5 ideas for alternative advent calendars

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Everyone loves a good advent calendar. No matter how old you are, there's something magical about having a daily mini treat. But as wonderful as a chocolate every day is, it's always exciting to change it up a little.

We've put together five really simple alternative advent calendar ideas to give you a break from the chocolate this December.

Or as well as the chocolate - we won't judge!

Story advent calendar

The storybook advent calendar has become more popular in recent years.

The idea is that you wrap up 24 of your children's favourite books, let them pick a new one each night and read it as a bed time story. Not only does this give you quality time reading with your little one, but it means you get to read something new each evening. A welcome break to any parent who's child has an obsession with one book...

This can work for little ones, and children of any age.
Although you're not likely to be able to read a Harry Potter book in an evening, giving someone a book you've chosen especially for them every day will encourage them to read it more than if it was just on the bookshelf.
Giving your children, friends or family books that you've read and enjoyed will create a sort of book club, and you can talk about them together too!

If you're struggling for ideas, we've put together a list of our24 books for all ages.

Activity advent calendar

The activity advent calendar gives you and your family a new activity to do each day.

The wonderful thing about this calendar is that there are no limits, you can create it to fit in with your family life.
It gives you the freedom to put in the activities you love doing (or would be doing anyway) and keep away from the things you don’t enjoy.
Things such as ‘buy popcorn at the cinema’ suddenly become a huge treat when they’ve been given as a surprise!

As there is no set way to present it, this calendar also lets you get a little bit creative.

Our favourite ideas are;
Putting all the activities in a jar and picking one out at random every day.
Decorating 24 plain envelopes with snowflakes and baubles and keeping all your activities numbered on the inside.
Painting toilet roll or kitchen roll tubes green, and laying them out in a tree design with numbered papers covering the top.

If you’re struggling for activities, we’ve put together a list of our top 24 family activity ideas.

Acts of kindness advent calendar

Christmas is a time for giving, and that’s exactly what this advent calendar is all about.

We all know it’s a very expensive time of year, but acts of kindness don’t have to cost a penny.
Doing something nice for someone every day takes a lot of effort to begin with, but even holding a door open for someone or giving out a compliment can completely change someone’s day.
By the time you’ve finished advent, you’ll be so used to doing something nice you’ll not even realise you’re doing it anymore!

This is perfect for both children and adults; there’s no age limit on kindness!

How you present this calendar is completely up to you, but these are our suggestions;
Keep a diary or log of the kind thing you’ve done and tick it off at the end of the day.
Write down the 24 things you’d like to do in a grid and cross them off every time you complete one.
Decorate matchboxes with wrapping paper and glitter and open one at random each day.

Here’s a list of easy random acts of kindness anyone can carry out if you’re struggling!

A city advent calendar

This city advent calendar will give you something to create every day, and it’s very low maintenance.

First of all head over to the Mr.Printables website and grab the free download for the city.

Use the numbers on the houses to build and add to your city.

If you’re feeling super creative you can make your own roads, trees and people to go into your city too.

A photo advent calendar

We’re not saying we left the best until last, but this one is right up our street.

This advent calendar makes the perfect gift as it’s so personal.

To start you’ll need to have a special someone or group of people in mind. Then go back through the years photographs and pick out your 24 favourites. (We’d suggest 2 from each month!)

Write a little bit about each photograph to go with it. It could be something about that day, or something about the person/people in the picture.

As they go through the calendar your chosen person will be reminded of how fantastic the year has been, and have loads of memories to keep hold of!

Our favourite way to present this calendar is through envelopes stuck to a board.
Attaching the image to the inside of the envelope with the back facing outwards will make it easy to open, and create a fab Christmas display too!

Remember; we offer shoots all year round and never delete our photographs so if you’re struggling for images then get in touch!