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Gift-free Advent Calendar Ideas

(15 Posts)
GhostOfChristmasPudding Tue 24-Oct-17 17:47:52

First-time poster, long-time lurker here. awkwardly waves hello at everyone

First off, sorry if this has been posted elsewhere, but I couldn't spot it in the threads. DH and I are looking for some ideas...this will be our first Christmas with DS who will be 9 months, and we want to do a gift-free advent calendar - one of the ones where you write 'Christmassy' things to do on slips of paper.

We did an advent like this last year when it was just us, but this year we're struggling to think of enough things that we can do with DS/won't go too late past his bedtime. So we're looking for any suggestions you lovely Christmas-mad people might have? smile

So far we have:

Putting up decorations
Local town's 'Christmas' day
Beamish (I love the place; never been at Christmas)
Grassington Dickensian Festival
Decorate new stockings (to be fair, DS isn't going to do much with this except bang felt on the table and laugh about it. It's mostly for me.)
Decorate gingerbread house
Christmas lights walk
Decorate crackers
Christmas film night
Woodland winter walk (collect pine cones, etc.)

It would be great if some of the ideas were free/cheap as well, but I'd love any suggestions - I can't think of anything else! But I'm sure there's plenty of other things we can add. I hope so, or it's going to be a small advent calendar. grin

LuxuryWoman2017 Tue 24-Oct-17 22:39:46

Oh lovely, I suggest
Invite friends for a pre-christmas drink/tea
A woodland walk, perhaps collect some greenery for the house
a practical day - post the Christmas cards buy the gifts
Go to a carol service
24th Dec Crib service (any local church will welcome babies)
You and DH (and friends if possible) a games evening
Making a cake/yule log/mince pies
At home pamper evening, long bath, paint your nails etc in preparation for the festivities.
Buy a copy of 'The night before Christmas' you can read this to DS for years to come and it will become a tradition (I'm on my 3rd copy!)

sorry of they're a bit rubbish but you can maybe expand on them to suit yourselves.

PipersOrange Tue 24-Oct-17 23:15:32

We always did:
make christmas fudge (bulks out families presents)
christmas film and hot chocolate night (excessive amounts of baileys)
wrapping evening (this was mainly for me - I love it! I do go a bit OTT though)
christmas cocktail evening (red and green and cinnamon)
writing cards
making a new christmas decoration (handprint or footprint - we've done this every year with my son!)
going out to choose a new christmas decoration - the same as above.

GhostOfChristmasPudding Wed 25-Oct-17 08:55:01

@LuxuryWoman2017 Those are fantastic ideas - I totally forgot about things like a carol service! I'll definitely be putting that on. And the games evening, we've never done that, so that could be fun. smile

@PipersOrange Oooh.....I love the idea of a wrapping evening! I've already done some of them, but I could unwrap them and wrap them again, right? Totally not unreasonable. grin The decoration idea is brilliant, but we're keeping that for Christmas Eve although I'll probably go mad while DS is little and make too much stuff over December anyway.

Thank you for the suggestions! You've given me tons of ideas.

Littlestchristmastree Wed 25-Oct-17 09:04:24

Ds to make Christmas cards? Hand print turned into a reindeer or something.
Pinterest will have tons of ideas for things to make or play.
You can get some fake snow pretty cheap from Amazon - add water and it fluffs up. Could do some Christmas sensory play with that.
Get some green felt and cut out a Christmas tree shape. Then cut out some felt decorations and he has his own tree to decorate. Can buy these in hobby craft I think but can make super cheap.

PotteringAlong Wed 25-Oct-17 09:13:03

Go to the beach and make sand snowmen (you said beamish so I'm assuming you're close enough to part of the north east coast to do it!)

Clays garden centre to look at the Christmas decorations

millifiori Wed 25-Oct-17 09:13:03

How about Meet a Reindeer? They often have live reindeer in garden centres, city farms etc over Christmas.
Meet Santa?
If you live near Beamish can you get into newcastle for Fenwicks' windows?
Listen to the Sally Army brass band playing carols? At that age DS1 was captivated by all the shiny instruments and the loud, nice noise.
Make christmas pudding and let him stir it? (Expect massive mess)
Put a Christmas bow on his favourite teddy?
Put out carrot, sherry and mince pie on Christmas eve? (Never to young to start that tradition)
Singalong carols with him. DS1 used to make me sing 'I saw three ships' every single night at bedtime, even in August, when he was tiny.
Shake tinsel under the lights and watch it sparkle.

PotteringAlong Wed 25-Oct-17 10:01:12

Yes! Fenwicks window!

GhostOfChristmasPudding Wed 25-Oct-17 10:21:04

Fenwicks window will definitely be gawped at! I love that they still do an actual, proper Christmas display window.

Pottering, that idea is fab! Sand snowmen are definitely going to be part of it now - we're not too far from a few beaches, so we might go mad with making them! So if you see any pop up, you know who did 'em. grin

The felt Christmas tree idea is great, too, Littlest. I've got some leftover felt somewhere from other things, so I reckon I could manage to make something like that.

And YES to the Reindeer, millifiori! I tried to look somewhere up that might do that, but couldn't spot anywhere near us. I didn't think of garden centres, etc., so I'll look at those. And we haven't done a pudding, but I have made a Christmas cake and let him stir it. You're right about the mess, haha. Our kitchen wall might never look the same thanks to his artistic tendencies to throw the spoon around while giggling. hmm

Thank you, everyone! I think I've got plenty to fill the rest of the calendar up with aside from a sneaky choccie or two for me, of course.

PotteringAlong Wed 25-Oct-17 21:25:36

Beamish has reindeer at Christmas 🎄

PotteringAlong Wed 25-Oct-17 21:28:43

Or there's big reindeer Saturday!

GhostOfChristmasPudding Wed 25-Oct-17 22:15:04

Ah, that's brilliant, Pottering! I didn't know they'd have them at Beamish, so that's good. Can't wait even more now!

That Big Reindeer Saturday looks fab, but I'm not sure if we'd go back up for another day. We're in Yorkshire really, so it depends on how nicely DS decides to behave. grin

PotteringAlong Wed 25-Oct-17 22:16:31


Well they're definitely at beamish - you can buy bags of moss and feed them!

millifiori Thu 26-Oct-17 13:37:17

Riggmore reindeer near Ripon?
And do any of the steam trains do a Santa run? Our local mini steam railway did and it was a real hit.

GhostOfChristmasPudding Thu 26-Oct-17 14:03:45

puts moss-buying money into Beamish budget DH really wants to do this as DS gets excited about some horses that live near us, so he'll probably think the reindeer are horses with extra bits on their head, haha.

That's a good idea about the Santa run! I think our little local steam railway might do one, I'll have to check.

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