Although in my parents’ house we were brought up eating a chocolate a day until Christmas Day, there was no way I was gonna start this tradition with my daughter. I’m sure this is a true case of ignorance is bliss, until she’s old enough to discover the commercial aspect of the advent calendar. So for those of you who agree with me, here are some alternative ways of celebrating the countdown to Christmas.
1. Felt advent calendar
I started this a couple of years ago when my daughter was just over 1 and too young to understand Advent. I had the calendar hand-made locally according to my specifications. I got most of the ideas from Pinterest. Each day I would help my daughter pick out an ornament from the respective date and hang it on the tree. By Christmas Eve the whole tree would be decorated. The first year she didn’t really know what was going on but the following year S would look forward to it every day and push the chair to the wall to reach it. The pictures below are what inspired me most. They are taken from So happy
A similar version is the one below where the pockets can be filled with parts of the Nativity set which is set up day by day finishing off with Baby Jesus on the night of Christmas Eve. I found this here here
2. A book a day
Another idea is to pick 24 books that your kids already own and wrap them up. Put them under the Christmas tree or in their room. The kids can choose a book every evening and enjoy unwrapping it just like a present. You can read the book together for a little bonding time.
Image: Natural Beach Living
3. Christmas traditions
This is something I really wish to try this year. To start off, buy or make an advent calendar from wood or cardboard etc. Loads of shops are selling these now, like this one from Next or you can find tons of ideas how to DIY them with simple materials. If you check out Pinterest for ideas you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Next write little messages on small pieces of paper and insert them in each day. On the papers, write something that you and the kids can do together each day. Below are some ideas, but on Pinterest you can find ready-made printables to use:
- Write a letter to Santa
- Watch a Christmas movie together
- Go Carol singing or to watch a Christmas choir
- Bake some Christmas sweets
- Visit a live Nativity set
- Help someone in need
- Play some family Christmas-related games
- Make some Christmas crafts
- Build a new ornament for the Christmas tree
4. Advent Acts Of Kindness
This taps more into the spiritual side of Christmas. Many kids can be very selfish with friends, family or siblings, but come Christmas, they are all trying to be ‘good’ for Santa to bring them a gift. By encouraging them to do something kind each day, the attitude can become a habit, until one day it is second nature to them to do Good.
5. Charity donations
Christmas is all about giving. So the earlier the kids learn to share with the less fortunate the more it will come natural to them to donate. This is a Reverse Advent Calendar, where instead of taking something each day, the kids are giving instead. Here are 3 ways they can do this:
- Donating a little from their money box each day
- Choosing a toy to give away each day and wrapping it up to give to children who are less fortunate
- Collecting a food item each day in a box and at the end donate the box to less fortunate families or a food bank like this one who launched a campaign for people to donate food stuffs for families in need.
There’s still 10 days to go before Advent begins, so I’d better get cracking to prepare some of these ideas. I’d love to hear which is your favourite! And if you have any more ideas to share feel free to comment below.