One of our favourite parts of the festive season is the much anticipated build up, including all of those great family traditions that get rolled out every December.
Most homes will have an advent calendar counting down to Santa’s arrival, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that children just love opening the doors each day to receive their well earned treats.
We’ve come up with a list of our five favourite advent calendar ideas that get the whole family involved, won’t break the bank and don’t contain too much sugar!
*** 1. Activity a Day Advent Calendar ***
Keeping the children busy is definitely key to surviving the Christmas Countdown! The Activity a Day Advent Calendar is the perfect way to countdown the ‘sleeps’ whilst minimising sugar. You can purchase a wooden or fabric advent calendar (or even create your own with 24 envelopes in a basket) then write a note for the children to open every day with an activity to do as a family.
* Make a note of what you’ve written each day somewhere else so you can be prepared!
* Every day doesn’t have to cost much money, kids are happy with simple things.
* Customise your activities to suit your family schedule.
If you’re stuck, some ideas for activities are:
Have a picnic around the Christmas tree
Make hot chocolates with marshmallows
Read a Christmas Book
Decorate gingerbread men
Make paper snowflakes
Have a Christmas disco with face painting
Make Christmas Cards
Watch a Christmas movie
Drive around and look at the Christmas lights
Christmas Village Fabric Advent Calendar, Cath Kidston - £35.99
Letter Advent Envelope Bunting, Lime Tree London - £39.50
Wooden Advent Tree, Lime Tree London - £44.75
*** 2. Read your way to Christmas ***
A story book advent calendar is a great way to reinvent your countdown to Christmas.
You’ll need to gather 24 books, but don’t fret - they don’t all have to be new. Pick out your kid’s favourites that you already have - they will love to open some they recognise! You can also wrap up library books (use these ones earlier on in the month so you have time to return them before the late fees kick in!)
To help the environment (and budget), be creative with how you wrap them. Use scarves, Xmas pyjamas, tea towels - kids will love the different textures to unwrap.
Decorate a basket or box to leave all the books in once opened - this will encourage your children to revisit them once December has passed.
*** 3 - Reverse Advent Calendar ***
If you’re looking for something a little bit different to do together as a family, whilst teaching your little ones the importance of giving back, then this is definitely for you.
With the reverse advent calendar, you and your children put something in every day, rather than taking something out.
Before the start of December, get a large box and have your children help you decorate it with wrapping paper and stickers. Place it under the tree and each day in December, your children can choose something to put into the box to give to people less fortunate than themselves.
We suggest choosing a theme to make it easier to donate to one place:
Food and drink - tins, biscuits, jars, bottle drinks, sweets etc
Toys - teddy bears, dolls, books, CD’s, DVD’s, colouring books, crayons etc
Clothes and toiletries - baby clothes, hats, scarves, blankets, towels, make up, toiletries etc.
A few days before Xmas, get the family together and go to your local charity shop or food bank to donate your box of goodies. Maybe even have a chat with the children about who they think they may have helped and how it made them feel.
*** 4. DIY Lego Countdown ***
Shop bought Lego advent calendars are great but super expensive. This one takes a little time to prepare, but you can use any Lego you have around the house and you’ll love the excitement on your kid’s faces when they open them each day (and the peace and quiet for half an hour while they build it).
Each day, your child will receive a new envelope containing just the Lego bricks they need to create a certain Christmas themed object. Print out a picture of the design and include this as well. Remember to keep it age appropriate! The best part is that you can do this using any Lego you already have in your home (a good place to start looking is under the sofa)
Christmas themed design ideas:
A truck for Father Christmas
*** 5. DIY Christmas Tree Advent Calendar ***
This is perfect for the really little ones in your family. Hang this felt Christmas tree on the wall and every day, your little one can remove a decoration from the pocket and stick to the tree. Made of felt it is super safe for little ones and they can redecorate it every day!
You can also include a little chocolate every couple of days if you want an extra treat.
Felt Christmas Tree, Amazon - £13.99