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Small gifts to fit inside Wooden Advent calendar - ideas needed please!

(67 Posts)
everydayaschoolday Sat 18-Aug-12 21:52:03

Last Christmas I invested in a lovely wooden advent calendar that can be brought out every year, rather hoping it'll become a beloved tradition that my children will grow-up with. I filled each drawer with a 'penny sweet' or Quality Street-type chocolate.

This year I was thinking of putting a small gift item in - like a small santa-face badge etc. But where do I find such tat lovely christmas items that my 4 year old would get genuinely excited about?! Don't get me wrong, I can find the tat, I just can't find small enough tat to get in the little drawer.

I have noted on MN last year to write an activity to do and put it in the drawer, and I think I'll do that for weekend days when I'm not working and we can bake cookies or something. All ideas really appreciated.

floweryblue Sat 18-Aug-12 22:03:19

Have you looked up Tobar toys? They do old fashioned nick-knack type toys and games.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 18-Aug-12 22:03:55

I've got an Advent Calender .Each door has a tiny resin decoration that hangs onto a little resin tree with hooks .The tree is about 12" high, and it's lovely to see it fill up.
I put a few chocolate coins in too.

It's difficult to buy little things for a 4yo.

If it's a girl, maybe some little clip-on earrings (or if she's got piereced ears, studs) from Claire's Accessories. They often have 3 for 2.
My DD got gingerbread man earrings (cute).

Shoes or clothes for a Barbie Doll.

Sylvanian Family Baby figure

If it's a boy, the Halo figures that you assemble (in a sealed bag, about £2-3 from The Entertainer, Tesco, Game)

You might find some tiny decorations (M&S had little glass 'teardrops' about 1" long) that your DC could save every day to go on the tree?


BiscuitNibbler Sat 18-Aug-12 22:05:30

I bought one of these today, so will watch this thread with interest.

I have decided to put some hair clips and bobbles in some of the drawers, but need some inspiration for the rest.

BiscuitNibbler Sat 18-Aug-12 22:07:29

Oh yes, the one I bought has a tiny decoration in each drawer to put on the hooks dotted around the calendar scene, but I want to add something extra!

Dysgu Sat 18-Aug-12 22:30:21

Sorry, can't help you with the 'small (tat) gifts' other than to mention Harper's Bazaar but we just do chocolate balls or coins and an activity as I much prefer the stuff to be eaten rather than litter up my house.

If you were planning on doing activities for the weekends, can I suggest you do them for every day just make the week day ones REALLY simple. I work full-time and DD1 is at school so week day things include stuff like 'DD1 has her school nativity today - let's all go along and watch it' and 'Let's find a Christmas storybook to share at bedtime' so nothing particularly challenging (and stuff you would be doing anyway but it really builds the excitement through the month.

CakeistheAnswer Sat 18-Aug-12 22:41:04

I did this for several years. Started when DS was 1. He's now 16 and has 2 siblings. Believe me, I have pretty much exhausted all the little-pressie options over the years, and we own just about everything that Hawkins Bazaar sell.

For the last 3 years I the elves have left DCs a special Xmas raffle. A Christmassy basket filled with pressies, each wrapped and with a raffle ticket attached.

They love getting their ticket from the calendar and finding the right pressie in the basket.

Not big things by any means, but at least they don't have to fit into a ridiculously tiny hole. smile

BiscuitNibbler Sat 18-Aug-12 22:45:46

You're probably right, Dysgu, I definitely don't need any more tat hanging around.

Maybe I'll just stick with chocs, a few clips and bobbles (as these are useful), and try and think of some activities. We've got a theatre trip and a panto booked for December, so that's a start.

dyzzidi Sat 18-Aug-12 22:47:00

Dd age 6 has one of these and we have put plastic necklaces, Lego figures, Chocolate coins etc.

This year I think I am going to put a couple of pound coins in there, mini lipgloss, Lego figures, balloons, bracelets, keying, rubbers and mini pencils.

peanutMD Sat 18-Aug-12 22:47:37

love the raffle idea smile

I bought a small tree from Poundland and bought a big tub of mini decorations which were divided amongst the pockets on DS' fabric calander and chucked in some chocolate coins or a moshi card/sticker for a bit of variety grin

Isitme1 Sat 18-Aug-12 22:49:42

Cakeistheanswer's made the most sense to me
sorry for being nosey
Good luck

crackcrackcrak Sat 18-Aug-12 22:52:33

We have a wooden one, dm bought it and fills it. Last year it was done chocolate, some little dolls, some moulded plastic animals you can get them in you shops some German make I think. The puppies and lambs etc are small enough.

Hmm what else.....dd likes hair clips....

bran Sat 18-Aug-12 22:58:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 18-Aug-12 23:01:10

£1 coins- especially if you can get the really new ones (IIRC they release new coins at the end of the year)

I might do that this year, maybe put a few chocolate coins in Sun-Fri then have a £1 each on the Saturday.

<<adds to Christmas Plan List>>

KatyMac Sat 18-Aug-12 23:02:28

Does this help for the "I have noted on MN last year to write an activity to do and put it in the drawer, and I think I'll do that for weekend days when I'm not working"
I do forfeits
What did the three wise men bring?

What do you think the Wise men would bring today?

Name three things you need to make Christmas pudding?

Sing jingle bells backwards?

Name three things that glitter?

Imitate a turkey?

Do 5 star jumps

Think of 3 words that rhyme with "Yule"?

Think up the next line of this poem:
At Christmas time the thing I like the best

Name 3 plants or trees associated with Christmas?

Name 3 animals or birds associated with Christmas?

Name 4 reindeer?

Sing a Christmas Song

Name 5 carols?

4 3-letter words from Christmas?

4 3-letter words from stocking?

Name a carol with someone's name in the title?

Name a song with Santa in the title?

What was given on the 9th day of Christmas?

In the 12 days of Christmas - how many birds altogether were given?

Name two animals in the traditional nativity scene?

Make a snowflake out of paper?

Tell the story of the first Christmas in less than a minute?

Name 5 Christmas foods?

Make something to hang on the Christmas tree?

Think of 3 names for father Christmas?

And these are some on MN previous years:
Decorate a tree outside with nuts and fat and toast for the birds, plus a star on top

"We're thinking of all the people in the world who won't have somewhere nice to sleep on Christmas day like Mary and Joseph"

read the Christmas Story

Go ice skating

put out some bird food / hedgehog food

Make salt dough decorations

Make a christingle

bake stained glass biscuits to decorate the tree with

Track Santa (for Christmas Eve)

Read a Christmas book (How the Grinch stole Christmas)

Make gingerbread house.

Collect pinecones, leaves and twigs to paint and turn into a centrepiece.

learn to sing a new carol and sing it to your parents

make paper snowflakes

learn the words to a Christmas song or poem and recite to Dad when he gets home

write a Christmas haiku

Make mum a cup of tea

Make a bookmark

Choose a charity to donate old toys to

Decorate Xmas cake.

Tidy bedroom

Make Xmas cards or maybe crackers if you are feeling inventive.

Go to Carol service

Go to christingle service

Go to nativity

write letter to Santa

make mince pies

make christmas cards

collect christmas tree

wrap presents

decorate christmas tree

buy present for local children's xmas appeal

watch christmassy film

make fudge

go shopping for christmas food

make christmas decorations

write christmas cards

Go for a walk with a torch

Visit Santa's Grotto
"Look under X and find the present" (another MNer suggested this on antoher thread)

make card for Nanna

make card for Daddy

Make some crackers?

Learn a new christmas song

Learn a christmas joke

paperchains are fab

Do a Christmas kindness each - just aim to do something for someone else that is just kind. Like buy the person behind you in the queue their coffee or help someone to carry their shopping or something else similar.

Make non-alcoholic mulled wine, lots of recipes online.

Email Santa

Go and look at the christmas lights on all the houses nearby.

go for a walk and pick holly

drink hot chocolate and watch a film (polar express)

walking around you local estate at night to view christmas lights..(if it applies, we have some very dedicated christmas enthusiasts around us)

christmas play/panto

make mince pies

fly kites

ditto the reindeer food, dc's love it

make wreath or spray

make wrapping paper or xmas decorations

bake mince pies

fill a shoebox for a xmas shoebox appeal

learn about how another country celebrate xmas (depends how old your dc are)

visit santa

Or take some biccies to the local retirement home/salvation army?

Make some reindeer food (porridge oats and glitter in a little jar).

go to church for a carol service?

put on Christmas Carols/Music and have a dance

make a Christmas present for dad

go out and collect holly and fir

Make a christmas card

stick cloves in oranges

make xmas decorations

cook some fudge/coconut ice for rellys

decorate xmas biscuits

everydayaschoolday Sat 18-Aug-12 23:07:18

Yay, my very first thread has answers - thank you all!

flower thanks for tip on Tobar, will google them shortly.

70isalimit great ideas there - why didn't I think of Claire's??! Loving idea of clip-on earrings esp christmas design ones. (I have 2 girls). She also loves key rings, so I just need to find one small enough (prob at Claire's again?).

Hi Biscuit, yes, of course some hair accessories (I really am rubbish at this)! Thanks for the tip and good luck on filling yours too.

Unfortunately my calendar didn't come with the mini decorations (I understand the type you mean) and I'm a bit gutted that I might have missed a trick. Perhaps I could make small felt decorations if I was feeling crafty...simple snowman / santa design with a loop at the top and get a mini tree for kids to hang them on. That could be a plan actually. Thank you for the inspiration 70 and biscuit (I just need to find the time!).

Dysgu I don't mind small tat as DD has loads of little bags and purses that they get put in to carry around (?) so generally it's all tidied away. I hate big toys though that just consume clutter my conservatory. I like your tip on keeping the chocs christmassy, so if I don't get 24 bits of tat, I'll use choc coins or santa choc balls (poundstretcher?) to fill in the gaps. I'll have a google at Harper's too. Thank you.

Thanks everyone - more ideas welcome: I need 24 in all! smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 18-Aug-12 23:08:04

Brilliant list KtyMac.

Loads of those are part of our Christmas Traditions already.


Can I just say, re PineCones.
They are out now. Loads of them in our local streets right now.
You won't find them in December (voice of experience, having spent cold December days traipsing round forests) wink

everydayaschoolday Sat 18-Aug-12 23:11:59

Gosh, so many more replies, thanks everyone!

Cake - put simply, your idea is genius! While I can still buy cheap tat, I won't be restricted to size. LOVE IT!

Everyone else, thank you, will read all posts but they're coming in faster than I can reply! Thanks all thanks

Ismeyes Sat 18-Aug-12 23:18:54

Little figures such as Moshi monsters, puppy in my pocket, my little pony etc fit inside these really well. You can usually get them more cheaply on ebay too.

JessePinkman Sat 18-Aug-12 23:22:12

Thanks KatyMac. So many lovely ideas.

everydayaschoolday Sat 18-Aug-12 23:25:59

peanut thanks will checkout poundland/poundstrecher for mini decs - might save me some time making them. thanks.

Katy great list - will pinch ideas for our new Christmas traditions, thank you.

70isalimit DD loves collecting pine cones (already have 3 in my living room). Good tip, I'll save as she collects and decorate in dec with some christmassy paint and glitter - brill idea, thanks.

everydayaschoolday Sat 18-Aug-12 23:34:47

DD would love Puppy in my Pocket and My Little Pony - thanks Ismeyes

CakeistheAnswer Sat 18-Aug-12 23:36:40

Thanks everyday - it's a long time since I heard my name and genius in the same sentence!

Thanks also for making me think about it now. Funnily enough, I don't actually enjoy the last-minute end-of-November panic which usually occurs chez Cake.

ValiumQueen Sun 19-Aug-12 08:15:45

I put polly pocket clothes and shoes from a car boot sale in DD1s last year alternated with activities. I would fill it in the morning, so could choose the activity to what I could cope with/ weather appropriate etc. if I did not want to do an activity I would put the PP item in. I will have a newborn this year, all being well, so will be watching this with interest. DD2 was too small last year. I made my callendar myself so thankfully there is room for all three.

fuzzpig Sun 19-Aug-12 08:24:22

Love this thread! I really want to get a nice wooden calendar. Not sure whether to get one each or one to share?!

At the moment (they'll be 5 and 3) the best gifts for mine would be little play figures - I get sets from eBay, last year they had things like looney tunes, Wallace and Gromit, snow white etc in their stockings, but I could put them in individually.

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