There are only 34 nights sleep until Santa comes.
Over the next month, leading up to Christmas, I will try and write something regularly, to show you how we celebrate Christmas in this house. I will write about how I prepare, plan and how we enjoy Christmas on a budget. I will also cook Christmas recipes, that not only taste nicer than the shop bought versions, but are far less expensive to make and I will write as many useful bits of information and Christmas tips that I can think of, to help you on your way. Today I thought I’d talk about Advent Calendars:
There are so many different types of advent calendars, usually with pictures of pop groups or TV program characters covering cheap chocolates, but children love them and they are part of Christmas.
When I grew up, we had just one calendar that we used year after year. It didn’t have chocolates, it just had a different ‘window’ that you opened each day. In fact the number ‘one and two’ windows had been torn off years before, so we didn’t even get to open them. But how we all loved the calendar, it was so exciting as when the calendar came out, it was the start of Christmas.
One fond memory I do have, is that number ‘15’ was a large barrel that opened and revealed Santa telling us it was only ten days until Christmas. I have three sisters and I remember all the arguments that we had, deciding who would open this door!
When my first daughter was born, my Sister made an Advent calendar as a present for us. She stitched little pockets on it so we could pop a sweet into each day for the children. It really is beautiful and still looks as good as new:
This calendar was the start of a family tradition in this house.
When the children were tiny we started by putting a chocolate in each pocket, which they opened each day leading up to Christmas, but as they became a little older, we put a little piece of paper in each pocket instead. The paper had a really easy ‘clue’ written on it, which helped them to find the chocolates that I hid in a different place each day. The children had such fun finding them, in fact when they had their friends to play, they too would join in with the clues. I would always buy some chocolate coins and put them in a ‘Treasure Chest’ for them to find.
As my daughters got older, the clues got harder to reflect their age and we still do this now. The only difference now, is my youngest daughter is dairy intolerant so chocolate coins are obviously out.
Last year was the first Christmas after my daughter was diagnosed with a dairy / lactose intolerance and I really didn’t want her to miss out on our family tradition. Instead of chocolates, I kept my eyes open throughout the year, for lots of little bits and bobs that were in the sales and reduced, but things I knew my daughters would use rather than just throw away. I bought pens, pencils, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, sweets my daughter could eat etc., and wrapped them all up individually. You may think this cost a lot of money but it didn’t really as I bought them all reduced for approximately 10p per item. So the whole calendar probably cost less than two good quality Advent calendars.
This year I have done exactly the same and I wrapped all individual advent presents and sat and worked out the advent clues. For the last few years I have put a brain teaser in each pocket that they must work out first before opening a clue to where the present is hidden. Even as teenagers they still enjoy doing this. I find most of the brain teasers on the internet, there are millions to choose from and I just make up clues as to where the presents are hidden around the house.
The preparation for the advent calendar does take some time, but it is a lovely family tradition.
I would really love to hear about any family traditions that you have at Christmas. So please tell me about it by commenting at the bottom of this post.
Thank you for reading my blog today.