You may have seen our BG Advent Calendar launching on Facebook & Twitter, it really helps to count the days until Christmas down and get us all in the festive mood.
It seems to me that Advent Calendars are getting more and more extravagant as the years pass. I remember when my own children were young it was just the opening of a little door each day and there was a symbol behind each of something to do with Christmas like a stocking, a santa or a reindeer. This evolved into a chocolate piece behind each little door.
Then came the Christmas Wooden plaques with little doors for you to put little presents of your own behind. I particularly liked these but they are quite expensive and the task of finding something different for each day wasn't something I felt I had time for. Now I have found that the Mumsnet website has been dedicating some space to finding little items to fill the boxes which makes it easier. Most people prefer edible items that don't clutter up the house such as chocolate coins or balls, but some have suggested activities to be written down inside, such as baking cookies or days out.
Some Advent Calendars themselves are also getting rather elaborate & expensive with lots of character ones which open out into scenes from movies and which are interactive. These, of course, would be able to be used afterwards which would make them more cost effective. A Mickey Mouse one caught my eye the other day and on investigating I discovered that although nearly £15 you still had to fill up the little doors yourself, for that money I expected that the chocolate should have been included! Sorry Rowan (my Mickey obsessed grandson)! That reminds me, now that he can recite his alphabet, I must get him onto the twelve days of Christmas, now how does that go?
We noticed some other fun ways to build up to Christmas now too, including 'Elf on the Shelf' and 'Santa Cam'. These involve a sort of spying as the Elf is sent to check you are being naughty or nice throughout December, and Santa Cam can obviously spy on you to make sure you are behaving! Sometimes the Elf will leave little gifts as a reward for good behaviour.
Andrea came across the idea of a Christmas Eve Gift Box which I think she will definitely be creating for Rowan. This is the first year he knows who Santa is. Some parents suggest putting in Christmas themed items such as pyjama's, a DVD, book, hot chocolate, sweeties, food for the reindeer etc. Or Lynne started the 'Pyjama' Elves tradition with her 2 girls. The idea is that on Christmas Eve you find that you have been left magical pyjama's to help you stay fast asleep while Santa visits, the thread has been weaved by Christmas Elves.
It really is such a special, magical time isn't it? Do you have any fun traditions in your family for the countdown to Christmas?