December is looming. As well as the tree, presents, lunch, stockings and parties, there’s one big thing to get sorted, and fast – the homemade advent calendar.
If your kids are anything like mine, they have elephantine memories and never seem to forget anything. So it should’ve come as no surprise to hear my eldest son’s request… ‘Mum, I wish you’d make us one of those homemade advent calendars, like you did when we were younger.’
My response to his request was the same as any sensible mother’s. After I silently cursed my former self for being all eager and crafty and setting the bar way too high, I replied ‘I’m so glad you value all that time and effort I put into your childhood. Of course I’ll make you one this year’.
And then I took to Facebook for some advice from the hive mind. Luckily, many of my friends are as cynical and tired as I am, so their answers made me less panicky and more laughy.
If you’re after some last minute homemade advent calendar ideas to go in little envelopes to hang with twine from a bloody stick, then this lot have done the work for you (me). Hooray for that.
Beano Parents tween-suitable ideas for last minute homemade advent calendars
Lizzie posts ‘I’m laughing because I’ve started making one and now can’t be arsed to finish it!’. Glad it’s not just us.
Amy agrees.‘Every year I think I’ll create a DIY advent and now you’ve got me all excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately for me what tends to happen is the 1st December arrives and the kids get upset because they don’t have anything. We then have to deal with the their disappointment and wrath of judgement from shop assistants for being sh*t parents while we frantically scour the shops for one on the 2nd December. The upside is that when you do finally find one its reduced.’ That’s Plan B sorted then.
Kat’s a mum of three who suggests ‘Forfeits and chores. That’ll teach em’. We’re actually seriously contemplating this (maybe with a trip to see The Grinch thrown in for extra mean points).
Lucy’s bought a fabric calendar from Matalan to reuse every year. ‘Gonna fill with choc buttons this year otherwise it gets so expensive!’ she sensibly said, while Kelly-Marie has made her own. ‘I made two fabric ones with little pockets in and so I have to do it twice over. Chocolate coins tend to be my go to, and I’ve done collectable cards in the past but they don’t care so much about them now. Frankly I’m exhausted just thinking about it this year!’ Aren’t we all?
Katie pointed out that Ikea have pre-made kits to make advent calenders. ‘Very sweet but £8!’ and Cath noted that the Tiger version is just £2 for a set of mini bags, number stickers and twine.
Tiger came out top of the recommendations for a really huge range of little things that don’t cost much. You could probably fill a basket with enough for the entire calendar and be done in one go.
Lego is a great option, too. You could buy a set with 24 or more pieces, split them across envelopes and the last one includes the instruction booklet. Or Mini Figures are always a winner. Or (shhh) Wilko does their own brand brick for an even cheaper option. Gail suggests a similar idea to the Lego but using daily ‘jigsaw pieces to make a big jigsaw’ and we really like Kimberlee’s idea: ‘We printed off some instructions for small lego Christmas decorations to build (candy cane, snowman, tree etc) and bought the bricks to make them. You can do similar with Hama beads. They can give them as gifts for teachers if they want to so is a double win!’
Alice said that her daughters are obsessed with chewing gum and bubble gum, so that’s what she’s going for this year. ‘Quite cheap and there’s a lot of different ones.’ Tick, tick.
Hannah suggests tattoos (temporary, we presume) while Katie’s three kids have gone old-school in their suggestions, with ‘Sweets, coins, bath bombs and Match Attack cards.’
Seasoned mum Emma says ‘Defo put in all the things you’re doing anyway (choosing a tree, decorating a tree, watching a film, ice skating, choosing new decorations, taking all their crap to the tip…)… Oh and one can be a nice worthy donation to a charity of their choice.’ LOL.
Eleanor agrees. ‘Last year I did a mixture of coins and ‘experiences’ so ‘put up tree’ and ‘make the most Christmassy hot chocolate ever’ and ‘choose new Christmas jumper‘ and stuff. Or you could do clues that when put together give them a bigger thing right at the end?’
This wholesome approach continues with Adele’s suggestions for ‘ornaments to hang on the tree, hot chocolate sachets, jokes, notes for things you’ll do together, challenges.’
Jess suggests dares, but Karen’s gone one better for her three kids. ‘We have decided to give the girls handmade vouchers which they can present to us at any time over the Christmas hols. The vouchers include:
1. Go to supermarket with £5 each and buy whatever they want – we can’t say no.
2. Dress us up in fancy dress of their choice and we have to walk up and down the street.
3. They put us to bed, brush teeth etc and they stay up for an hour.
4. Play any game of their choice
5. Bake biscuits
6. Choose whatever they want for breakfast
7. Go for a walk when it’s dark
8. Chocolate coins
9. Make milkshakes
10. Have a disco
Etc etc….’ Wow.
‘We might have to get a disclaimer written up!’ she concedes. Congratulations, Karen, you’ve just won Christmas.
Now will someone please pour me a Bailey’s?