Celebrating the countdown to Christmas was always more fun for me than Christmas day. Since I hosted Christmas dinner I only had a few minutes to sit with my boys and their gifts before heading to the kitchen to keep the food on schedule. I had days when I wished I had never celebrated Christmas in the “traditional” way and instead focused more on Advent with a simple dinner on Christmas with family, but without gifts. think of how relaxing the day could be and yes frugal.
I found quite a few ideas for inexpensive Advent Calendars and have included my favorites today, there is something here for everyone from those experienced in sewing, crafting or crochet, to those a bit timid of taking on an art project.
Bunting has come back in style so why not make a simple Advent bunting you can use year after year?
While you could buy a ready-made calendar why not make your own? You can easily change them to fit your family’s needs as the years pass, or you could make something timeless with a piece of wood and some painted clothespins.
Not a crafty? That’s okay, I spotted this idea which while meant for Valentines Day would work for any holiday, Simply add a new heart to the door each morning. If you are giving experiences this would be a great way to announce them rather than making a calendar. Have a little gift, hang it from the door knob that morning.
This may sound like a strange thing to admit, but the little gifts I hid for my boys during Advent were more special than the gifts under the tree or in the stocking. I hid little notes or something small for each boy. Even adding them up over the entire 25 days, I rarely spent more than $10 per child and some years nothing at all.
Think back to Christmas mornings of past when you find yourself with wrapping paper and boxes all over. There are calls for batteries, and scissors to remove toys from the packaging, and don’t forget assembly of toys. Yet, before long the toys are tossed under the tree and as you are cleaning up the mess you hear “what’s for breakfast” Wouldn’t you enjoy a simple gift, or note written just for you stretched out for nearly a month than a bunch of packages all on one morning?
Just think of all the little gifts you could share with each member of your family over the course of 25 days some of the notes I hid included:
- It’s your turn to decide what we will have for dinner
- You can stay up 20 minutes later tonight
- I love you
- Breakfast in bed!
Simple food gifts were usually a favorite homemade cookie, or a packet of hot cocoa, things we didn’t have often.I don’t believe the ideas of what experiences or gifts to give is as difficult to come up with as the calendar itself is. This next idea is made using empty toilet roll tubes.
Coupons redeemable for any day were often a big part of my gifts during Advent. Coupons could be for just about anything you could do together such as:
- build a snowman
- skip a chore
- Holiday joke
- read a favorite book together
- play a favorite game
- have family movie night with popcorn
- have a camping night,(being winter we would camp in the living room
- Of course a gift of a night out is special too. if you have ticket why not make an Advent calendar from embroidery hoops like this
Yes, you could give a larger gift using the Advent calendar.
- New or handmade winter gloves, hat or a scarf
- play dough, recipe here
- hair accessories
- Ice scraper, yes I gave this one year, it had a metal blade which cleaned the ice off the windshields easier than plastic. It cost me $1 brand new and was this person’s favorite gift that year.
Here is another toilet roll calendar using some cardboard pieces to create a house. As the creator of this one states this will not hold heavy objects and lists simple ideas which you could stick inside each such as lip gloss, a packet of tea, a USB stick, even a pair of earrings, and since his ideas are for two consenting adults there are suggestions such as a coupon for naked dancing. :-)
Not convinced to begin a new tradition but still want a way to count down the days until Christmas especially if you have young ones who need a constructive way of seeing time? Why not try this tutorial for a pretty tree where each morning you simply move an ornament from a pocket to the tree.
Need some ideas for gifts to include in an Advent celebration? Here are a few I found for you.
- 24 Cutter free Advent Calendar gifts from the Minimalist Mom
- 2 Years worth of saved ideas from Oh Happy Day