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.
FOR MUM AND DAD
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.
HELPING HAND ADVENT CALENDAR
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.