Its nearly Christmas, around 5 weeks left until the big day! Each year i make an advent calender but over the last couple of years, these toy advents have become popular. Like many parents i moved away from the traditional chocolate treat each day and paid the over priced prices for the toy advents. The kids loved them but me and the hubby got thinking that at nearly £40 just for advents we couldn't afford it each year. We compromised and are alternating between handmade and expensive. I felt like the kids would miss out. That chocolate treat is so familiar with children and i think it adds to the magic of Christmas. So as well as buying them i am going to make something small and stick a little chocolate treat in for them too.
I found a fab round up of children's toy advent calenders over at Mum, That's Me. Evidently there is much more available than the Moshi Monster and Lego advents i originally thought there was.
Of course i didnt forget the Adults either. Did you know there is quite a range of amazing goodies for the grown ups? I was aware Yankee had an advert but that was as limited as my knowledge was!
Mum, That's Me has wrote them all down as a handy reference. I have spent the day browsing so i can inform hubby which one i really want :D
Advent calenders are generally adaptable, can be made really cheaply and filled with all sorts of goodies. They can be as big or as small as you want and be made in any colors that you fancy. As i was looking for some inspiration i thought it would be fitting to share some of my favorites.
Toilet Paper Advent
I found this over at Oh Write. Toilet paper tubes are one of the main craft items in my house. We made a version of this 3 years ago really cheaply and filled them with a small bag of sweets and a little party bag toy, I actually used wallpaper samples that i had collected from places like Wilkinson and Homebase. It took me a while to collect them but i had already decided that this was the calender i was going to make. I used a couple of cereal boxes to make the lids so the only cost was the actual treats. Plastic cups are just as useful for this calender. They could be stuck to some carboard and placed on the wall.
I found these on Etsy. I love Etsy but i thought these were a little over priced. These can be made quite easily by anyone with basic sewing knowledge. I made them using some old t shirts and a needle and thread. I then hung these on the tree and they would spend a little time in the morning looking for their numbers.
I found a nice easy tutorial for making draw sting bags.
This was found on Acquiring Taste. I love this idea so so much! This is the one i am making this year. I went to my local 99p shop and have picked up a very plain basic stick wreath and a few small decorations. I have some tissue paper at home already and some ribbon so all in all this will cost around £6 to make. A little more than i usually pay but its so worth it i think. It is however completely reusable. If i do not use it as an advent next year i will make a fancy wreath :)
Very tradition and i think the prettiest advent calender of them all. You could make your own stockings but using socks work just as well. To make this more frugal i actually collect socks throughout the year. I then hang one sock up and stuff the second one inside it along with a small bag of haribo or a Christmas themed chocolate. Kids get a treat and a new pair of socks :)
The Envelope Advent
There is many variations of this one. It is simply paper envelopes pegged up with a treat inside. I found this one on pinterest and just thought it looked pretty. I would stick things like money in it rather than sweets which my children would prefer now they are older. Or i could put a little note in each one with a Christmas craft or something Christmas themed that we would do that day.
The Peg Tree Advent
Another one i found on pinterest. I love this idea as it doubles up as a nice decoration too. It is quite simply wooden pegs, painted green, glued together. Small holes are drilled into the ends and lollys put through them. The base would be the harder part if trying to make it yourself. I would likely use the base of an old candle stick holder or something decorative. Alternatively i would make it larger and use a very small plastic pot or dish and decorate it with paper and glass beads.
The Bucket Advent
I found this on Desire Empire. I think this looks really pretty but i would do a variation of this as a ladder is simply not something i have laying around. The buckets are sell on ebay and could be decorated with wallpaper samples. I would then hang these either on a tree or make some sort of board to hang these on.
I found these buckets on ebay. 10 buckets for just £2.19. They are free postage from Hong Kong.
Please do be aware that the buckets come under wedding supplies which bumps the price up.
The Box Advent
A very simple idea I found at Be A Fun Mum It could be made quite cheaply using craft paper and a simple template which you could print off the internet. They open from the front but I would be worried about the kids knocking this over all the time, however i suspect that this is part of the fun. Looking online there is many variations of this, from more expensive versions to very cheap ones.
The Felt Advent
I found this on Etsy. Another simple and traditional advent calender. Made out of felt and scrap fabric and using very basic sewing skills it is perfect for kids or beginners to make. Felt is quite reasonable but i would likely make it out of old clothes to save on cost.
The Frugal Advent
I wasnt too sure what to call it but its another one i found on pinterest. When i was younger i have fond memories of visiting my grandparents and my granddad cracking walnuts on the table. It used to fascinate me as he could open the hell without breaking a single bit of it whereas mine shattered into pieces. This idea just reinforces those Christmas memories i has as a child as well as reducing waste. An all round fantastic idea in my book.
So there is 10 of my most favourite designs. Do you have a favourite? Do you prefer something more traditional or modern? Id love to know your thoughts.