I found the cutest advent calendar from the blog Tell Love and Party, changed a few things to give it a twist or make it easier (like hot glued the felt on instead of sewing it), and voila! I had a calendar to start filling with goodies. I even had my son help me stamp the calendar numbers on. We had so much fun.
Advent Calendar Gifts
I remember when I was young, I always had those calendars with secret doors that revealed a chocolate surprise underneath. Yum. Now that was enough for me, but then I'd go to my Danish friends house and she'd get a legit gift every day! I'm talking toys, books, stuffed animals. Basically everything I got under the tree! I always wanted craved that kind of advent calendar. Now that I've grown up and my values have changed, AND I have a child of my own, I gave this advent calendar a nice slant: creating experiences for us to do together.
I was inspired by a friend of mine who makes up various experiences for her children's advent calendar. I wanted my son to not only enjoy getting stuff, but to appreciate the spirit of giving. Here are some ideas on things for you to put in your advent calendar besides just goodies.
1. Card reads: "Give back" Pick out one toy and wrap it up for another child in need (this could be from the toy store, or you could have your kid pick a slightly used toy of his own).
2. I put a cookie cutter in the sleeve and, the card reads, "Bake cookies with mommy"
3. Card reads: "Write 3 nice xmas notes to those you love most or are thinking of
4. Card reads: "Your going to a movie with mom and dad"
5. Card reads: "It's a family Christmas Tree outing" Go pick out a tree or wreath
6. I let him invite a friend over to make ornaments from clay. Card reads "Make ornaments with a friend of your choice"
7. Card reads: "Let's decorate, help your dad hang up some lights."
8. Card reads: "Let's make small gifts for Children's Hospital", kids come up with some really great ideas of what the children might want.
9. Card reads: "Hot Chocolate Treat", start a fire in your backyard, take some to the park in a thermos, or simply drink it up at the dining room table.
10. Card reads: "Let's go see some lights". Every area has festive lights up for the holiday season. I love the tradition of piling into the car to slowly meander around the lighted neighborhoods.
Of course, some of these things take a bit of planning ahead, the good thing about it is that the cards can be moved around if you need to change the date of a playdate, or don't have the energy to go to lights. Your kid won't even notice if you switch them around because their eyes are on the big prizes. Plans change and things come up, so stay a couple steps ahead to switch the cards out if need be.
And, if you need ideas on items to get on your Advent calendar, I took a picture of what's going in ours this year.
Finger flashlights, Ninja erasers (Land of Nod), Pokemon cards, Yoda Head Star wars ornament, Lizard flashlight, Stamps from Paper Source, Pop rocks, peppermint pretzels from Fatty Sundays, notepad, mini figures, Lego mini figures, pac man gum holder (vintage), skull head pencil sharpener