We have used our Advent Activity Jars every year since I first wrote about them in 2011. We even did it last year when we moved into our first (non-rented) house in the middle of December with a 6 month old. I tried to convince E. that we could just buy an advent calendar but he was having none of it. Of course I was secretly happy that he loves it so much.
I put little activities, chocolates or gifts in each jar. If the activity doesn’t have any part that will fit in the jar I just write it on an old christmas card. In reality we don’t actually need the jars; envelopes would work fine but they are a cute decoration so they’ve stuck. A few years ago I updated them by stitching numbers onto circles. It took ages so even though I think the circles are a bit too big they’re staying.
Here are my hints and tips for if you are thinking of starting your own personalised advent calendar
- Start by making a list of activities you were going to do anyway – if you’re going to a Christmas Fair on the 10th write it down for day 10! There really is no point in making life more difficult for yourself
- Gather up any Christmas themed things you already own and spread out giving them back throughout the month. When the decorations get put away I also put away all Christmas books and themed toys. Today’s ‘gift’ was E.’s Christmas Playmobil he got as a present last year.
- Buy some wrapped chocolates or little toys for the days when you can’t be bothered or haven’t got time.
- You don’t need to actually get the whole month ready for the 1st of December – most of my jars are currently empty. I try and makes sure I know what I’m doing for a few days ahead but it really isnt necessary to have the whole month planned out.
- Pinterest is your friend (kind of!)
- The activities can be basically the same every year. I probably buy a new craft set or two most years but we rarely use the whole set up in one go so they come out again and again.
- It definitely gets easier – the first year I bought quite a lot of little toys to bulk it out but this year I’m fairly confident we can get by without them!
I’ll probably post round-ups on here. So do keep checking back if you’re looking for ideas.