What to fill a refillable advent calendar with?

(24 Posts)
Stoppicking Wed 02-Oct-13 07:33:19

Every year I struggle to fill my kids advent calendars with items.

In the past I have put chocolate coins in but as Grandma inisists on buying chocolate calendars it's all a bit chocolate over load.

I have filled dd's with christmas decorations (nah), claires jewellery that one was well received.

I have filled ds' with cars, lego.

I have also filled both with Christmas jigsaw pieces and they put that together.

Has anyone got any other ideas?

girlywhirly Wed 02-Oct-13 08:20:09

What about putting alternate days a choc coin and a real coin in each advent calendar? You could vary the value of the coins, but for fairness put the same value coin in each childs calendar on the same day to avoid squabbles. They can choose to spend or save with any other Christmas money they receive,

A piece of paper with a Christmas related activity in each or some of the pockets.

A small decoration for a tiny Christmas tree; they each have a tiny tree and a set of those little wooden decorations, (like those you find in Christmas markets) each day they add one to their tree. This can be used every year after the initial outlay, and the surprise is which decoration will be revealed that day as they are all different. They can take these away when they leave home!

I sympathise with you, re-fillable advent calendars seem such a good idea but in practice they can be such hard work if you don't fill with sweets. But they are a boon if you have to provide dairy-free or diabetic chocolate to DC so that they don't feel left out. I remember my mums next door neighbour telling how her daughter broke up squares of diabetic choc and wrapped them in foil to put in an advent calendar for her young grand-daughter. This was in the days before the internet and Boots were the only place locally to get diabetic foods.

Hope this helps.

Stoppicking Wed 02-Oct-13 09:00:19

Those are really great ideas - thank you. I think this year I'm going to go for the mixture of chocolate coins and real coins, but not just alternate so there is that element of surprise as to what that day will bring (unless of course they take a sneaky peek early wink )

I have a stash for the dds advent calendar. It includes

Little rubbers
Balloons
Hair bands and clips (special ones with animals)
Badges
Stickers
Finger puppets
Stretchy snake
Little car
Plastic dinosaur figures
Little boat
Plastic bracelet

I find this and this to be good websites for filling advent calendars.

girlywhirly Wed 02-Oct-13 09:21:26

To avoid peeking or swapping coins around you could fill the calendars on a day by day basis, put the next days' coin in after they're in bed for the following day.

Start saving change now!

shinybaubles Wed 02-Oct-13 11:09:28

Can I ask for those of you with more than one dc, do you have two advent calenders, as I have just bought one - should I let the kids alternate days when they can open it or just buy another?

I had an old playmobil calendar, that I used when DS was little, so I put the figures in the reusable one, along with a little Christmassy sweet. I cover the sideboard with shimmery white material and he can make a little tableau. FC is tucked into the pocket for the 24th so is the last part of the group. It looks fab and he really enjoys discovering what is in the next pocket.

Course, it only works if you have the playmobil stuff in the first place (sorry grin )

Beehatch Wed 02-Oct-13 11:18:08

I put 'promises' in at least half of the days e.g. bake xmas biscuits, cinema trip, visit Santa, play a family board game etc. We don't always get through them before Xmas, but the kids stash them and make sure we complete every one!

Other things are choc coins, Lego or playmobil and other party bag type stuff.

girlywhirly Wed 02-Oct-13 12:02:39

shiny, I think one calendar each, or one calendar with two items in each pocket/drawer. I think it would be a serious source of animosity if they each had to wait for their turn every other day.

Although I think it's easy to let buying stuff for advent calendars take over and cost much more than you planned: 24 gifts per child. I would rather spend the money on decent stocking fillers personally.

Stoppicking Wed 02-Oct-13 12:04:58

The problem with the party bag toys is they are all too big. The size of the pockets on my kids advent calendars are ridiculous (this was another error I made when purchasing the damn things that have become the bain of my life), they have no width to them and height of them is about matchbox height. So things like 50ps are only just hidden inside the pocket as they are on top of each other you can't have overspill over the top.

Re one each - yes I and my dc have always had our own. With advent calendars available for 99p (why on earth did I buy these stupid refillable ones) I think its nicer to have one each than share.

ruby1234 Wed 02-Oct-13 12:07:44

For my DD I bought a Pandora type silver blank bracelet for day one, then every day added a charm for it, and added a different leather blank bracelet later in the month. Bought the charms and bracelets on ebay, think they were around £1 each. She really liked it. She is 26 though!

My advent calender (which I've had for years ) is a tree with tiny decorations in the little boxes.
I put a couple of chocolate coins in each one.
The DC do alternate days to open the door and put the decoration on. Then share the coins.

Last year I put a £1 each on the Saturdays as extra pocket money.

(My DC are 11 and nearly 14. This Advent Tree has been part of their Tradition for as long as they can remember) smile

We have this advent calendar (although I paid less for it). I find I can squash it a present for each of the dds and a little biscuit for the dog.

Even for a calendar with tiny pockets you could do stickers, badge, a balloon.

I sometimes want to give things through the advent calendar that are too big, but I think will be better appreciated on the run up to christmas e.g. activity book, story book or dvd. I put a clue in the calendar of where to find them (my dds are little, so usually a picture of the place) or I tie a long piece of wool to the present and the calendar for them to follow.

One poster on here puts raffle tickets in the calendar and a basket of presents with corresponding tickets.

That was me! (Raffle person) You have a good memory attheend!

My DCs are now nearly 18, 15 and 11. We have definitely exhausted all the little toys available over the years.

They have always shared one calendar and taken turns. I think that doing one each would have finished me off by now.

Oh blimey, is it really that time already? <strings out Xmas denial a bit longer>

Bingersandtoes Wed 02-Oct-13 12:40:14

Fab seller on Facebook called mummy's mini scribblers who does Christmas crayons?

I haven't ordered any myself but have some of her digger/ butterfly/ wildlife ones and they are fab.

shinybaubles Wed 02-Oct-13 13:41:38

Thank you for the replies although not my thread, sorry about the highjack. Maybe I could just put activities to do etc in the advent calendar,and not little presents as I really am not sure I can face any more tat, and still get them a chocolate one each.

Cake I remembered it because I thought it was a really good idea! I have squirrelled it away for when my dds grow out of small plastic figures and stickers.

Stoppicking Wed 02-Oct-13 19:01:47

That raffle box idea is fantastic!

I am a tad reluctant to do it, purely because I'd have great fun doing it this year, but then make a rod for my own back for years to come!!!

Hawkmoth Wed 02-Oct-13 19:11:39

I bought seven different tiny Toy Story figures from Home Bargains last week for DS's calendar. Gave myself a bit of a smug feeling!

everydayaschoolday Thu 03-Oct-13 21:26:18

oh I remember the brilliant raffle suggestion from last year. Yes, I too have squirrelled the idea away for more difficult times as the kids get older and move away from the tat smile

I'm doing Squinkies this year - I have been collecting them when I've seen them on offer (JTF, Home Bargains, ToysRUs). And bought a squinkies playset playground to play with on christmas day.

IsleOfRight Thu 03-Oct-13 22:52:03

I have a great Lakeland one which has a wooden figure from Santa's workshop each day so you gradually build a scene. It's kind of an atheist nativity scene. Maybe you could buy the figures on eBay or something similar.

ShoeWhore Fri 04-Oct-13 22:08:24

I fill ours with Christmas activities. Some are big things we planned to do anyway - panto trip, visiting Santa etc. Some are things like read a Christmas story, get the Nativity set out, play Christmas music, drink hot chocolate. Some are a bit crafty - make Christmas decs, make Christmas cards, do some Christmas baking etc.

It's become a lovely part of the build up to Christmas for us and is evolving over time as they get older. The trick is to include enough easy things and plan them in for busy evenings!

Great ideas everyone. We have some lovely rusty advent buckets we hang on the wall for DD. We can get quite a bit in but looking for new ideas this year.

Previously we've bought a squinkies multipack and put one in every other day. DH also put some Lego mini fig packets in, plus we also put sweets/chocolate in too. We can get three things in (so something for DD, DH and me).

We're planning to make our own lego nativity scene over advent (DH is a Lego nut) so will have some bricks each day to make the scene. It's quite a bit of planning but DH has lots of bricks we can use so we only need to buy some characters and special bricks.

BiddyPop Sun 06-Oct-13 10:29:40

I usually get nets of choc santos or snowmen in aldi or M&S and use those for the choc. With that, some days it's a free internet printable coloring picture that,s seasonal. Or a note with a plan for the day, tidy your room shopping day, walk to collect cones in woods, painting those cones for decorations, writing to Santa, making cards, give toys no longer needed to charity shop, buy a food shop for local collections for needy families....

A few dAys it will be a small gift, a stocking filler that mostly is something to do, mini Mexicano, jigsaw, meccano not Mexicano sorry, Christmas story to read at bedtime, DVD to watch in afternoon......

Not all ideas get used every year, but over the years since dd was 2 we've been doing it she,s almost 8 now. And still loves it.

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