5 Best Advent Calendar Ideas for the Business Holiday Season

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Christmas Advent calendar gamification campaign idea for marketing

Do you remember gathering around the Christmas tree and waiting for your parents to call your name and hand you one of the wrapped boxes to open? Were you excited, filled with anticipation about what you’ll find in the presents? 

What if we could anticipate the excitement and celebrate for almost an entire month instead?

Advent calendars are a fun way to build excitement and anticipation around Christmas day.

If you own a business, they are a great way to engage your customers, boost your sales and distribute purchases during the entire month.

Keep reading to find out best advent calendar ideas. You will also learn how to create online advent calendars in minutes and with no coding at all!

What is an advent calendar?

An Advent Calendar is a Christmas countdown calendar. 

A traditional homemade advent calendar is made of doors, boxes, envelopes, or Christmas stockings, each with a number on it.

Christmas Advent Calendar campaign design idea

Starting on the first day of Advent – or the first day of December to simplify – the dynamics of this holiday tradition is to open the corresponding door or envelope to find Christmas activities and small treats such as: 

  • candy canes
  • Christmas cookies
  • little gifts

family activities (such as “watch a Christmas movie” or “read a Christmas book”)

Christmas stocking advent calendar design idea

The history of advent calendars

The story of advent calendars goes all the way back to the earliest nineteenth century when german Lutherans began using them as a way of preparing for the Christian festivity of the Nativity. Each day after the First Sunday of Advent, they used to burn a candle, mark the day with chalk and say a prayer.

This tradition evolved into the first wooden Advent Calendars which included short verses from the Bible, devotional images, and prayers. It was not until the twentieth century that the first printed calendars appeared, with the addition of small doors that could be opened. After the Second World War, chocolates and other small treats were added to the Advent calendars, which gained popularity outside of Germany.

Christmas chocolate advent calendar

Originally intended to entertain children and involve the whole family in the joy of the season, crafty Advent Calendars have now evolved into online gamified calendars that are used to promote sales, attract customers, and build brand awareness. Let’s see how 21st-century digital calendars work.

Are online advent calendars also fun?

People might argue that online advent calendars can´t provide the craftiness and family vibe traditional calendars have. And this might be true. But we are not willing to break family traditions.

Online advent calendars can relate to those family traditions, capitalize on their emotions, and design their own holiday experiences for their brand.

Some things you can do with your online advent calendar:

  • use fun activities to give out discounts and increase your sales
  • retain and attract customers by building a positive, fun experience with your brand
  • become top of mind by having people engaged for an entire month

Doesn’t it sound fun? And you haven´t heard the best part yet… you can bring your own advent calendar ideas to life in minutes with gamification software like Adact!

Eager to learn more? Let’s dive now into our pick of Advent calendar ideas for the business holiday season!

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Advent calendar ideas for the business holiday season

Many business budgets depend mainly on Christmas sales. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until Christmas to make sales.

Below, we have gathered five advent calendar ideas for your business that will help spread the holiday spirit throughout the whole year.

1. Christmas advent calendar

As Christmas approaches, get into the festive spirit with your very own advent calendar! Fill it with fun games, prizes, and discounts to help spread some Christmas cheer. Drive traffic to your site and remind people daily that Christmas is just around the corner – it’s the perfect time to buy presents for loved ones!

​​An advent calendar is a great way to keep your customers’ attention every day leading up to Christmas. By offering promotions and discounts, you can create excitement and encourage sales. Plus, everyone loves playing fun games – and sharing the experience with their friends too!

This is what your Christmas Advent Calendar could look like:

Swedbank Christmas gamification solution featuring digital Advent Calendar

2. Christmas tree advent calendar

The holidays are a special time of year when family and friends come together to celebrate. One of the most important traditions is putting up a Christmas tree. Hanging numbered boxes or ball ornaments from a Christmas tree – an actual tree or a wooden one – is another traditional format of the Advent Calendar. This year, try something new and use a tree-shaped design for your online advent calendar campaign.

Because, if you want to add some of the emotions and thrill of gathering around a tree to open gifts, what could be better than a Christmas tree theme?

Christmas tree advent calendar campaign idea

3. New Year’s eve advent calendar

Why stop the countdown at Christmas when your brand can be word-of-mouth for an entire month?

Surprise your audience with New Year’s eve gifts, games, and promos on a daily basis. They will visit your site long after Christmas – and even if their pockets are not as full this time of the year, you will keep them coming every year at least just to play!

Some ideas to keep the fun up until the New Year:

  • Boxing Day Flash Sale: The day after Christmas, December 26th is Boxing Day. While it started as a day to donate to the poor, it is nowadays a shopping holiday – ideal for a flash sale!
  • New Years´ Eve Plinko Ball: Over a million people gather at Times Square to see the New Years’ ball drop – there must be something magical going on. What if you could bring some of the excitement to December 31st with a Plinko game? Players will have to drop the ball and depending on where it falls they will get a discount or prize.

First Day of the Year giveaway: Surprise your audience with a New Years’ gift! A unique promo code, discount, or small prize can do the trick. And, if you want to add some excitement to the experience, make your customers open the interactive box to find the gift hidden in it.

New years advent calendar marketing campaign idea

4. Halloween advent calendar

October 31st is Halloween, a US-cherished holiday that is now celebrated almost everywhere. Anticipate the thrill with a two-week spooky calendar!

Halloween fans are going to enjoy this themed anticipation calendar so much! Fill your calendar with spooky games and themed deals and have people coming to your site to discover the daily surprises.

It is a good idea to set a fun mood by creating a cohesive experience with a landing page, matching email designs, and social media posts. It is all about the experience!

If you get it right, your audience will enjoy hours of fun with your business in mind.

Halloween advent calendar marketing campaign idea

5. Thanksgiving advent calendar

Between Christmas and Halloween comes silent Thanksgiving. Not all businesses build campaigns for this quiet Holiday but it is a huge opportunity to keep your audience engaged all year long!

Also, don´t forget to include Black Friday in your Thanksgiving advent calendar! Right after Thanksgiving (around the end of November) this holiday is one of the busiest shopping days in the retail calendar – probably because it is never too early to start shopping for Christmas.

Need some inspiration? In the following section, you will see how to create a digital advent calendar and, if you keep going, you will find a day-by-day advent calendar example for the days leading to Christmas.

Thanksgiving advent calendar gamification marketing campaign idea

How to create fun advent calendars with Adact.me

Making your own advent calendar is so easy with Adact! Shape your advent calendar ideas on Adact without any coding in just four simple steps.

#1 Create a campaign

Press the button “+ new campaign” and choose an Advent Calendar type of game – right under the lottery games section.

Create an advent calendar gamification marketing campaign

#2 Create your calendar

At the setup tab in the Game Calendar, define: 

  • the number of doors
  • the period or frequency in which each door will open
  • the start day for the campaign
Advent calendar gamification marketing campaign settings

#3 Customize your design

At the Calendar Visuals tab, set the look and feel of your campaign, add your logo, colors, and fonts and create your branded game. You can define:

  • the size of the doors
  • margins
  • animations
  • images for the closed and open doors (optional)
  • font size and color
ADvent calendar campaign game visuals and rules idea

#4 Customize each door

At the Calendar Setup tab, move the toggle switch to choose “use custom styles”, pick the number of the door you want to edit, and define an action for it. Possible actions are: 

  • Open campaign: For example, redirect to a campaign with a trivia game.
  • Open URL: Redirect to a landing page on your site.
  • Prize: Define an instant prize such as a discount or free product.
Gamification marketing campaign advent calendar door functionality idea

#5 Publish the campaign

Once you have finished editing, get sure that it is published and it will start at the set time.

If you are more of a video tutorial type of person, get started with the Adact advent calendar setup tutorial. If you want to learn more about this and over 30 other campaigns, book a demo with one of our experts.

You should have a clear picture now of how to create your advent calendar. The hard part, though, is to come up with creative engaging ideas for every single day. Fortunately, being a season of generosity, we have prepared for you a 14-day Christmas advent calendar example. You will find tons of games and ideas to engage your customers and promote your business!

Book a Demo

In the meeting, we will take a look at ADACT, discuss different game ideas and how gamification can help reach your marketing goals.

Christmas advent calendar example

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit already? If you are a Christmas grinch or creativity is just not your area of expertise, check our day-by-day two-week Christmas advent calendar. 

And the best part is all games below can easily be designed with Adact! Just create each game and then customize the advent calendar door to open the corresponding campaign.

Day 1: Christmas Candy Crush

Start your calendar with one of the most highly-addictive games of all time! Invite your audience to swipe Christmas-themed candies or other objects to create sets of three or more matching elements. In the end, players will be able to exchange their points for rewards at your store.

Day 2: Surprise prize!

Give out a free gift with your customer’s purchase. Some great ideas are candles, chocolates, small fragrances, or makeup products – these can be your own products or you can reach out to other brands for an alliance. Just make sure the giveaway is a good fit for your brand.

Day 3: Wheel of Fortune

Add some thrill to the holidays! Invite your customers to spin the wheel to win discounts and other small treats. 

These are some ideas for giveaways your customers will love:

  • free shipping 
  • free gift with their purchase (it could be a small product, a candle, or chocolate, for instance)
  • % discount coupon
  • $20 discount coupon
Adact gamification wheel of fortune marketing campaign

Day 4: Special promo code

Tempt your customers with a special prize today: a promo code that can be exchanged on your site for a 40% discount or so. The idea is to offer a really attractive discount that customers will not want to miss!

Day 5: Digital Scratchcard

Is there anything more exciting than scratching a card to win a prize? In this digital scratchcard, your audience will have to click on the image to find a prize or discount below it. Ready to play?

Adact digital scratchcard gamification campaign

Day 6: Shareable content

Redirect your audience to a blog article with activity ideas to share with your family and kids, Christmas recipes, or decor ideas for your Christmas table – whatever your customers will find valuable. 

Include a promo code to be used on your site and invite readers to share the content and subscribe.

Day 7: Christmas Trivia

Create a challenging trivia game with Christmas-related questions. The visitors who answer all questions correctly will receive a prize.

Some ideas for the questions:

  • In Charles Dickens’s book “A Christmas Carol” what was the first name of Scrooge?
  • Which Christmas song contains the lyric “Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way?”
  • Which country started the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree?
Advent calendar marketing campaign idea: Christmas Trivia

Day 8: Open the box interactive experience

We all love unwrapping presents. Let your audience open a box to find a voucher with a special discount or gift. Everybody wins!

Extra idea: To claim their prizes, ask your customers to fill in a form with their details – a great source for lead generation.

Advent calendar marketing campaign idea: Open the box

Day 9: Whack-an-elf!

The traditional whack-a-mole game is a super fun game that can easily be connected to Christmas!

Players will have to whack away the bad elves who are trying to steal your products and collect rewards that will lead them to your online store. With your products popping out every time faster and your customers trying to keep up with them, this is a great game for building brand awareness. Plus, it can be highly addictive!

Advent calendar marketing campaign idea: whack-an-elf

Day 10: Christmas wordle challenge

Word puzzles are great entertainment for the holidays. Have your visitors look up festivity words and give out discounts and prizes as a reward!

Advent calendar marketing campaign idea: Christmas Wordle

Day 11: Multiplayer Trivia

Users never get tired of Trivia. Create a competitive game and extend the reach of your campaign with your users inviting their friends to play.

Day 12: Gifts tower stacking

Stack your presents in a tower and get points that can be exchanged for rewards. Easy, entertaining, fun game that your customers will love!

Advent calendar marketing campaing idea: Gift tower stacking

Day 13: Video Trivia

Videos hold viewers’ attention longer and are a great way of creating engagement. For your video trivia, you could use a mix of fragments of popular Christmas movies such as “Love Actually” or “Home Alone” and also showcase some of your products.

Day 14: Flash sale

Redirect your audience to a landing page with a flash sale – only for 24 hours. Include small, budget-friendly products and higher point-of-price products with a special discount.

Tips for using advent calendars to promote your business

Christmas is a great time of the year not only to make sales but also to create memorable experiences and increase brand awareness and loyalty.

There are, though, some key elements that you need to consider if you are designing an advent calendar campaign. Here are the most important tips:

1. Customize your website and campaigns

Don´t forget that the main objective of your advent calendar campaign is to drive traffic to your site – and, even if it’s not, people might wanna check up on who you are online. Design your site as an extension of the campaign to ensure consistency in the experience.

2. Promote your calendar via email and social media campaigns

Did you know that, according to Invesp, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one? 

Reach your subscribed audience via email and invite them to check your advent calendar. Use your social media reach to ask your audience to start playing. Advent calendars are a great retention strategy that can also lead to sales.

3. Create a sense of urgency

Countdown games are one of the best ways to create a sense of urgency. An advent calendar will remind your audience every single day that they are getting out of time to buy their gifts. Using words such as “limited time only” will help emphasize the urgency.

4. Create a fun experience with themed games

Using a combination of free gifts, discounts, and themed games can provide variety to the experience and add some fun to it. Just as a reminder, these are some ideas for games to include:

5. Launch post-holidays offers

You don’t need to limit yourself to Chrismast times (or whatever holiday you are celebrating), your customers will be excited to keep playing and receiving gifts even after the holidays are over. Extend your sales period by including post-holiday offers!

Conclusion

Advent calendars are a great idea for extending the holidays and boosting sales. What better excuse for themed fun games and rewards than everyone´s preferred celebrations?

Building a calendar with activities and prizes for each day can help engage customers, collect new leads, increase loyalty, and create brand awareness.

Luckily, there is a way of designing such calendars in a matter of minutes and with no coding experience. Adact.me is an extremely user-friendly platform that allows you to easily design your customized advent calendar. And you can add fun game activities by choosing from more than 30 highly-customizable game formats!

Book a demo to learn more about Adact.me gamification possibilities – or sign up now!

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FAQ

How do you make a fun advent calendar?

If you are not the DIY advent calendar type, you can make your advent calendar online and very easily with Adact. Just follow these four steps.

  1. Create a campaign
  2. Set up your calendar
  3. Customize your game visuals
  4. Set an action for each door
  5. Publish the campaign

What is traditionally in an advent calendar?

Traditionally, advent calendar ideas include surprises such as sweets, toys, games, and inspirational phrases.

What is the most popular advent calendar?

The most popular advent calendar ideas these days are pre-made advent calendars designed by companies such as Lindt, Saks, and Lego. In these giftable sets, you can find small surprises such as chocolates, scents and candles, body care, makeup products, wine, tea, and Lego designs.

What are good games ideas for a Christmas online advent calendar?

Some good games ideas to include in your Christmas online advent calendar are:

  • wheel of fortune
  • wordle game
  • Candy Crush
  • Open the box interactive experience
  • Digital Scratchcard
  • Christmas Trivia
  • Whack-a-mole
  • Gifts tower stacking

Book a Demo

In the meeting, we will take a look at ADACT, discuss different game ideas and how gamification can help reach your marketing goals.
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