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 or used for many years (and handed down to a future sibling).
- 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 builing different things with the bricks, but that’s what Lego’s do to you. They make you want to be creative!
Don’t stress it if you don’t have the time to go looking for used Lego. We got lucky, but if you don’t want to spend your time searching the web or every flea market in town, I can highly recommend buying a big box of mixed bricks and dividing them into little packets – maybe a box with different regular bricks and one with a theme that you know your little one will love. I know the Lego Duplo train we got Eva for Christmas was a HUGE success!
How we give advent presents to our toddler
We considered the more traditional advent calendar with wrapped presents hanging on a string or in reusable advent calendar. As a kid I always had an advent calendar with numbered present in clear view and perhaps we will make Eva one when she’s old enough to get the concept. But this year, instead of having 24 presents out at once, we decided on giving Eva a stocking that we would put the Lego creations in or a few of the people/animals each day, so she didn’t have to ask all day if she could open a present and be constantly dissapointed, as we would have to say no. No need to add extra no’s to a toddler!
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. We’ve also 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,
When she’s older I plan on buying a complete lego set with regular bricks and a big model to build (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 it this Christmas. Instead she got to tear my wonderful Lego creations apart, which she seems more than content with – and then put them back together as she pleased.
And 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.