Shopping Tip: Alternative Advent Calendar Ideas

Hello Readers!  I know you’re probably in the thick of your grocery plans for this week’s feast, and the last thing on your mind is your Advent Calendar.  But this is something that I do start thinking about right now because of what it can mean for some families.  While advent calendars aren’t too expensive,  typically they run for $5 to $10 for your standard cardboard calendar, the prices can add up quickly for advent calendars if you have a lot of kids or if you are trying to avoid the candy ones.  There are even some at Walmart that can run for hundreds of dollars!  So, today I want to talk about alternative ideas for the usual Advent Calendar.

Growing up, Advent Calendars were an important part of our holidays.  Not only did we enjoy the chocolate, but we also enjoyed counting down the days until Christmas with them.  However, I also remember the amount of treats we had every Christmas and how sick I got as a result of them.  On top of the Advent Calendar chocolates, we had homemade candy and cookies from my maternal grandmother, popcorn tins from family friends, cookie tins from family friends, cookies and other junk for parties and school events, holiday pastries from my paternal grandmother, and more.  By the end of the holidays, we were always sick and our house was full of stuff that was loaded with sugar.

Looking back at my own childhood, I want to try and make a difference in my own kid’s life with the excess treats at this time of the year.  And one way I know I can do that is with using an alternative Advent Calendar.  But, even this can get expensive in the beginning, although they can be cost effective over time.  So, let’s look at some alternatives.

Book Advent Calendar  This one sounds like a lot of fun!  My inner bookworm loves this idea, although it can be pricey.  For this advent calendar, you purchase 24 Christmas or Holiday centered books for your kids, wrap them in plain paper, and write the numbers one through 24 on the paper.  Then, each day of December, let your kids unwrap the book for the day and read it together.
What to Love:  Okay, this one is easy.  This is perfect for their bedtime storytime because each day you can read a story centered around the season in lieu of a bedtime story book.  To add to that, you can choose to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
What to Hate:  This can be expensive, especially in the beginning.  Books can run around $10, so this can initially cost a couple hundred to do.  However, this is also a one time cost since you can reuse them each year while your children grow up.  And, when they have children of their own, you can pass the books on to them to share with their children.  And, rather than just having a calendar they can carry around the memories of reading books with you and sharing in the excitement of the holiday season with you.

Activity Advent Calendar  This one is a lot of fun to do, and it can cost you next to nothing or quite a bit, depending on what you want to do.  You can make this yourself in a variety of ways.  Make a chain garland out of construction paper with each chain containing the activity on the inside and the day on the outside.  You can do an envelope system with the activity on a sheet of paper inside and the number of the day on the outside.  The possibilities are endless!
What to Love:  This is perfect for making memories with your kids.  Instead of getting chocolate every day, they get to do a Holiday activity with you.  You can create the calendar of activities based on your own liking and then enjoy them with your kids.  Best of all, most of the activities are ones you probably will do anyway.
What to Hate:  You may have to stay on top of this one each day and you might have to swap out activities based on the weather.  For example, you may have planned to visit Santa on a day that a blizzard strikes, or you may have “Build a Snowman” on the sunniest and snow-free day of the year.  If you happen to have an activity planned for a day that isn’t good for it, then you may have to lickety split change everything immediately before the kids notice.

Sock Advent Calendar  This is a crazy one, but it’s a great way to get new socks for kids that they will be sure to love!  Best of all, you can buy cheap novelty socks at the dollar store and gift them each day of December.  It can literally cost you less than $30 to do this, and they can have new socks for months to come!  Just buy the socks, wrap them, either in small boxes or bags or even wrapping paper, and write the numbers in sharpie on the package.  Then, each day, let your kids upwrap their new socks.
What to Love: I don’t know about any of you, but socks at Christmas were always a gag gift in my house.  My mom always purchased a pair of novelty socks to throw in our stockings, and we always rolled our eyes at them.  But, by doing it as part of an Advent calendar can be a great way to make your kids smile at the novelty socks, and they can wear them each day.  It will make for a lot of fun memories and will keep their feet covered all year.  Best of all, not all of the socks have to be seasonal ones.  You can get all kinds of socks for them!
What to Hate:  There is a chance that this one won’t be an immediate hit in your family.  My suggestion is to get crazy socks for yourself as well and do the advent calendar with your kids.  Otherwise, they may not get into it as much as you will.

Some of these you can do in different ways.  Maybe instead of doing socks you do ties or accessories.  You can do costume jewelry for a little girl.  You can do chocolates or candies of your choice in them.  Or you can do a mix of them based on what you want to do.  Hopefully, I’ve given you some inspiration to create a new and alternative Advent Calendar that costs less to enjoy with your own kids!

Until next time,



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