Advent calendars are known to mark counting down of the days to Christmas, it sweetens the wait for Christmas especially for children. Advent calendar tradition originated from Germany, dates to the mid-19th century of the Protestants era, religious families made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count the days leading up to Christmas. Over time it has found its way into the hearts of children and adults around the world. For me, just like the Christmas wreath decoration, advent calendar is yet another new tradition that I only started getting to know of after my eldest daughter turned 2.
At first, I was like — you don’t need advent calendar to know that Christmas is coming. But then, putting myself in the shoes of young children, I see that children find so much joy in opening a little numbered of gifts or doors to reveal a prize. They don’t know how to read the calendars yet, so this is a fun way to get them excited but learn about being patient the same time. To be honest, I find it exciting too as nowadays there are so many options for advent calendars around the world featuring jewellery, beer, toiletries, socks, cosmetics, stationary and much more. I especially like the stationery versions as I’ve always had a thing for stationery stores. 😉
Of course, the chocolate version featuring chocolates in various holiday shapes for children is so widely available and you can get it in a range of prices. However, I’m not so keen on the idea of my children eating sweets every day from the start of Dec for 24 days! Not counting Christmas day, itself which is bound to have lovely sweet treats. Having said that, my first advent calendar for my daughter was just a simple Cadbury chocolate advent calendar as I thought that’s what it is all about, sweet little treat. Later, I found out that it doesn’t have to be chocolates and can be anything that creates the anticipation for the festive season. So, the year after I decided to create my own version of advent calendar for my children and I’m still going.
Here are some ideas I came up with if you are also like me, not wanting to load your children or yourself up with sugar but rather have a less sugar-hyped and meaningful countdown to Christmas.
- Stationary (notepad, pencils, stickers)
- Vouchers (I create this on my own by writing on a piece of art paper or card that reads “A ticket to the Aquarium”, other ideas include ticket to the big park, beach or ice-cream shop etc. Add some doodles or washi tape to make it pretty. The idea is to take your kids to some place special that they will enjoy, some place that you don’t go all the time.)
- Blank card and envelope to draw (if your child is into drawings and colourings)
- Homemade cookies or biscuits (Homemade is always the best with plenty of recipes for sugar free or less sugar out there. However, if you are time tight, there are great options of biscuits in the health section at the supermarket, or you can opt for something you don’t buy or make all the time)
- Sugar free chocolates (something that reserved only for festive season)
- Hairclips or hair ties
- Little toys or collectible toys (This year I’m including some leftovers of Coles mini collectibles)
- Lego (I got this idea from my husband, last year we bought one Lego Duplo Mickey Mouse Racer set and it came with 15 pieces, so we divided the pieces up to 12 days so everyday my daughter get 1-2 pieces to build the set up until completion. I think if your child is into Lego, this really works! It not only builds the anticipation to Christmas but also to seeing the completed Lego model. The rest of the days we filled up with other options)
- Letter from Santa (we put this one for Christmas day)
The wrapping part can be made very simple and easy using just recyclable materials like old newspaper or old magazines. This year, I used the paper that was used to wrap glassware for my recent house move. Seriously it is such a great way to recycle the papers. Then I used string to tie them together or add some sticky tape to hold it in place.
For the numbering, you can simply write on the paper or cut out blank papers in festive shapes and glue on the gifts. I had some round labeling stickers that I thought goes well for numbering them. Then if you fancy, you can add some natural elements like dry flowers or leaves to make it look festive. These ideas are also great when wrapping other Christmas presents.
I find the idea of wrapping with recyclable paper more appealing than typical wrapping papers as it gives a little vintage vibe, just a touch perhaps for our modern lives. Besides, children are more interested in the contents, right? After everything is open, torn to pieces, it will end up in the recycling bin. For the string, I’m keeping it to reuse for other gift wrapping and for next year.
I’m looking forward to my children unwrapping their advent calendar and counting down to Christmas. I love to see the joy in their faces, and this is how I like it cemented in my memories and of course I will try to take photos of the moments when I can. I hope that this post has inspired you with some of my ideas for Christmas advent calendar and gift wrapping. Hope it will bring you and your family joy, and enjoy a slow Christmas making memories with your love ones.
If you have any new ideas not listed here or have any questions, please let me know in the comments or you can reach me on my Instagram. Have a wonderful festive season! x
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