Advent Calendar & Stocking Stuffers for toddlers

I love Christmas and even though Eva is not old enough to grasp the concept yet, I’m already starting to love this time a year even more. There’s just something special about Christmas and children. One of the many things that I really enjoyed about Christmas when I a little girl, was my advendt calendars. I would get one with chocolate, one in cardboard for the TV advent calendar show and one which my mom would make me with small presents that made the countdown for Christmas Eve a bit more tolerable. And oh how I always looked forward to tearing open those sparkling presents that would be hanging in the kitchen just waiting to be opened. I was almost incapable of waiting, but somehow managed year after year. It didn’t really matter so much what was in the presents – it was the opening, the waiting, the thoughtfulness and the anticipation that made it so special.

I want to give Eva the same kind of Christmas wonder and excitement that i got from the advent calendar my mom made me. That’s why I’ve decided to make her one every year starting this december.

The criteria for the advent calendar

I set up a few criterias for Evas first advent calendar.

  • Minium waste. That meant recycling whatever possible or, if made from new, something that could be recycled later.
  • Easy to make. I would not be able to finish the calendar this year if it was not easy to make, so this was an important criteria.
  • No junk, but still inexpensive. Both me and Ben agreed that the calendar should not be too expensive, but still not be filled with sugar or fragile, chemical filled toys.
  • Not too confusing. Eva’s still to young to grasp the idea of a advent calendar, so too many presents out at once might be more of a recipe for a daily December melt down than a fun and joyful experience.

A super easy advendt calendar idea for toddlers

For her first advent calendar (we skipped it last year because all she wanted back then was breastmilk and there was no way I was going to try to wrap that) I was very fortunate to find a huge amount of Lego Duplos at a yard sale this summer. The cost was incredible low for the amount I got. Instead of just giving it to her, Ben and I decided to save it for Christmas. It was a mix of basic bricks, people, animals and vehicles and some baseplates and could easily be divided into 24 smaller presents, so that’s exactly what I did. I however couldn’t help myself and ended up builind different things with the bricks, but that’s what Lego’s do to you. They make you want to be creative.

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Instead of having 24 presents out at once, we decided on giving her a stocking that we would put the the Lego creations into or a few of the people/animals. At first we thought of letting her find the daily present find in the morning, but quickly decided that it would be better in the afternoon, either after her nap or after we’ve all gotten home from work and kindergarden. That way we would not initiate play time at the busiest time of the day for us.

Instead of a more traditional advent calendar I ended up bying her a stocking that we’ll be able to use for many years. I always had a advent calendar with numbered present hanging out and we might make her one when she is old enough to get the concept, but we might also stick with the stocking. We’ve told her that the house elf brings her the presents each day, and that story is a bit more plausible if all the presents aren’t out to begin with,

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We might also buy her a complete lego set when she’s older (if she’s still into lego) and add more and more bits each day until the model is completed on the day of Christmas. The instructions I think we would give her on the first day, so she knew what she was building. For now, she could care less about instructions, so we haven’t bothered with itthis Christmas. Instead she got to tear my wonderful Lego creations apart, which she seems more than content with.
img_9819-2And that that’s pretty much it. A super simple, not too confusing, recycled and inexpensive advent calender for a toddler. If you’re more into the more traditional American way of filling a stocking during December and not opening it until the day of Christmas, I think this idea of Legos a stocking stuffers would also work wonders.  I mean, which kid wouldn’t be thrilled to get a stocking full of Legos?

We’re about half way with this Advent calendar and it’s a bigger success than I’d dared hope for. Eva knows exactly where to look when we ask her if she’s checked whether the elf has brought her something and she gets so excited whenever she sees that it did! Hopefully it won’t be too confusing for her when there’s no more elf presents, but I think she’ll accept it when we take the stocking down.

 

No affiliation with Lego.

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