When my children were little we used to do the Advent calendars with them that had tiny pieces of chocolate hidden behind little doors that were numbered with the days leading up to Christmas so you could open one door each night. We found them one day while at a German deli and thought they were just the cutest things! Each piece of candy was embossed with a Christmas theme item. The kids would try to guess whether there would be an angel, a stocking, or a tree on their piece of chocolate before opening the little door for that night. The entire calendar for 24 days had less chocolate as an entire candy bar so I never felt like the bad mom letting them have candy at bedtime.
Then about eight years ago I was shopping at an after Christmas sale and found these cute little Advent calendars that you could add your own gifts to year after year. I thought this will be great I can get away from all candy and it will be fun!
Well, I created a monster.
Think about it. I have to buy 48 little gifts each year (24 gifts each for 2 children) just for the Advent calendar. When they were little two Hershey kisses or a pencil was great gift. Now that they are older it takes a bit more. A Lego mini-figure one day, a bottle of nail polish, a few Hershey kisses for memories, and hair ribbons are among the items now. I have to shop clearance sales year round to find little items that are inexpensive so I am not spending $100 on Advent gifts.
But, it is not only the gifts. I made this into a game with riddles. Each night I hide the Advent item in the house and give each child a riddle, written on a small slip of paper behind each door, to solve to find their treat for the evening. I know the kids will remember this forever. They laugh and run around the house trying figure out where I am hinting their gifts are hidden. One such riddle was “They could have called this Clear Pond but they didn’t.” The item was in the bin of their Blue Lake clothes for summer camp. It took them quite awhile to find that one but it was fun watching them try to figure out if the clue had to do with water? Is it in the bathrooms? The kitchen?
This is one tradition we will keep and I hope when the kids get older and have families of their own they take their Advent boxes and do this with their families and realize just how much work it is and how much I really must have loved them. 😉