Advent calendars have most definitely developed into an industry of their own, a far cry from the stale and waxy chocolate I enjoyed as a child. Every major chocolatier has come out with their own version of the advent calendar – from Lindt to Kinder through to Godiva, and not to mention the toy companies. Big players like Lego, Playmobil, Barbie, and Littlest Pet Shop, in an attempt to only name a few, have all given parents a great candy-free alternative to help their children countdown to Christmas morning. Then, for all of the do-it-yourself-ers out there, there is this wide array of gorgeous examples of handmade advent calendars all over Pinterest.
Or you have me. The mom who doesn’t even realize it’s December until the first week is over and all of those beautiful advent calendars disappear from the shelves.
At least I have one thing going for me: books. As a teacher-at-heart I have an unhealthy collection of children’s books, more than my children would ever, could ever need (and that’s saying a lot as I have four children). What’s more, I strategically hide my Christmas books away from all of the others. I try to only read them around Christmas, attempting to keep them exciting and new.
This year I went one step further. I counted out enough books to get us through to Christmas Eve, the night on which we traditionally read, “The Night Before Christmas”. I wrapped each book up in Christmas paper (or, at least, I delegated the wrapping) and stuck them under our Christmas tree. Before bed, my children take turns unwrapping a “mystery book”, and it becomes our bedtime story.
The kids love it! Getting to open a present every night – what a thrill! And the best part, for us busy parents out there (let’s face it, who’s not busy come December?), it doesn’t matter when you start. 15, 5, 11, 25 days before Christmas, use whatever Christmas/winter-themed books you have and countdown from there, visit your local library if you need to make up the difference.
At this point, I’m unsure if purchasing an advent calendar will ever be necessary again. So tell me, I would love to know, with less than 10 sleeps left until the big day – how have you been counting down?