The holidays are upon us and that means it’s time to celebrate! For those of us with kids, advent calendars are a great way to countdown to Christmas. But not everyone is a fan of the traditional advent calendar – you know, the ones that are filled with chocolates or other sugary treats. If you’re looking for ideas on nontraditional ways to fill up your calendar, you’ve come to the right place.
There are plenty of nontraditional calendars you can buy online or in stores. Most major children’s brands like Crayola and Play-Doh make them. As you might guess, they are filled with toys or other products from the brand. But those are not your only option if you’re trying to avoid chocolates this festive season. How about making your own advent calendar instead?
DIY Advent Calendars
Making your own calendar might seem like a lot of work. And it is, more than just going to the store to pick one up. But on the other hand, you’re in complete control of the calendar and what goes into each little slot. You can create one with nothing more than a few bits and pieces that you already have in the house.
Even if you don’t want to create the whole thing from scratch, you can think beyond candy this year. You can buy empty calendars and fill them with your own items. Or buy an inexpensive one, remove the candy inside and replace it with something else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that an advent calendar doesn’t necessarily have to be a box with slots in it. Make yours by putting the goodies in a bag or basket with number tags for the days. Or stick them in small paper bags and tape them to the wall, so the children can open them each day. There are endless opportunities when it comes to making a creative and nontraditional advent calendar. So let’s get started!
Little Gifts Leading up to the Big Gift
This is a fun way to build up anticipation for opening up the gifts on Christmas. You can buy (or make) small items that are related to the actual gift the kids are getting this year. Your kids are getting a new race track play mat? Fill the calendar with toy cars. A new dollhouse? Tiny furniture pieces to add to their gift are a great idea. The goodies in the calendar can give hints to the actual gift if it’s supposed to be a surprise. Imagine the excitement!
Advent Calendar of Memories and Experiences
Treats don’t always have to be physical items. Instead of getting them more stuff, why not fill the calendar with experiences? Create little coupons for fun activities that you can do for the day. Baking cookies, decorating the tree, going ice-skating, an extra bedtime story etc. are all activities you can enjoy as a family together. While you have to schedule some activities like visiting Santa in advance, your kids will surely look forward to the surprises every day!
For an alternative take on the same theme, fill up your calendar with family photos or written accounts of events. Pictures of vacations or important events (did someone start a new school last year?) are great ideas. Write a few stories describing memories of all the times you spent together as a family.
Craft & Hobby Supplies
Who doesn’t love shiny new things during the holidays? If your children have a craft box, use this chance to add to their stash. Popsicle sticks, stickers, labels, glitter pens etc. are a fun way to encourage their creative pursuits. If one or more of your kids are starting school this year, they would love to receive new pens, pencils, stamps, and similar items they can use.
Do your kids have a hobby or two? Get them small items that they would love to get more of. For instance, If your child loves to read get them some used or new books for each day. Does someone love painting? How about little paint pots, pencils, paper and brushes for the calendar? You can even put Christmas ornaments in the calendar that the kids add to the tree. The possibilities really are endless!