Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Calendars for Young and Old

We're kicking off our month of Christmas with advent calendars - the official countdown to Christmas. By now you have probably already got your advent calendar and opened the first door so this post may be a little late but it might give you some good ideas for next year.

Most advent calendars in shops are the chocolate filled variety but in recent years companies have come up with some smart alternatives. Here's some of my favourite ideas:

For Kids:
Toy calendars instead of chocolate:
Toy companies like Lego, Littlest Pet Shop, Playmobil all have released toy calendars where each day you get a piece that builds together to make up a play scene at the end of the countdown. These are a great and healthier alternative to chocolate but are somewhat pricey at around $50.
I have also seen pop up and sticker book advent calendars including this gorgeous Eric Carle one. They are a great alternative but maybe not so fun!

Home made calendars:
I have found a lot of great craft ideas online for making your own advent calendars and adding you own little trinkets and activities. Some great ideas can be found here but if you search 'homemade advent calendars' a plethora of ideas pop up. I think that kids would rather cherish the time spend together on these activities rather than a chocolate. Here is my list of Christmas themed activities for some days:

1. Write a Christmas list to send to Santa
2. Make Christmas cookies
3. Put up the Christmas Tree
4. Go carol singing
5. Go to see the Nutcracker ballet
6. Go to the Pantomime
7. Read night before Christmas
8. Make Christmas stockings and hang them up
9. Have a Christmas movie night
10. Go and see the Christmas decorations in the neighbourhood
11. Visit Santa at the Mall
12. Make Christmas tree decorations
13. Make Paper Snowflakes
14. Make an angel or star for the top of the Christmas Tree
15. Write out Christmas Cards
16. Donate a present to a charity tree
17. Take family Christmas card photo
18. Go ice skating
19. Make reindeer food ready to sprinkle on the lawn on Christmas eve 

Santa's beard calendar:
This Santa's beard advent calendar is a fantastic and cheap way to countdown to Christmas  Simply print off the large version of the calendar above and by some kids glue and cotton balls. Every day your child sticks on a cotton ball on the allocated date until Santa has a complete beard!

For Adults:
And advent calendar aren't just for kids this year there's a great range of advent calendars for adults including:

For the drink lover these fabulously boozy brandy filled chocolate one and this one with wee drams of whiskey behind each door.
For the gambler: This great calendar with a lottery ticket for each day!

For women these fabulous cosmetics advent calendars from the like of Liz Earle and L'Oreal and Selfridges and this cute one with nail varnish behind each window.

For the chocolate lover this fabulous truffles for two calendar from Hotel Chocolat and this one from Artisan Chocolat also this stunning one from Fortum and Mason
For the art lover this beautiful offering from Norman Rockwell

Why not create your own 'adult' calendar for your partner with sexy treats, toys and favours for each day!

For Pets:
These days you can even buy advent calendars for the four legged members of the family like this one from Pedigree with a treat behind each window and even a flashing collar tag!!

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