The bumper list of natural Advent Calendar ideas
Advent itself is a Christian tradition but advent calendars came from a German tradition in the mid 19th century. Chalk marks were made on a wall or candles were lit to countdown the days until Christmas.
In the early 1900s the advent calendar became a cardboard calendar with doors that opened showing Christmas scenes. Of course these days, it’s marketed with licensed character calendars and cheap chocolate!
I think harking back to simple and slow traditions with our families is so special. Winding down the pace, being grateful, not greedy and revelling in family fun instead of just more ‘stuff’ for the sake of it. Practised in this way, the countdown to Christmas with an advent calendar can become a wonderful family tradition full of special memories.
Advent calendars can take on any form you like. The main idea is to have the numbers 1-24 representing the days of December up until Christmas. Each day is marked off, acknowledged or something opened to reveal a surprise.
Ideas for Advent Calendars
Let your imagination run wild! There are so many fun ideas. You can make up easy advent calendars every year or invest in a wooden or fabric calendar to re-use over and over again.
You could use paper bags with pegs hung on some twine, glass jars covered in hessian to hide the contents, toilet rolls glued together or a large tree branch with wrapped and numbered parcels.
Here is some inspiration for you:
♥ Handmade Fabric Bags
Make up some cute little drawstring fabric bags or buy them already made and numbered. These gorgeous ones are hand-made in Sydney from linen cotton and drawstring and you can personalise them too if you want. Hang them from an old ladder, a branch or string across a wall. Get them here.
♥ Advent Calendar Wall Hangings
You may be clever enough to make your own advent wall hanging with pockets or you could source one online. I love this one that’s new at Oxfam. It’s made of cotton, hand embroidered in India and features a pocket for the 24 days of Advent. Find it here.
♥ Wooden Advent Calendar.
Hunt around craft stores and buy a wooden advent box to decorate yourself. You could also get one hand-made and deocrated for you from Sydney based mum Hannah here. She will even personalise it for you.
♥ DIY Toilet Roll Advent Calendar.
Okay, this is actually not that hard to do! It looks super cute as well. Find the details here.
♥ Book Advent Calendar
Simply wrap some books and display. I love this gorgeous array with a natural look from My Book Bloom. You can stick with a Christmas theme or just choose any books. Head to the op shop or library to get some books or use what you already have at home for a frugal option. You might also like to include a few new ones. Check out these Christmas books for kids.
♥ Natural Leaf Advent Calendar
If super simple and natural is your style, you can’t beat this sweet idea from Tricia at Little Eco Footprint. Just take down a leaf every day!
Ideas for things to put in the Advent Calendar
There are so many great ideas for things to put in advent calendars. It does not have to be cheap chocolate or expensive gifts. Here is some inspiration to get you started.
Schedule in the parties and events you have to attend and use them as a family activity for that day. Work in other activities around it. Don’t have too many activities or you may end up exhausted. Pace yourself! Simple is best and don’t forget, you can always shuffle things around if things don’t work out as planned.
♥ Small stationery items (hey, you were going to have buy back to school stuff anyway!)
♥ Dried fruit
♥ Pet rocks
♥ Christmas felt finger puppets
♥ Chocolate (the little healthier chocolate orangutans are super cute)
♥ Jigsaw (pop a piece a day in the calendar and complete the jigsaw over the 24 days)
♥ Items that make up a nativity scene or a Christmas centrepiece
♥ Christmas Eve’s surprise could be a treasure hunt with clues leading to a gift of new pyjamas and a Christmas movie to watch
♥ Decorate a natural Gingerbread House
♥ Decorate the Christmas tree
♥ Watch a Christmas movie
♥ Drive around and see the Christmas lights
♥ Go to the library and choose some Christmas books
♥ Snuggle up in bed and read a Christmas book
♥ Dance around the house to Christmas carols
♥ Go to a Christmas pageant, parade or party (schedule in the events on the appropriate days)
♥ Go Christmas shopping
♥ Get Santa photos taken
♥ Have a popcorn summer snow fight
♥ Go to the beach and make sand angels
♥ Make up some original Christmas stories, poems, plays or songs and share them in a home concert
Things to make and do:
♥ Make some Christmas decorations for the tree or to decorate your room
♥ Funny Christmas jokes (What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitis!) 😛
♥ Make some Reindeer Food (NNAM style)
♥ Do some nature Christmas crafts
♥ Make Christmas cards for family and friends
♥ Make wrapping paper and gift tags
♥ Write a letter to santa
♥ Do some Christmas baking
♥ Make some Christmas play dough – use natural red and green colours with Hoppers Food Colouring
♥ Make some bonbons for the Christmas table
♥ Make some Christmas book marks
♥ Print off some Christmas colouring in pages and colour them in
Acts of Kindess:
♥ Clean out the toy box and choose some to donate to charity
♥ Pop on some Christmas outfits and clean up the litter on the beach (invite your friends!)
♥ Do some Christmas baking, wrap it up nicely and share with someone special
♥ Buy some pet food and take it to an animal shelter
♥ Go shopping for gifts for a Christmas appeal like The Smith Family Toy and Book Appeal
♥ Check out some more ideas from my very kind friend, Lorraine at Acts of Random Kleindschmidts
♥ A Reverse Advent Calendar. Get a box or basket and pop something in it every day for those in need.
♥ Gratitude Advent. Write down things you are grateful for every day and put them in a jar.
What do you do for advent calendars?? Leave us a comment with your ideas!