DIY advent calendars are an eco friendly option, but what should you fill them with? Absolutely Mama’s Carly Glendinning rounds up her favourite ideas…
The Christmas countdown has well and truly begun and first up on the to-do list is Advent calendars. More eco-friendly than pre-made advent calendars, a reusable advent calendar is something you can get out year after year. A DIY advent calendar is also a nice way of creating a special family tradition, it’s much more personal, and is also great if your little one is too young for chocolate. But what can you put in it?! If sourcing 24 individual gifts sounds like a logistical nightmare at the busiest time of year, don’t worry we’ve got you! Here are our top advent calendar filler ideas for kids…
Farm animal figures or plastic dinosaurs
If you’re doing your own advent calendar, farm animals are an easy win. Especially if you buy a set and split them up! Plastic figures from brands like Schleich are always popular but wooden ones from brands including Holztiger are very collectible too. Some of the Holztiger ones can be quite big, so either choose the smaller ones, or make sure your calendar has roomy pockets!
Christmas accessories are a no brainer for Advent calendars. We love these cute reindeer and Christmas tree clips, from Rockahula Kids. Just make sure you put them in the pockets for the start of December if you want your little one to wear them in the run up to the big day!
Matchbox cars and toy vehicles
Cars make the perfect tiny toys for your Advent countdown. All the better if you buy a set and spilt them up. We love these wooden ones from Little Dutch – especially if you’re putting the railway set under the tree.
Tonies figures for their Toniebox
If your little one has a Toniebox (or they are getting one for Christmas), the Tonies figures are a great advent calendar filler idea. The hand-painted ‘Tonie’ figures are highly collectable and there’s hundreds of characters to choose from – from Miffy to Peppa Pig. Expanding their Tonies collection is also a good way of reducing screen time over the festive period. The top Tonies for Christmas include Elf on the Shelf, Christmas Songs and Carols, and The Little Reindeer’s Christmas Wish.
Hair accessories and play jewellery
Hair accessories and play jewellery make the perfect small gifts to fit inside reusable advent calendars. Giving us retro vibes, we love the collection from Stych. Split up the sets of kitschy rings and hair clips to create gifts for multiple days.
Dress up items
Small dress up items work perfectly as Advent calendar fillers. If the pockets are deep enough, a magic wand would look really pretty. We love the range from Super Smalls – how cute are these quirky bejewelled goggles and this play mermaid necklace and bracelet set?
Crayons, craft supplies and cookie cutters
Crafty kids will be super happy to find crayons, felt tips, rubber stamps, and other art supplies in their advent calendar. If you’re really organised, you could fill paper bags with mini winter themed activities to create each day throughout December leading up to Christmas Day. Cute ideas include making Christmas cards, decorating Christmas cookies, or what about creating gingerbread house, day by day!
Maileg mice and doll accessories
We love the beautiful collection of Maileg mice in matchboxes and if your little one is collecting them (and the accessories), they would make an adorable addition to your advent calendar. They can be quite expensive, however, so we’re saving an Angel Mouse as a fun surprise for door twenty four on Christmas Eve.
Temporary tattoos and stickers
Show us a kid who isn’t happy with a roll of stickers or some temporary tattoos. If you’re really struggling for time (or funds!), just cut up a page of stickers and put one in each pocket, along with some sweet treats. Job done!
Small world play
Small world play items are perfect for Advent calendars, and ideal if your little one is already collecting a particular toy range. We love these cute ‘tinyly’ dolls from Djeco. The brainchild of Virginie Brachet, they would look super cute in a doll house.
Christmas tree decorations and crackers
Christmas tree decorations make perfect advent calendar fillers and choosing a special one for each year is a fun tradition. Little ones will enjoy hanging them on the tree and they are something that can be treasured and passed on for many Christmases to come. Small Christmas crackers and table decorations are also a fun addition to an Advent calendar (they also look beautiful and don’t need to be wrapped!).
Baby rattles and toys
If it’s your little one’s first Christmas, then small rattles and baby toys make the perfect advent calendar fillers. We love this super cute rabbit rattle from Liewood at Bubba & Me.
Check out more Christmas ideas here.