The ultimate guide to Advent Calendars to count down to Christmas
- Mums Tips
- Get Creative
- Published on Sunday, 22 November 2015 11:00
- Last Updated on 18 November 2015
- Monica Costa
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The traditionThe Advent Calendar was born in 19th Century Germany. The first known home made Advent Calendar is from 1851. The first idea came from protestant families who put a chalk line on the door for every day in December until Christmas Eve. An other tradition was to hang up little pictures on the wall - one for each day in December. Other early styles were the Advent Clock or the Advent Candle - a candle for each of the 24 days until Christmas, similar to what we call today the Advent Wreath. In 1908 the first printed Advent Calendar with no windows to open was published. It had little coloured pictures which could be affixed on a cardboard at every day in December. This Calendar was known as the Christmas-Calendar or Munich Christmas-Calendar. The next styles were religious Advent Calendars with Bible Verses instead of pictures behind the doors. World War II inevitably stopped the success of this popular German tradition because cardboard was rationed and it was forbidden to produce Calendars with pictures until 1946. Advent Calendars filled with Chocolate started to become available in 1958. Nowadays with more health conscious parents, the chocolate filled Advent Calendars are often (but not completely) replaced by little toys or gifts filled Calendars. They are clearly more expensive (the choccie filled calendars cost as little as £1 from supermarkets versus £12 to £50 toys calendars) and not always an affordable choice.
DIY Advent Calendar made out of recycled materialFor a few years in a row I made an Advent Calendar out of recycled household material or old wrappings - what I would like to call my Junk Advent Calendar. This is the most cost effective and easiest Advent Calendar ever (although not the prettiest one)! Here are three simple steps to make it: 1- Recycle old gift bags or small envelopes (start recycling straight after Christmas); 2- Label them with number tags (we used some from cloth hangers and labeled them with the suitable numbers); 3- Fill them with little messages and pressies (not expensive but meaningful to your kids as messages from mum and dad, poems, songs, hand-written tales). I put them all in a basket. It does not need to be super cute or amazing looking. But if you add your thoughts about Christmas, songs, photos and other personal things, your child would love it because the idea of you making all these things makes it so special. To make this, I was inspired by this one I saw on the internet which is much prettier. But then I found myself time-deprived with all Christmas preparations and ended up putting everything in a basket.
Ideas for advent calendar pockets' fillersSweets and Chocolates are classic choices but not the healthiest options. 'Star Wars' is back on 17 December so this year is certainly going to be a big one for Star Wars fans. This Han Solo LEGO® Star Wars™ Key Light is simply adorable. Han Solo is the latest character to join the LEGO Star Wars™ Key Lights range. The range brings together popular characters in the form of cool pose-able key lights with light up feet. They are quite simply the perfect stocking filler for Star Wars fans of any age. Available now Smythstoys.com, truffleshuffle.co.uk and all good toy retailers. SRP £6.99 Suitable from 6+
The prettiest Advent Calendars in 2015A great alternative to chocolate filled Advent Calendar is the Biscuiteers Advent Tin and cloth calendar. Somehow this is closer to the German tradition than the cheap supermarkets versions. It does not come in cheap but these biscuits are delicious and bring a very Gingery Christmas taste. All Biscuiteers biscuits are handmade and iced by hand. Delivered in stylish, traditional square edged tins that have a life after biscuit, each collection is beautifully decorated according to its theme. You can visit the stores across London too to have a try: Biscuiteers Icing Cafes at 194 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill or 13 Northcote Road, Clapham. Biscuiteers are also stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and The Conran shop, among others. PLAYMOBIL For the past couple of years London Mums' top choice of Advent Calendars have been by Playmobil. For less than £20 you get a piece of solid German toy at £1 per day for your child. FOR BOYS This year PLAYMOBIL have partnered with London Fire Brigade for their 150th anniversary and to kick off the partnership, they've released a Fire Rescue Operation Advent Calendar along with a stop-motion video teaching little ones about fire safety and who our fire fighter heroes are. This will be used for London Fire Brigade’s education service in schools for the upcoming academic year and online.
Playmobil Christmas Advent Calendar Unicorn Fairyland has 24 boxes to count down to Christmas. As each box is opened it creates a good scene, with the fairy queen introducing the fairy prince and princess to her unicorn and other forest animals.
The set comes complete with a jewellery box and ring.Mini figures include the fairy queen who watches over the forest, three Playmobil fairies, lots of woodland animals, as well as a mystical unicorn.