Last year Darcie was only six months old when advent began, she had only just started weaning and so there was no way I was giving her a chocolate advent calendar. I decided to make her an alternative advent calendar that would contain a small toy or book for each day of advent so that she could still be involved in the festivities. The run up to Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, especially since becoming a mum and I just love doing all sorts of festive things together. The advent calendar was such a success last year that I have decided to do the same again this year and probably every year, although we will have to see how it evolves as she gets older! One of the good thing about doing an advent calendar like this for younger children is that they get a small gift each day in the lead up to Christmas which means they can play with and enjoy each one separately without being bombarded with them all at once. The items I put in the advent calendar are similar to what you would put in a stocking so she just has a few stocking presents on Christmas day along with a couple of main presents. I think that is more than enough for an eighteen month old, especially seeing as our families are very generous to her as well!
I found it slightly harder to find items to go in the advent calendar this year mainly because the things that interest her this year are more expensive than the things that could keep her entertained last year when she was six months old. The best places I found to pick things up for the advent calendar were Poundland, Primark, Amazon, eBay and the Range. I tried to keep the cost per item at around £1/£2 and you might be surprised what you can find at that price that a toddler will absolutely love and find exciting (for at least a day!). Darcie is still young enough that I can bring her shopping with me to get the items so I can show them to her and decide whether to get it or not based on her reaction. I then put them away when we get home and she will have forgotten about them by the time she comes to open them.
Last year I displayed all the gifts on a board and they were out all day. She was young enough that it wasn’t difficult to keep her away from them during the day, but this year I have got a big box to put them all in which I will just bring out every morning for her to choose one. I also haven’t numbered the gifts as she will prefer just choosing one each day and they don’t need to be opened in any particular order. Some of the items I have bought her include sticker books, bath toys, Play Doh, bubbles, small teddies, crafty bits, books and the occasional little chocolate treat too. I really think she’s going to love getting to open a present every day throughout December and I can’t wait to see her face every morning.
I’ve seen so many amazing ideas for alternative advent calender’s such as books, wine (not for babies obviously..) and even a kindness calendar where you do a good deed every day for advent. Do you do an alternative advent calendar in your house?