Blogmas #3 – An Alternative Advent

Do you want to break the cycle of chocolate advent calendars? For whatever reasons many of us are turning our back on modern chocolate advents for something either more useful, traditional, eco or different. Here are my top picks for something that isn’t quite so sweet.


Toy calendars are massively popular right now. Every toy in town seems to have one. For me these have been a bit of a no-no up until now with Hiccup under 3 and Boo not really interested in many toys these seemed like a massive outlay for something that wouldn’t be interesting to them. However with Hiccup about to turn 4 and Boo now with more idea about what she loves and doesn’t I think next year is going to be our year. HINT: if you are planning on this for next year like me – keep your eyes peeled in the January Sales! The ones I am interested in are:

Disney Princess Activity Advent Calendar

Boo would love this. It comes complete with stationery filled windows – puzzle erasers, Sticker sheets, Stampers – for a craft obsessed princess fan this has to be a winner.

Smiggle Advent Calendar

Is your school like ours, a sea of Smiggle ladened rucksacks? Well if your kids are Smiggle obsessed like ours this might be the advent calendar for you. Apparently the value of the advent calendar is £40 – I’m dubious but always willing to be proven wrong! £25 in store isn’t bad (well its not 75p chocolate ones but for a special one its okay!) my main reservation is Smiggle tends to be very unicorns or sharks/space and not sure how they can ensure there is something for everyone inside the calendar. Still Boo would definitely love this calendar.

Hot Wheels Advent Calendar

Hiccup is just discovering how cool Hot Wheels are, much to GF Daddy’s great delight! This comes with 8 mini cars, accessories and a fold out play mat. I have to admit that the Amazon £24.95 price tag leaves me a bit cold on this for only eight cars but I do know its something that Hiccup would have a lot of fun with.

Schliech Advent Calendars

Hiccup would love these! I found 3 different styles of calendar – wild animals, farm animals and dinosaurs. For £24.99 in Argos I think these are really reasonable and as Schliech is known for its quality you should get something that’s going to last beyond the decorations coming down.

Other more immediately available i.e. ones I have seen in supermarkets are:

Playmobil Advent Calendar

Again something I desperately wanted the kids to love, we have bought loads of Playmobil sets and whilst Boo takes them out to play with once in a blue moon I don’t think she would call them her best toys (again I’m gutted cus I love the stuff!). If there was any inkling of interest in Playmobil I would buy these in a heartbeat.







Lego Advent Calendars

I would love for Boo and Hiccup to have these but much to my horror my kids simply do not like Lego. If they did I would be skipping down to my local shops to get these Lego Friends and Lego City sets. Whilst they seem quite gender stereotypical my kids would definitely love playing with either of these.


There seems to have been a resurgence in recent years of the traditional paper advent calendars. There are some very beautiful ones out there – ranging from cute kid like pictures to gorgeous Christmas or traditional scenes.

For large stores John Lewis and WH Smith seem to have some lovely options. However I would urge you to look in local high street stores such as Between The Lines and independent shops as they often have slightly quirkier offerings.


Me and Gluten Free Daddy don’t exchange advent calendars (thought I might try and change that next year!) These are absolutely the advent calendars I want to buy:

Ilchester Cheese Advent Calendar

24 cheeses including Jarlsberg (my all time fave), Edam, Applewood and Red Leicester. For £10 what is there not to love!

Debenhams Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar

This excited me so much because I love hot choc through the winter months, it just makes me feel cosy curling up with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. This advent calendar has a sachet in each day with popular flavours such as Mint and Hazelnut but also fun flavours such as Banana, Macaroon and Chilli.

Sous Chef Big Chilli Advent Calendar

This contains 24 whole chillies, flake and powders from mild to the hottest of hot chillies.

Accessorise 12 Days of Jewellery Advent Calendar

I have noticed a trend on higher end advents to only supply 12 days, I assume in an attempt to keep the costs looking reasonable. This advent calendar looks really pretty with necklaces, earrings and bracelets on each of the 12 days.


The Reverse Advent Calendar

This is probably one of my favourites and one I have done for a long time just not so ‘perfected’. The idea of the reverse advent calendar is to buy a product each day which goes towards making Christmas dinner for a family and then a few days before Christmas deliver this to your local food bank/family in need/shelter etc. There are so many ways you can do this style of giving and it really is an awesome thing to get kids into caring about other people and understanding that Christmas isn’t awesome for everyone.

When I was younger we always made a hamper of Christmas goodies (mince pies, yules logs etc) and took it to our local hospice that cared for the terminally ill. You could do this in any guise for what is close to your heart – buy packets of cat treats and collect old towels for a cat sanctuary, collect preemie clothes and blankets for NICU or collect some goodies for someone living close by you that doesn’t have a family this Christmas.

Whatever is close to our heart, make someone’s Christmas a little bit easier. Thank you x


Join me tomorrow for some DIY advent calendars that wont break the bank.


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  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Awesome list. I fell in love with the Debenhams hot chocolate advent calendar when I spotted it, too! I think the reverse advent calendar is such a wonderful idea – I’m considering doing it next year. 🙂

    • Reply
      December 6, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      that’s you and me in the Debenhams January Sales then 😉 LOL
      Its really nice to be able to give back, I lost my mum when I was a teenager so giving to the local hospices was a way of grieving for me, plus I have always been a feeder so I love plying people with edible goodies (tho last year I took my daughter to the charity shop to buy hats and scarves and then we took them to the homeless couple in town).

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 3:48 am

    I did not know there were so many different non chocolate advent calendars! Those Lego and toy ones would be fun for kids and I like the princess advent calendar you spoke of, I would have loved that when I was a child. The adult advent calendars of hot chocolates and jewelry appeal to me! I LOVE the helping hand advent calendar, it feels so good to help others at this time of the year. I might have to start this tradition as well. Thanks for the ideas 🙂

    • Reply
      December 6, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      It might be a headache job but I have a dream of a hot chocolate calendar alongside a cheese one, in front of the xmas tree watching Escape to the Country HAHAHA Ive turned into such an old lady LOL

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