If you grew up in a Christian household, do you remember how crazy-excited you were during the holidays to open up the eensy numbered doors on that laminated card-stock Advent calendar your parents put out every year? True, we were fairly easily entertained back then and didn’t seem to mind when the little flaps started to tear, leaving hanging-chad-style dangling windows, but there was still something magical about the anticipation of revealing a surprise every day. Today, we’ve got an even better way to make those 25 days between November 29 and December 24 feel fresh and festive, so we’re sharing our top Advent calendar ideas for both kids and adults.
First, ditch the foldable cardboard calendar and pick up an heirloom-quality Advent calendar—like this adorable farm animal version from Eric & Christopher, which has been screen-printed by hand onto top-quality linen. Not only will it last through the years while your family grows, but it’s the kind of item you can pass down to future generations, to start a holiday tradition of their own.
Once you’ve got the Advent calendar, it’s time to get creative with how you stock it. You could tuck an assortment of little stocking stuffers into each pocket—bonus: no need for actual stocking stuffers this year!—or you can take the single-theme approach. You can leave your Advent calendar gifts unwrapped, but we prefer to wrap most, if not all of them, to double the surprise factor.
Here are our top picks for themed Advent calendar treats.
- Small toys in a single theme—think Matchbox cars, superhero figurines, collectible resin animals, sports cards, or pieces of a LEGO kit that can be put together to make a cool toy.
- Treats—mix in individual serving-size packets of healthier foods like nuts, dried fruit, and low-sugar granola bars with sweets, for some seasonal fun that will please both you and them.
- School supplies—colored pencils and pens, decals for lunchboxes and folders, mini notebooks, erasers. Basically anything that makes school feel fun.
- Geodes and stones in different colors and sizes that can later be grouped into a glass jar for display.
- Girly accessories—colorful barrettes and bobby pins, glitter hair ties, fruit-flavored lip balm, mini nail polish bottles, and more.
- Office supplies—get colorful with desk accessories like paper clip sets, pens, mini staplers and letter openers, highlighters, notepads, and the like. This Advent calendar gift set is super easy to shop for in a half hour or less at any office-supply store or department store with a large home office section.
- Gourmet teas—pick up several tins of different varieties, or else a gift set that you can break down into one or two bags per day.
- Artisanal sweets—from disks of Mexican chocolate to handmade marshmallows and glazed shortbread cookies, this is one Advent calendar theme we could revisit every year.
- Small kitchen gadgets—another favorite of ours. Who doesn’t love happy-hued bottle openers, scrubbing brushes, tea infusers, wineglass charms, and more?
- Travel supplies—hit your local drugstore and load up on petite versions of toothpaste, hand and body lotion, hand sanitizer, shampoo, tissues, and more that the frequent traveler needs to make his or her trip that much more comfortable.
- Jewelry—okay, we admit that this idea isn’t for everyone, but if you’d like to give the gift of luxury, you can’t go wrong with a variety of earrings, rings, pendants, and bracelets. You can even stock the calendar with cute, affordable costume styles, then ramp up to one big, blowout piece on Christmas itself.
Want to create your own Advent countdown? Annie is giving one lucky reader their very own Fur & Feather Advent Calendar from Pine Cone Hill, valued of $125! Check out the Rafflecopter entry form below for 4 easy ways to enter! Contest ends on Sunday, November 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST. View the full details.
Congratulations to our winner, Amy from Tennessee!
a Rafflecopter giveaway