Are reusable advent calendars worth the hassle?

(36 Posts)
iloveholidays Tue 03-Sep-13 12:45:15

I've been debating whether to invest in large felt advent calendars this year for my 3 DDs however was chatting to a friend last year who said she had one for her DD but all she wanted was a chocolate one. I don't want to spend hours doing them if all my girls want are chocolate so I'm throwing it out there....

are they worth the effort?

I was planning to do a lot of activities but I could just put these in envelopes with numbers on so don't think it's worth buying a calendar just for that.

Thanks grin

iloveholidays Tue 03-Sep-13 12:45:42

chatting to my friend last week not last year grin

FriskyHenderson Tue 03-Sep-13 13:20:04

I've done a mixture of homemade felt calendar with chocolate in; HM felt with mix of choc/presents (www.tickseed.co.uk); and lego/playmobil.

The HM are far prettier on the wall. Once I'd clocked that I needed to wrap each DC presents in their own paper (so that when they fell out I knew which was whos) and to make sure they got the same thing on the same day it was better. But finding stuff to fit can be difficult and my pockets were different sizes. Whwn I did a mix of choc or present it was always the wrong thing.

Last year I went with playmobil as they were on offer and worked out cheaper. All of the playmobil is still in circulation. Im not sure all of the Tickseed stuff lasted, but I'm a vicious declutterer.

Dotcomgiftshop sells packts of 24 boxes or envelopes that are numbered. A 'washing line' of the envelopes (which would also fit choc or present as well) would look nice.

fossil971 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:26:33

We have one with 25 pockets in that I made a few years ago. Every year I get a couple of packs of chocolate treats in foil or coins or Quality Street from the supermarket and put four in each pocket (one for each of us!) I don't go with any special activities or wrapped presents. It's minimal hassle really. People are prone to pinching out of future dates though...

elQuintoConyo Tue 03-Sep-13 13:41:40

Similar to Fossil we have 25 mini stockings draped down the bannister that I put homemade chocs into (pour melted white/milk/dark choc into icecube trays, bung into fridge 2 hours! I have Christmas themed ice cube trays). I may put the odd Twix or Snickers in!

DS is 20mo so doesn't need choc or activities yet, but I will do when he's older. I made it when I was pregnant and nesting grin and it's going to save me buying a €1 piece of crap every year.

Google homemade advent calendars - I've seen one where a chocolate was put in a balloon, balloon inflated, 25 ballons on the dc's wall in a tree formation, each day, one balloon was burst! You could put an activity in on a rolled up.piece of paper. Dc can't jump ahead and eat another day's chocolate either grin

onlysettleforbutterflies Tue 03-Sep-13 13:48:10

We have one and just put a celebration chocolate in it each day, except for Sunday's when my step daughters are there, we do a treasure hunt then with clues all around the house and a little prize at the end for each child, like Christmas hair clips, santa pens etc.

Mutley77 Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:04

A bit different but we have a playmobil one which has been used for the six years since we bought it (and now we have a 3rd DC aged 12 weeks I can easily see it lasting another 6 years if I continue to be anal with the pieces!!).

We do also buy a chocolate calendar each to fulfil their cravings!

TheYamiOfYawn Tue 03-Sep-13 13:51:59

I have one where you arrange felt fingerpuppets on the calendar to make a nativity scene. It's no hassle at all.

iloveholidays Tue 03-Sep-13 19:58:25

Thank you all. Still undecided grin

OldRoan Tue 03-Sep-13 20:14:58

We had one with little boxes. Each box had a small wooden tree decoration. We had small (fake) trees in our bedrooms that started with just lights and each day we put a new decoration on, so it was done by Christmas Day.

We also had a cheapo chocolate one to keep us quiet! I loved the reusable one though.

muddymarvellousdarling Tue 03-Sep-13 20:37:27

I have decided to buy a wooden one this year. (star or tree )

All our decorations we had amassed over the years, were damaged when we were flooded out last year.
So, we are sort of starting again and I can't wait! grin

Hopefully there will be enough room in the boxes to hold a choc. coin or two for each of us! wink

We have one with boxes which is a bit of a pain in the arse because you have to get things which fit the space - it's been really useful for DD who can't have dairy though - we put sweets in.

We also have a larger wooden one with Christmas tree decorations to hang on the tree which I really like when they kids are small - they enjoy having their 'own' tree and decorations, and I'm not giving them sweets every day... plus it's pretty.

OohMrDarcy Tue 03-Sep-13 20:42:43

we had one - I was really up for it, got little treats / activities to put in it... then BOTH my DM and DMiL decided that the DC couldn't possibly not have a crap one so bought them as well..... 3 advent calendars each was not in my plan.... I have since given up sad

mercibucket Tue 03-Sep-13 20:43:55

the playmobil ones are fab

felt ones sound a big hassle but if you like buying all the stuff to go in them, i bet they are great fun. i am not that organised or into buying small bits and bobs, but love playing with the playmobil grin

you could always buy a playmobil set and put it in the felt thing i suppose grin

wonkylegs Tue 03-Sep-13 20:49:29

My DS has been indoctrinated by me that the ones in the supermarket are for kids not lucky enough to have a big one on the wall. So far he's not asked for one.
I made mine it's a huge sewn Christmas tree with pockets which I fill with chocolate coins or sweets. It's dead easy and looks nice on the wall.

pongping Tue 03-Sep-13 21:05:11

I 'made' one last year for DS, who had just turned two. That's in inverted commas because it was one one of those felt kit ones that I think are actually for children grin.

He loved it, and still remembers it now, which is quite impressive and shows it must have had an impact. I filled it with sweets and toys, meant to put in activities too buy never quite got round to it. His favourite thing (well, after the chocolate coins) was stickers.

I want it to become a family heirloom-type thingy - something he can keep as a grown up, to which many fond memories will hopefully be attached. Must make one for DS2! Won't bother this year as he's only six months, but he can have one next year.

MrsOakenshield Tue 03-Sep-13 21:23:48

my auntie made beautiful advent calenders for DD and DNiece, and they love them - there's a different cross-stitched picture for each day - angels, shepherds, decorations. But neither have been introduced to the world of the chocolate advent calender! I hate choc ones though, I like the really old school ones with lots of glitter on them.

We have a re-usable card one (it's very solid) with drawers, I put two chocolate coins in each drawer, one for each DC. We tried the activities thing a couple of years ago, but found that a lot of the time the suggested activity didn't end up fitting in with other plans, so not going to do that again. We've never had a supermarket chocolate one and the DCs have never asked for one.

We also buy an old fashioned German glitter and picture one each year from a local card shop, love those.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 03-Sep-13 22:42:12

We have a wooden one which I LOVE.

I fill the windows with activities or clues to find crimson-related items around the house (eg small Santa shaped chocolates or christmas edition of,their favourite comic)

The only problem I find is remembering to put the little pieces of paper in the window the night before, otherwise cue very disgruntled DCs the next morning!

We have one with little buckets. I love it as I love finding little things through the year to go in. I suspect dd1 would be just as happy with a choc one, though.

feetheart Tue 03-Sep-13 23:21:19

DC have a sturdy cardboard Christmas tree=shaped one each that I got in Marks' about 8 years ago. DH and I have fun all year looking for tiny things to go in the drawers.
We do a 50/50 mixture of chocolate and toys and have a system that the DC have yet to work out (they are 10 and 7) so they don't know if they will get toy or chocolate each day.
We all love the tradition smile

pongping Wed 04-Sep-13 09:32:10

What's the system, fett? Promisei won't spill grin

feetheart Wed 04-Sep-13 21:13:05

Shhhh, don't tell smile
Drawers are in rows but numbers are all mixed up - we fill each row with either chocs or things then they seem to come up randomly. Taking bets as to how old they will be when they work it out.

fuzzpig Sun 08-Sep-13 09:47:18

Feetheart, if you feel like they are about to work it out you could switch to columns instead of rows, that might string it out a bit longer grin

I'm just bumping this to see if anyone has any particular recommendations for a reusable calendar?

I'm not good enough at sewing to make a felt one (already ambitious enough planning to make my 4yo a Fix It Felix outfit confused) and would quite like a wooden one or really solid cardboard. Would probably still put mostly chocolate or sweets in, with the odd activity and very occasional gift (eg new fancy hairclips for DD on the day of Xmas play) - I would really enjoy finding gifts for every single drawer, but knowing my toy-obsessed DCs I think it would make them a bit too demanding of Stuff if that makes sense.

For myself, I am determined to be more organised this year and make sure I get a thorntons or hotel chocolat one before they sell out grin

BeckAndCall Sun 08-Sep-13 09:50:23

We've had felt ones - 3 different designs ( Father Christmas , angel and snowman) - for about 15 years now. We put a heros or celebration in each pocket. Ad we even do it for those not living at home anymore - for when they make it back. For them it's part of coming home......

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