Last year I made the decision to stop using a shop-bought advent calendar. I didn’t want to add to our UK waste problem, I didn’t want more plastic going in the bin and, to be honest, the chocolate is never that nice anyway, is it?! What I wanted to create was an advent for my child to remember. One that brought joy just as Christmas should and one that gave back over the coming year.
This is how I created our homemade advent calendar…
I purchased a wooden Santa Truck advent calendar from a local garden centre. I wanted something sturdy and robust that could be brought out year after year and would see Jake through his childhood.
I mean I couldn’t walk away from this, just look how gorgeous it is!
Each door on the Santa truck opens and as you can see it is quite a good size for chocolates, small toys, keepsakes or little notes…
I made the decision to make each day different. I still wanted to include a chocolate treat but the main aim of this homemade advent calendar was to add that extra sparkle, so I came up with 2 other ideas.
Firstly, to have notes with memory makers on them (oh and I found ones with bells on them in a stationery shop, perfect for Christmas time!) Things we could do for the whole of the following year. He could bring a note out of the drawer from January onwards and say I’d like to do this today, for example, the cinema, bowling, Peppa Pig World or a day out of his choice. That way our advent calendar would keep on giving and we would all have something to look forward to.
On the other notes, you can probably see that it says lucky dip. I decided to buy items that I knew Jake would love and I popped these into a cardboard box with shredded paper and hamper shred. I didn’t wrap them up as I also wanted this to be as cost-effective as possible (hence the use of the old cardboard box, the paper etc). I went for items I knew we would use like the arts and crafts, toys that he would play with (metal cars), Christmas decorations for him to place on the tree and use year after year, books, an Elf door and so on. The great thing about this is that you can spend very little but still find useful gifts that your child will love.
Each day would alternate between a chocolate, a lucky dip and a memory maker. When he got the lucky dip I would bring the box out and get him to close his eyes and have a rummage around to see what prize he got. The memory maker notes were all placed in a safe place in a drawer to be brought out the following year. (The chocolate was eaten on the spot!)
The homemade advent calendar had its own spot in the kitchen to make it a focal point with his Letter from Santa as you walked in. It is such a simple idea and yet one that made him so excited and happy each morning. It didn’t take much work or planning and it’s something I can easily do every single year for him (and for his brother now he is older too).
There are other ways in which you could make this work for you so I hope it’s given you a few ideas for this Christmas coming.
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