 (FREE)
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar* December 15-24, 2015

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, 2015 – December 28, 2015
The Nutcracker* December 5-23, 2015
Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story* December 4-5 and 11-12, 2015
TexARTS Presents The Nutcracker* December 5-6, 2015
Holiday Heroes* December 12 & 19, 2015

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 Films at Paramount Theatre*

13. Donate a Toy or Book to Charity

Blue Santa
Brown Santa
Orange Santa
Salvation Army Angel Tree

14. Celebrate the Holidays at the Library

APL’s Holiday Events (FREE)

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

Four Seasons Austin Gingerbread Village
Omni Barton Creek Gingerbread House Competition
Second Saturdays are for Families: Gingerbread Villas December 12, 2015 (FREE)

Find ideas for homemade houses here.

17. Attend a Tree Lighting

Driskill Tree – December 1, 2015
Mueller Tower December 1, 2015
Heritage Oak (Cedar Park) December 4, 2015
Capitol Tree December 5, 2015
LBJ Tree (Stonewall) December 20, 2015

18. Attend a Craft Workshop

Lakeshore Learning Every Saturday (FREE)
Austin Public Library (FREE)
Home Depot December 5, 2015 (FREE)
Lowe’s December 12, 2015 (FREE)

19. Attend a Living Nativity

Follow the Star (Cedar Park) December 3-5, 2015 (FREE)
Main Street Bethlehem (Burnet) December 4-6 and 11-13, 2015 (FREE)
Bethlehem Village (Georgetown) December 4-5, 2015 (FREE)
Drive-thru Luminary (Pflugerville) December 5-6, 2015 (FREE)
Bethany United Methodist Church December 11-12, 2015 (FREE)

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.

22. Go Caroling

Find tips for successful caroling here.
Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll December 5, 2015

23. Pick Out and Decorate the Christmas Tree

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

24. Attend a Christmas-themed Storytime

Austin Public Library
Laura’s and Westbank Libraries
Wells Branch Library
Lake Travis Community Libary
Round Rock Library
Pflugerville Library
Barnes & Noble (Arboretum)
Barnes & Noble (Round Rock)
Barnes & Noble (Sunset Valley)

25. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

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!

Christmas Countdown PrintableMake 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.