Homemade Chocolate-free Advent Calendar

November 29, 2019

Before you go thinking I’m a big old Scrooge, I have two children under four. They will no doubt consume plenty of chocolate over the festive period. However, I am keen to avoid them getting into the unhealthy habit of having chocolate before breakfast every day in December, so instead I chose to create these fun chocolate-free advent calendars for them. This is also a lovely idea if your toddler has allergies, which means that they are unable to have chocolate. Why should they miss out on the advent fun?

A wooden advent house stands next to a homemade A3 picture made with a black card background, sparkly red sleigh, gold star and green Christmas tree. A pile of Christmas-themed stickers are spread out on the desk in the foreground.

This advent calendar is sticker-based. I like to start by creating a festive scene on a piece of A3 card. This year, for M’s advent scene, I have purchased some ‘Santa’s workshop’ themed stickers, so I decided to create a sleigh scene, ready to be ‘loaded’ with toys. I used a mixture of metallic and holographic card to add interest for M. These advent calendars do provide a little bit of crafting on my part. However, I’m sure if you wanted to, you could print off a Christmassy scene and eliminate that aspect of it entirely, making for a low-effort, high-interest advent activity.

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The advent calendar itself is a wooden one that I purchased from Next. The one pictured is this year’s offering, which I bought for B earlier in the month. M has a wooden advent ‘tree’, also from Next and purchased in the Boxing Day sale when she was a baby (I knew then that I wanted something that would become a family tradition/heirloom!).

A drawer of the advent house is open to reveal two Christmas stickers inside.

I’m planning to fill each drawer of the advent house/tree with two stickers for each day. This may not sound particularly exciting, but last year M was two-and-a-half and absolutely loved it, and she’s already excited for the same this year. M really enjoyed opening the little door of her advent tree each day, and choosing where to put the stickers on her picture (I created a really simple Christmas tree picture for her last year, which I’m intending to replicate for B this year – nothing like leaving it until the last minute!).

A toddler sticks foam Christmas stickers onto a picture of a shiny green Christmas tree.

I’m really looking forward to the start of December and seeing how both girls get on with their sticker advent calendars this year. They may not be filled with chocolate, but I think they’ll be just as much fun. It will be lovely to see the finished Christmas scenes that they’ve created, come Christmas Day!

Do you give your children chocolate advent calendars? What alternatives have you come up with? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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