In our family, as far as I can remember, we always had an advent calendar and were impatiently waiting for it, day after day, year after year. With my kids, my mother started this tradition with Loic when he was about 3 years old ( old enough to eat chocolate and that she knew that I wouldn’t complaint to much haha ) and kept buying the these chocolate advent calendars.
This year, for the first time, ( yes she still bought that advent calendar ) but I wanted to make change, make it different and especially, more creative. So I wanted to share with you the way I will fill this advent calendar, and not only with chocolate but with some fun, different ideas that won’t always give your kids that sugar rush that we’re not always looking for. Also, what I kind of really like about that kind of calendar is that you can use it year after it, filling it with different little cute items that will grow with the kids. It can also be the one that our kids will use when they’ll be parents themselves.
The advent calendar for counting down to Christmas I chose is a fun and still minimalist, that of course needs to fit with my home style ( not to many colours but still festive with a holiday theme. I like it’s simplicity, not to busy pattern, I love it. Totally me. Here’s the link.
Boutique Clement: https://www.clement.ca/en/home.aspx
So here are some of my favorite ideas on how to fill the advent calendar, and of course depending on how big or small each pocket or little box is for each day, since filling them can definitely be a challenge, especially if you don’t want like me to just add yet chocolate, but have a fun alternative for the young ones. I am doing this year a multiple themed advent calendar but you could definitely do a 1 BIG THEME for the whole 25 days of Christmas countdown with these ideas:
1.Lego/Playmobile figurines : There is the official LEGO advent calendars out there but it’s a cheaper and more fun way of doing it your self. You can then choose the collection of figurines you want to get them, depending of what they like or already have.
2.Wodden trains: Complete a play set. So my kids, per example have the Thomas the train wooden trail and trains, so It could be a fun idea of adding one more to their collection. Or if you would like to go with the big themed version, you could get them a complete new set and divide the pieces into the 25 days of the calendar.
3.Mini Cars: Since I have 3 boys, favorites toys are usually anything that includes cars, trains and tractors. So buying small cars in bulk and then you can easily spread them into the calendar on different days.
4.Money: It might not be for everyone since giving money for Christmas might just not be quite in the spirit but having them save all the money that they will get in that calendar and they can even buy themselves a bigger toy after 25 days, save it for later or even get a present to the person of their choice. I already know which one of my kid will save and which one will get a gift for someone else… haha!
5.Tattoos: Get them a tattoos of maybe Christmas related tattoos or with their favorite character. What we are doing is have 5 tattoos on a day so everyone in the family will have one, even us, and the kids will have to place it for us.
6.Free activity coupon. It’s filling your calendar part of things but also part with fun activities, experiences, that will bring into making memories with them. Like going to the park, baking cookies, going to see Santa, making a snowman, creating more tree decorations…
7.Permission coupon. Another way of filling the advent calendar but not with just items, is giving them a special permission on that day, per example: tonight, you decide at what time you go to bed ( of course I will consult my agenda to make sure it’s a weekend ), or tonight you can sleep in mommy and daddy bed, or have a movie in mommy’s and daddy’s bed, or we can have diner in the living room, sitting on floor pillows or any other fun permissive activity that they are not used to.
8.Chocolate: I still think the advent calendar needs chocolate, but not everyday, so we got them some Bueno kinder surprises and Hershey kisses. I won’t mind the chocolate high that night, and we might join them with the extra we have…
9.Gift certificate: Gift certificates could be from anywhere. Here are some of my favorite ideas: Subway, iTune, favorite toy store, candy store…
10.Movie passes: We are getting the movie passes so the day they choose, they get to CHOOSE the movie they want to see.
11.Lip gloss. They are perfect during this colder season, are small, easy to buy and they come in so may flavours and themes. And yes, my boys like lip gloss, especially during winter of for our beach vacations too.
12.Stickers. My boys love to play with stickers. So getting them rolls or stripe will fit well in the calendar pocket and of course you can get them either a holiday theme to make this period more magical or with the favorite characters too.
13.Erasers. I like to get them fun erasers so when it comes to making their homework at home at night, it adds a little more fun to this more educational time. Again, cute holiday ones are fun to have.
14.Glowsticks. They are fun, small and the kids love them. That night, they can even take their bath with it which will make this time a little more fun and add some magic to it.
15.Christmas movie. That night, the kids get to watch a Christmas movie of their choice, with all that comes with it, hot coco, popcorn, chunky throws and warm socks, and by the fireplace. ( I will do that on the 23rd…)
And here are some DIY favorite advent calendars inspirations. ( from Pinterest )