Does December mean counting down the days till Christmas by scoffing a chocolate a day in your house?
While German Protestants are said to have started marking advent by burning candles, these days the commercialisation of Christmas sees everyone cashing in on the advent craze from craft beers to tea lights! Instead of paying a fortune at the supermarket for overpriced chocolate calenders for your kids and doling out refined sugar treats every morning (call me a party pooper!), here are 5 alternative advent calendars – many of which you can even make yourself!
Click through the gallery for five alternatives to the chocolate advent from lego calenders to reverse charity calendars and even DIY options!
This DIY option is the affordable choice and if you make it with your kids then that’s an afternoon of craft activities thrown in too! You need a mini muffin tray of 24 spaces or two trays holding 12 muffins. Cut out circles from cardboard to cover the openings – draw festive pictures, then get your kids to colour them in, then add numbers for the countdown! When your kids are asleep fill each holder with bought knick-knacks, the odd sweet or gummy bear packet, notes saying something fun like “after school we will do painting or play hide and seek”. Cover the spaces with your cardboard, cello tape shut and you’re good to go!
This sweet advent calendar idea scores on creativeness and affordability (absolutely no need to buy gifts or sweeties!). You’ll need some string, paper bags or envelopes and pegs to hang up your creation. Just decorate the bags, number them and fill them with little poems, heartfelt messages, religious quotes, experience style gifts like “today we will play lego for an hour together or “we will check out the new Jacob Ballas park”.
These bad boys are every Lego fans’ dream! They come in different themes from Lego City to Lego Friends and even Star Wars and sell out fast! We spotted them at the Lego shop Secret Chamber in Holland Village or you can try your luck online.
This is a great one for giving back during this time where it can seem like everything is about asking treats from Santa! This idea works by giving the gift of food or staples to count down until Christmas. From 1st December, place one item (or one per kid) into your box (get cutesy and decorate a box or hamper for this or just have a plain cardboard box ). Items that are good to include for food banks are tinned or non perishables: Coffee, Hot chocolate, Long-life milk, Canned food, Cooking oils, Rice, Noodles, Pasta, Peanut Butter, Toothbrushes and Toothpaste. Please make sure products are within expiry and not rusting or opened. A few days before Christmas pack up your box and head to a charity with your kids so they can see how they have helped. If you have chosen to put money in the box each day, take your kids to do a supermarket shop with the cash on day 22 and then take your groceries to your charity.
It’s useful to note the last day of food bank or charity collection so you can time your hamper drop off. Donate to a charity like the Foodbank or Willing Hearts
This is a personal favourite – my mother made us one when we were kids – a beautiful padded 3D Christmas tree from which she hung little wrapped presents to mark each day before Christmas. I distinctly remember Barbie boots on one day – chocolate on another!
There are some great cloth advent calendars out there that don’t even promote presents each day – there are fun ways to mark each day’s count down using the advent calendar itself. If you are making your own you can get crafty here – there are some super cute ones we love the look of! And the best part is that with a little bit of eyelash batting you might be able to request one of these from a crafty auntie or grandma (for next year unless they are super speedy sewers!).