When I was a kid, my Gran made the most beautiful cross-stitched advent calendars for us. It was a long piece of fabric adorned with Christmassy patterns, numbers and plastic hoops to tie the gifts on. My mother would meticulously wrap 50 presents or sweets (for my brother and I) and tie each one with a ribbon to each of our calendars. She hated it but we loved her for it.
My mom kept the calendars hanging in their bedroom and no sneaky sweetie stealing ever got past her. Running to my parent’s bedroom each morning to unwrap a tiny treat, was the highlight of many Decembers for me. Having us jump on their bed while they were half asleep, shouting THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! must have been torture, yet they endured it every year. My parents are awesome.
Now that my son is (sort of) at the age to appreciate Christmas, I am doing the same for him. His birthday is on the 1st of December (he’s turning one) so I’m going to make each December a loooong month of “celebrating Seth” and I think that doing an advent is the perfect way to go about it.
I found a really nifty DIY advent kit from Hobbycraft and the rest is history, as they say.
In the kit you get 25 white paper bags, shiny red string, eye stickers, number stickers, character cut outs and double-sided tape.
To make the calendar, you simply paste the cut outs and stickers onto the bags, fill them with your gifts or clues, and hang them on the thread provided.
Since Seth is only one, we’re not doing a daily advent. I’ve chosen nine things to gift him ranging from Christmas pajamas, a Christmas hat, his Christmas dinner outfit and small toys. He’s too small to understand the concept, but the bunting looks very cute hanging on the mantel and I’m sure he will have fun pulling the bags off. He was already going to get these gifts anyway, so I figured we’ll start the tradition early and just make the process more fun and festive.
I quite like the idea of “gifting” him his Christmas pajamas on the 1st of December. If he had a Christmas stocking, I would also have put it in the advent and let him find the perfect spot to hang it up.
I’ve saved his Christmas hat for the second week of December, and his Christmas outfit for the third week. I think that’s good timing.
I picked up all his festive clothing from Tesco.
Advent Gift Ideas
Although sweets and chocolate seem to be the go-to for advent calendars, I like to mix it up a bit.
Here’s a list of gifts and activities that I’ll be using as Seth gets older.
A letter from Santa
You can write this yourself, or order one online from Father Christmas Letters.
A Personalized Christmas Story Book
Seth’s Snowman story book is from It’s Your Story. You upload an image of your child’s face along with a few personal details like their name, and then you get your very own, one of a kind book in the post with your child as the main character. Neat, hey!?
Christmas decoration kits
There are SO MANY DIY Christmas decoration kits available on the market. Hobbycraft and Baker Ross have loads of options available like DIY baubles and paint your own mugs.
I found my kit at Tesco. It’s pre-cut pieces of adhesive foam that you paste together to make 3 square photo frames which can be hung on the Christmas tree.
It’s time to post your stack of Christmas cards, so why not get the kids involved? After all, they are most likely going to be the ones receiving ALL the gifts. This is a good time to start writing thank you notes and passing on well wishes for the Feastive Season.
Cards and Sharpies are also from Tesco.
You could let the kids paint their own cards, paint some decorations, paint their own wrapping paper… the list is endless.
I got the Crayola paint from Wilko and the roller from Hobbycraft.
Be it erasers, Pokemon trading cards, Minecraft figures, Ooshies, Shopkins or Grossery Gang, most kids have something that they like to collect, so add a few to the calendar for them.
I LOVE stationery. Gift me a Sharpie and I am over the moon. Tesco have a few themed party pack fillers and this dinosaur stationery set is one of them. It comes with six of each item pictured above (grow egg not included), so they are perfect if you have more than one child. You could also separate the items for the different days on the calendar.
This list could go on forever but some of my favourite picks are:
Small packs of sweets
Hot chocolate sachets