Make your own advent calendar full of ideas instead of chocolate

Here at Ready for Ten we've been ignoring the inevitable cries that Christmas is approaching. But Deb's DIY advent calendar is too good to ignore!

Make your own advent calendar full of ideas instead of chocolate

Are you fed up that the only advent calendars you can find are ones from a certain chocolate maker? Would you like to help your children count down to Christmas in a more inspired way?

I used to be a bit "bah humbug" about chocolate advent calendars but as time has gone on my standards have slipped dramatically.

The children do get a chocolate treat every day next month thanks to grandad but they also get to enjoy an advent calendar I made them a few years ago but minus the sugar rush.

Here's what you need to make this calendar with a difference:

  • 24 small envelopes. I actually made mine from thick, festive craft paper although ready-made envelopes could be adapted and decorated
  • A small line or string on which to hang the envelopes, and little pegs
  • Small blank cards to fit into the envelopes
  • 24 ideas

Now that last one might strike a bit of panic in your heart but I do cheat a bit and include things which we would do anyway in the run up to Christmas.

Here is the list of activities that appear in our calendar. Some are easy and obvious and some are very particular to us. But they may give you a bit of an idea as to what you could include:

  • Make and drink hot chocolate with squirty cream, chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows
  • Read a Christmas story
  • Make paperchains
  • Go to the village Christmas fair
  • Make mince pies
  • Go shopping for our tree decorations (a tradition, we all buy one new decoration and I note down the year and who it belongs to on the base)
  • Make edible presents
  • Make and write our Christmas cards
  • Write to Santa
  • Deliver our cards to local people
  • Perform and watch our school productions
  • Go to the school Christmas fair
  • Put up our tree
  • Watch "It's a Wonderful LIfe"
  • Do some Christmas crafting
  • Walk up the road to see the fantastic light display one cul-de-sac put on
  • Go late night shopping
  • Watch "Elf"
  • Drive around villages and nearest town looking at the lights (accompanied by hot choc and cookies)
  • Take part in Christingle
  • Wrap Secret Santa presents
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Have a candlelit meal
  • Get ready for Santa! (track him online, leave out food and drink, go to sleep!).

Make your envelopes and number them 1-24, then write the activities on the blank cards and place them in the appropriate envelope. This is the time consuming bit as it's quite tricky deciding what happens when, working around the plays and fairs.

String up your envelopes and get the children to open the relevant one each day. Although this is simple it is one mine look forward to every year. And once it's made all you have to do is place the correct card in the correct envelope, hang them up and look forward to a December filled with memory-making, fun activities.

Photo: Debbie Webber


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    Kim N

    15 November, 2010

    What a great idea! I'm not sure who is going to get the most fun out of this, but I know I'll really enjoy doing it. Just need to put some time aside to do it. Thanks a million for this fabulous idea - I love it!

  • Linda


    Linda Jones, Editor

    15 November, 2010

    I'm with Kim, I'd love to do this, thanks Deb.

  • Small_blank

    15 November, 2010

    Love this idea - I've been making something similar :)

  • Deb


    Debbie Webber

    15 November, 2010

    Aw thank you! My five-year-old still remembers it from last year and keeps asking "when are we going to do that envelope thing". Have fun!

  • Maggie


    Maggie Christie

    15 November, 2010

    That sounds great and so much more personal and fun than just chocolate.

  • Small_blank


    Ready for Ten admin

    15 November, 2010

    Deb what a fab idea!!! I'm definately stealing this one :-)

    Ready for Ten Team

  • Elsiebutton


    Elsie Button

    28 November, 2011

    didn't see this last year - but what a great idea! - am definitely going to do this - thank you! x

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