Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Christmas is the time for spreading a little bit of magic and cheer. What better way to do that than by doing something each day during Advent. In the olden days, when I was a little girl (in the 80’s), my advent calendar was a cards with windows which you’d open and there would be a picture behind it. It was all very lovely, but times have changed and kids and grown-ups expect more.

I’ve picked out five quite interesting advent calendar ideas for you, which if you’re quick, you can get cracking with before 1st December!

Traditional Chocolate Advent Calendar

There’s something simple and cheery about traditional chocolate advent calendars, they’re great for children and adults too. They come in a pretty huge range of different themes and characters; but this colourful Teletubbies Advent Calendar is a winner. Behind every window in this kids’ advent calendar there’s a delicious milk chocolate treat to help you count down the days until Christmas.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The Teletubbies Advent Calendar can be found in a wide range of retailers, but I’ve spotted it in B&M for just 89p – a bargain!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown

Little Treats Bakery have recently launched a fun, festive countdown activity in the form of freshly baked festive treats. Known as Elf & Seek, you get a box of 24 individually wrapped and decorated gingerbread elves to hide around the house each day of December.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Elf & Seek is an interactive, exciting and tasty way to keep the magic of Christmas alive. Simply hide one of the little elves around your home each day of December and the kids have to hunt it down as they countdown to Christmas. It’s the perfect advent calendar if you’re a bit tired of the same old kind of calendars each year.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Take a selfie of your biscuit elf, uncovered from its hiding place; share it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ElfieSelfie – the winner will win an extra special, tasty treat; a hamper of biscuits tailored to a theme of their choice!

Elf & Seek Festive Countdown is available to order from Amazon for £10.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

Playmobil 1.2.3 Advent Calendar

For little ones (18 months+) this Christmas they can enjoy an outdoor Christmas with Santa and his forest friends. The 1.2.3 Advent Calendar “Christmas in the Forest” contains twenty-four surprise items for each day of Advent. With a bright and colorful design and large, rounded pieces, this Playmobil 1.2.3 set is ideal for toddlers.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

This adorable advent calendar includes Santa, elf, angel, reindeer, sleigh, gifts, dog, bunnies, fox, forest animals, and other accessories to help complete this woodland Christmas scene.

Costing just £21.99 the Playmobil 1.2.3 advent calendar is the perfect way for little ones to count down to Christmas!

LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Star Wars fans young and old will love this year’s LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. Open a door of this advent calendar each day in the run up to Christmas to discover a LEGO Star Wars themed minifigure, starship, vehicle or other collectible. There’s even a foldout playmat featuring images from Jakku, Starkiller Base and deep space for epic Star Wars encounters.

Five Quite Interesting Advent Calendar Ideas

The LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar is recommended for ages 6 years+ and is brilliant (we had one last year)!

Reverse Advent

The old saying goes – it’s better to give than to receive. At Christmas I find this to be especially true. Last Christmas we put together a reverse advent calendar for our local foodbank. I would very much encourage you to think about doing the same.

No only did it make us feel warm and fuzzy; it fed a family or two for a few days. It also taught my son a few lessons about empathy, caring for others and made us all think a little less about what we wanted and more about what other people needed just to get by. Never bad things to be reminded of.

You can read my blog post about our reverse advent calendar and read about what you need to put one together too.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent Calendar

What kind of advent calendars will you be choosing this year?

Giving back this Christmas – Our Reverse Advent Box

This December we have been taking part in Reverse Advent and it’s been a very worthwhile family task. If you’ve not heard of Reverse Advent before; it’s where you take a box and each day you add something to it with the intention of giving the box away to someone in need.

I chose to donate our box to our local foodbank – Chorlton and Didsbury Foodbank. The foodbank opened in 2014 and last year gave over 1000 people and families three-day emergency food supplies.

Although we’ve never been at the point where we’ve needed to get a referral to a foodbank, there have been times when the cupboards have been bare and I’ve not had the money to buy food. There have been times where I’ve skipped meals to make sure the boys get food in their belly; and I’ve wondered how I’ll feed them their next meal. As frugal as I am, sometimes the money just doesn’t always stretch as far as I’d like.

In late November the Co-op sent me a big blue box and some ideas for my Reverse Advent. Every time I popped to the shops I’d put a few extra tins, jars, or packets of dried food in my basket and when I got home I put them in my box.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

I knew my local foodbank would appreciate getting the box of food supplies before Christmas. So I did cheat a little and over the weekend I filled my box, packed it up and it’s ready to be delivered to the foodbank in time for their Christmas party.

As a blogger we get sent a lot of things over the year, some of which we use, some of which we give away to friends and family. I’d saved a big bag of children’s books and lots of craft kits (the kind where everything you need is included, so you don’t need extra glue or paint, or things people may not have). So I’ve donated those to the foodbank too. They’ll be given to the children attending their Christmas party and I can’t think of a better home for them.

Putting the Reverse Advent box has been really easy. Buying a couple of items each time I popped to the shops was a doddle and didn’t make a huge dent in our budget. When you first get your box it can be hard to think of what you could fill it with. So I’ve put together a suggested shopping list (below) if you need some ideas to get you started…

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

The Reverse Advent box is definitely something our family will be embracing as a family tradition. We know how fortunate we are to have food in the cupboards and a warm house to live in. It’s only right that we give a bit of what we can, when we can.

For more information about the Reverse Advent campaign with The Co-op read their blog. To find your nearest foodbank and to find out more about their work, or how to access their services, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Merry Christmas xx

Stories for life – childhood books we love to read

In our house there are some things we do every day. We brush our teeth, go out to school, work or to the park, we talk and share food and we always, always read at least one book together.  I’m thinking about sharing “stories for life” with our children, and the kind of books that make great presents – not just Christmas presents either!

When the small boy was Christened, we asked our friends and family not to give presents, but if they did want to give a gift, to give the boy a copy of their favourite childhood book. This meant at the great age of six months my son had a reading library which was full of variety, and each book had a lovely back story attached to it. We hoped that this would cement a love of reading in him. He certainly loves a good story or three at bedtime.

For his Christening we got everything from Rupert Bear and Spot the Dog to a full set of Harry Potter books and of course a host of Roald Dahl classics.

Stories for life

I was the most avid of readers as I child, and over the years my love of reading hasn’t diminished, but the opportunity to curl up for a quiet hour with a good book has. This is something that makes me a little bit sad sometimes.

Looking back, I suppose my favourite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is still a much loved classic today. Once I reached the age of 7 or 8 I fell in love with Roald Dahl books and read them all, even the slightly unsuitable ones (I’ve read his NSFW adult books too, but I was over 21). 

I’m not sure what books my son will look back with fondness on, but we’re reading a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine stories at the moment. Our bedtime reading is an eclectic mix of the Biff and Chip style books school sends home to read, non-fiction books about transportation, construction and geography (all subjects he loves) and fun books we read with him.

Stories for life

This week we were sent a selection of books to read or give away as gifts from Puffin Books. I think the books they’ve sent us would be absolutely ideal for the the small boy, but I don’t want to be greedy, so I think we will choose to keep just one of these stories for life for Christmas and give the others to other children who might enjoy reading them.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter is about a boy who gets a very hungry dinosaur for Christmas. His dinosaur eats everything in sight, including all of Christmas – but as we know, what goes in must come out! This sounds like exactly the sort of book my dinosaur obsessed boy would enjoy!

Max and Bird by Ed Vere is about a kitten called Max who meets bird and wants to eat him. But Max soon discovers that friends don’t eat each other, instead friends try and help each other, so that’s what they do. Max and Bird is on the New York Times Bestseller list and it’s a very sweet story about friendship.

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is a wonderful book to read if your child struggles to wind down for sleep and can really help them to drift off to the land of nod. The story is a wonderful tale about Ellen the Elephant who goes on a journey through a magical forest, meeting fantastic creatures along the way, eventually ending up in dreamland.

These are three really, really lovely books. I’d be very tempted to keep them all to share with my son, but this month we are doing a Reverse Advent calendar with our local Foodbank. I’m collecting some small gifts and books for them to distribute to families who have been referred to them this Christmas. I can’t actually think of a better recipient for these stories for life.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?