General ramblings

An Alternative Advent

December 1, 2015

How is it December 1st already?
And how did it sneak up on me. Again?
It’s not like I don’t know for the whole year that December 1st is Advent, and there will NEED to be Advent calendars.
But every year, we have the same panic at about 8pm on the 30th November: “Oh crap, Advent Calendars”, and we have to scurry up into the loft and frantically search for the Advent Lorry.
And every year, I completely fail to post my oh so helpful Advent blog post at a time that might be helpful for anyone else looking for ideas-apologies.

When BigSmall was teeny, and celebrating his very first Christmas, my Nana bought him this Advent Lorry.

Advent lorry e
At first glance, it looks lovely, very traditional, and wooden, and wholesome.
On closer inspection, it is I’m afraid to say of not especially good quality and I confess that it may well have been made in a not very jolly factory a long way away.
But I digress, against all odds, and despite being dropped from a great height on a few occasions, the lorry has survived and makes an appearance on the 1st December every year.
The boxes are too small to fit anything other than a small chocolate into really, and I have to say that I think if I’m being honest, my kids would be more excited by a small chocolate every day, than they are by my attempts at a “let’s focus on doing stuff, not having stuff” Advent.
But I am making memories, dammit, so they will feign excitement (and then run off and open the Lego Advent Calendar that my Aunt has bought them-I know, total fail. But, complete disclosure and all that).
Every day, I put in there a Christmas themed activity, with the idea being that we can all do it together, and start to feel the rosy glow of Christmas, and I sneakily get some ‘help’ (although actually, I’m not sure how helpful this help is…) with some Christmas prep.
This will be our 4th year doing this this year, and it seems to work for us.

If you’ve not already succumbed to a chocolate filled calendar, or you have but are looking for something else to add in, here are some ideas for Alternative Advents.

:: If you want to go with our activity a day idea, you can find lots of ‘things to do’ in previous posts here, here, and here.

Day 1

Day 1

:: Every year, I go through our photos from the previous 12 months, and choose 24 to get print out. I then place each one in a numbered envelope and give it to hubby for his Advent calendar. I keep thinking I should come up with a more original idea each year, but then I start scrolling through the photos, and it’s such a great reminder of all the things we have done, that I keep doing it.

:: Last year, one of the good people at Streetbank came up with the idea of gifting an item a day for Advent.
I floated this idea in our local Buy Nothing Group, and several of us joined in. Between us we re-homed over 100 items in the run up to Christmas, and it felt good to be de-cluttering ahead of the onslaught of stuff.

:: Way back in 2012, I signed up to an official  Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Advent Calendar, and got a suggestion of a kindly deed to do each day popping into my in-box. I’m not sure if it’s still a ‘thing’ this year, but if it isn’t, here are some ideas from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

RAK calendar
:: Louise Tilbrook (@Madmumknits on Twitter) has come up with a lovely twist on this idea, and come up with a knitting related RAK Advent Calendar.

RAK knitting

This has all got me thinking….
Would anyone be up for a Make Do and Mend Advent Calendar, with a daily prompt to do something ‘Make Do and Mend-y’?
Let me know if you would, and I’ll thinking!

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  • Reply Rachel December 2, 2015 at 4:29 am

    Wow, excellent ideas! I too do an advent calendar for my husband so while this won’t help me this year I’ve got your ideas stored up for 2016 🙂

    In the past I have:
    – Given jokes, comics, quotes or Christmas trivia tidbits
    – Made fruit and nut balls in lieu of bought chocolate
    – Suggested date night ideas (these help us for the next year when we’re lacking inspiration)
    – Given stocking fillers like a stick of lip balm, some tea, a jam or chilli sauce

    I’m starting to think more about gifts in spread out over the days, like a card game given one card at a time, or a puzzle, or even a story in installments.

    • Reply Jen December 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      What fab ideas Rachel! I’m sure I remember someone saying they had a Lego model that they broke up and gave a few bits each day..!

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