Did you have an Advent Calendar when you were little? The anticipation of opening that little door to unlock the candy or treat inside each day was almost unbearable. Knowing that Santa would come when all the doors were opened was the icing on the fruitcake! Well, we’ve got a treat for you – the Lubbock Moms Holiday Advent Calendar is now here for 2020! We’ve captured 24 of our favorite traditions, events, and sights – one for every day of the holiday season.
This year the activities may look a little different, but we’ve included lots of options to celebrate the season from home or in a socially distanced and safe way. As always, be sure to check with the venue before you head out in case they have to adjust for COVID-19.
From our family to yours: we wish you a magical holiday season filled with love, fellowship, and the correct number and size of batteries on Christmas morning!
Love, the Lubbock Moms Team
Kick off the month with a tradition you can only find in Lubbock – Texas Tech’s Carol of Lights! While this year’s event will only be offered in a virtual format, you can drive or walk through the beautiful campus display during the month of December. The program begins at 6:30 pm and will stream on KTTZ and through TTU. Get all of the details here!
LCU hosts a drive-thru version of their popular event, “Big Blue Christmas,” from 5-7 pm. Find all of the details on this family favorite event here!
Start a new family tradition, and maybe a little family competition. Have everyone decorate their bedroom door (or if kids share a room, someone does a bathroom, pantry, playroom door, etc.). Set clear parameters about what is allowed so no one gets hurt 🙂 We used to do this in an office I worked in; each person would choose a paper to wrap their door. It was a lot of fun to do, and it added a really festive look!
Build and/or decorate a pre-built Gingerbread House! This is a gooey, messy activity that is always a hit.
Starting tonight and repeating December 12th and 19th, visit Santa’s Castle in Highland Oaks to ride the Christmas Train, meet Santa, and sip delicious hot chocolate. This event is free to the public!
Writing a letter to Santa is a long-established tradition, but you can take it up a notch this year by getting a response back! Check out the details from our friends at the USPS. Mail your letter by the 7th to ensure you have a response before Christmas!
Is your kiddo more of an email person? Santa is caught up and ready to go for a 2020 lifestyle. Send your email to ElfontheShelf.com/kids and click on Menu-> Activities -> Write to Santa. The elves will respond to every email!
One of our favorite traditions is the visit the Angel Tree and select an Angel or two to help spread some holiday cheer. We like to visit both the Angel Tree at our elementary school and the community-wide tree at South Plains Mall. Our children shop with us while we are fulfilling Angel wishes. It’s a fun and easy way to remind them how we can support our community members and think of others.
If you want to participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree, this year’s deadlines are December 10 to select a child and December 12 to deliver the gifts back to the drop off-site. More information available on their website.
Time for a Christmas Dance Party! Turn down the lights, crank up the special Kids Christmas Dance Party Playlist from Spotify and get moving. This is one of the most requested activities at our house!
The Salvation Army has such a fun way for families to volunteer during the holiday season: ringing their famous bells to support their red kettle campaign. Families can sign up here for a 2-hour shift at locations around town and ring the bell while collecting donations from the community.
Santa Land opens tonight and runs through December 23rd! This year, Santa Land will be a drive-through event, held nightly from 6-10 pm. Don’t miss your chance to see holiday lights, Christmas scenes, and the special guests – Santa and Mrs. Claus! Make sure your family gets the full experience by switching over to AM 1280 for Christmas music! This event is free for all, and more information can be found here!
Stream the Ballet Lubbock’s special Nutcracker performance, starting tonight through December 31st. You can purchase the Nutcracker on Demand and snack boxes here! If leaving your house to see the special is more your speed, pop over to December 18th for the Drive-In version. Buy your tickets before they sell out!
If you’re looking for even MORE ways to catch a performance of The Nutcracker, check out our exhaustive list here!
Maxey Community Center will be hosting its 7th annual Breakfast With Santa on Saturday, December 12, from 10 am to noon. The cost is $10 per person, and you can register online here and find more information at the City of Lubbock Parks & Recreation website.
Our family loves to drive around listening to Christmas music while we look at lights. And fortunately, in Lubbock, there are so many great areas to choose from. Ransom Canyon has a beautiful display with their neighborhood going all out for Christmas. Just a short drive over, you can also visit the displays at Buffalo Springs Lake. If you prefer to stay in town, you can’t go wrong with the Lakeridge neighborhood or Vintage Township. And, of course, our friends at Wayland University Lubbock put on a truly spectacular light show at their campus at 801 N Quaker.
MYO Wrapping paper for Grandma and Grandpa’s gifts! Purchase a big roll of white or brown Kraft paper (Thanks, Amazon!), stamps, sponges, stencils, stickers, you name it and let the kids go wild. (Pro Tip: skip the glitter on this one). Let go of any dreams that this will look like Pottery Barn paper- your kiddo’s unique creation is what makes it special!
No Christmas is complete without viewing the Grinch movie, and this year there’s also a fun Grinch game to add to the festivities!
One of our favorite December activities is to take a Christmas light walk through our own neighborhood – it’s a great way to get some exercise every evening and enjoy the sights of your own block. Why not host a Sidewalk Paint Decoration Contest for your neighborhood this year and get everyone in on the action! (Tip: Mix up your sidewalk paint in a big bowl and then divide into bottles and add food coloring.)
One of our favorite Christmas Traditions is streaming right into your home this year! Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be playing a live 90-minute special of “Christmas Even and Other Stories” beginning at 7:00 pm. You can purchase the streaming package here and watch again and again until 11 pm, Sunday, December 20th.
You’ve seen the craze, so try your hand at making them yourself: Hot Cocoa Bombs! They’re so fun, and they’re easier than you might think – and they make great last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers. (Pro Tip: our favorite kitchen store, Big Plate, has the silicone molds!)
Bonus activity: MYO Mugs! Decorate white mugs from the dollar store with Sharpies and then bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Make sure to let them cool completely!
Still haven’t gotten your photos with Santa? Head to Holland Gardens and see Santa while you choose a new ornament for your Christmas tree. The folks at Holland Gardens go ALL OUT for Christmas, and their amazing tree display is like nothing you’ve ever seen: dozens of trees in every theme you can imagine. They have Santa most weekends through the holiday season, and you can take pictures with your own camera for free – best of all, there’s hardly ever a line, and they have a GREAT Santa!
Polar Express Movie Night! Put on your jammies (bonus point for matching, Christmas, or matching Christmas jammies!), turn down the lights, and watch this family favorite. If you’d like to be a little extra (ahem, our family, at Christmas time), have cookies and hot chocolate at the ready for the cabin scene, and present the kiddos with their very own bell after the movie ends.
Holiday Minute-to-Win-It family game night! Right before Christmas eve, take a break from the stress and enjoy some time together (you can pre-make all of these activities!).
- Snow Shovel (need: two bowls, plastic spoons, small white pom poms) – Transfer all snowballs to the other bowl using only the plastic spoon in your mouth.
- Barrel of Candy Canes (need: bowl, wrapped candy canes) – Put wrapped candy canes on the table. Using one candy cane in your mouth, pick up one candy cane at a time to transfer to the bowl. (Think barrel of monkeys!)
- Christmas tree cup stack (need: green plastic cups) – Stack a pile (24) of cups into a “Christmas Tree” (pyramid) and put back into a single stack in under a minute.
- Reindeer Games (need antler headband and inflatable rings) – Who can get the most rings in a minute?
- String the Candy Canes (need: the candy canes from above, tinsel/garland) – String the tinsel between two chairs. Have the player stand on the chair and drop the candy cane, attempting to hang on the tinsel. Two people can play at once from opposite sides!
- Finish up the game night with a few rounds of Heads Up (available on the App Store for Apple and Google Play). We like the Christmas, Just Kidding, and Disney decks best!
It’s not really Christmas in our family until we’ve baked and decorated approximately a million Christmas Cookies. We use a cookie recipe and a homemade icing recipe from friends of mine in college, which makes the tradition just a bit sweeter. The best part about this activity is you don’t actually need any artistic ability- trust me 😉 Bonus activity: we are fortunate to have great neighbors, so we like to take over some cookies when we’re done. You could also take some to share in your office or with other friends. Click here to download our famous Akins Family cookie recipe!
At-Home Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. One of our very favorite traditions is to attend a Christmas Eve Service as a family. Since we have some immunocompromised family members, we’ll be recreating our own at home this year. Check back here for a list of churches offering streaming services; if you’d like your service to be included, please drop us a line at [email protected] with a link to your stream or page.