Candy- Free Christmas Advent Calendar

    

Advent calendars are a fun holiday tradition, and even though we usually think of them as being filled with chocolate and sweet treats, I wanted to create one that combined the fun of receiving gifts with the joy of giving them. 

Instead of chocolates and other sugary treats (because we all know there’s going to be enough of those in the coming weeks!) I wanted to do something that the whole family would enjoy, including little gifts, and activities that we could enjoy doing together leading up to Christmas. I didn’t want it to become too expensive or over- the- top, but something I’d have fun putting together and we’d all look forward to each morning. 

While there are a few gifts mixed in, the main idea behind this advent calendar is to bring the family together, get into the holiday spirit, and teach our kids about kindness and giving- not just at this time of year, but all year. If you’re looking for fun ideas for the family going into the holiday season, I hope this candy- free advent calendar gives you some ideas!

For mine I’m using a wooden box I picked up at a thrift store, and used a picture frame for the numbers; nothing too complicated but something that the kids can open- like a traditional candy advent calendar- and that will be big enough to fit small items in. The fun thing about advent calendars is that there are so many styles and ways to put them together, the hardest part is deciding what to put in them.

For ours I’ve rounded up a few little gifts to open throughout the month, items/ materials for activities (ie sprinkles for cookie decorating), and good deeds to do leading up to Christmas, along with 12 random acts of kindness to perform each month throughout the year ahead. For some days there will a note or envelope with an activity or good deed written on it, for others there will be little gifts the kids can open. While I love the advent calendars with candy, I liked the idea of trying out this style and may include some sweet treats in future years (plus we all know there will be plenty of candy and chocolate over the holiday season!). This is my first year doing this (Will did something similar last year and I give him credit for giving me this idea) and I hope it becomes a tradition we continue.

If you like this idea and want to try it with your own family, here are some ideas to get you started with your own advent calendar:

Activities

  • decorating cookies (Dainty Sprinkle Co has some cute ones for the holidays!)
  • making salt dough ornaments
  • kid- friendly crafts (we’re going to be trying out this Fantastic Spinner from Kaboodles)
  • holiday baking day
  • festive family events (check out this giveaway to enter to win tickets to Bright Nights in Stanley Park!)

Little Gifts

  • small gifts for each member of the family
  • books 
  • puzzles
  • games
  • Christmas pjs
  • socks
  • hot chocolate station items
  • snowman kit (carrot, scarf, hat, etc)

Good Deeds

  • picking out a toy and donating to a local charity/ toy drive* 
  • putting together a care package for a family in need
  • shoveling snow from a neighbor’s driveway
  • baking banana bread for a local homeless shelter
  • making dog biscuits/ donating food to a local animal shelter
  • walking a neighbor’s dog
  • 12 random acts of kindness- 1 to perform each month of the year

*Purchase a gift for the Kaboodles Annual Toy Drive and receive 10% off the price + they’ll deliver it for you. All toys donated to the Kaboodles Toy Drive go to the Vancouver Christmas Bureau.

Advent calendar gift ideas- decorating cookies Advent Calendar gift ideasAdvent Calendar gift ideas- art day

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Kaboodles Toy Store | Facebook | Instagram

Dainty Sprinkle Co | Facebook | Instagram

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Candy Free Christmas Advent Calendar

 

Bright Nights In Stanley Park {Giveaway}

Bright Nights In Stanley Park

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? When I was a kid, my Mum and Dad would take us to Bright Nights in Stanley Park and we have some special memories of those visits. I remember always looking forward to the train, the lights, and the food- the smell of popcorn, roasted chestnuts… it marked the beginning of the Christmas season for us. This year Bright Nights is celebrating 20 years and I’m excited to be teaming up with them to give away a family pack of four tickets to celebrate.

This year’s theme is Nostalgic Christmas, bringing together Bright Nights memories, family traditions, classic holiday movies, vintage toys, and more. What better way to celebrate a milestone than looking back at everything that has made this annual event so special? Whether this is a favourite tradition in your family or you’ll be going this year for the first time, one lucky family will win their tickets! See below for more information about Bright Nights and how to enter.

Bright Nights Info

Take a ride on the Bright Nights Train and enjoy light installations, festive displays, and live performers along the train route, or take in the beautifully decorated Stanley Park Train Plaza (or both!). With more than 3 million lights, the display and train ride are a fun Christmas tradition for all ages. A portion of train ride ticket sales in addition to donations made by light display visitors are contributed to the BC Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fun, with more than $1.4 million being raised to help burn survivors and their families since 1998.

Visit the City of Vancouver’s website for more information.

Dates: November 30- January 6, 2018

Location: Stanley Park Train (click here for location map)

Train tickets: $8- 12 (there’s also an Old Spaghetti Factory add-on option)

Matinee rides only available Friday- Sunday 10:00am- 2:30pm; no live performances during matinee rides

Train Plaza light displays: by donation to the BC Professional Firefighter’s Burn Fund

For ticket information, click here.

ENTER BELOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FAMILY 4 PACK OF TICKETS

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2017 Christmas Gift Guide

Captured In Squares Christmas Gift Guide

It’s here! The 2017 Christmas Gift Guide curated by Captured In Squares is finished and we’re so excited to share it with you! 

We have pulled together a selection of items to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, from the little ones to the grown-ups- and maybe even something for yourself! 😉

 

Get inspired for the gifting season ahead and check out ideas from these shops:

Canvas Candle Company | West Coast Leslie Designs | One Thing

Free Reign | SweetLegs Delta with Pippin | White Fox Collective

Kait Creative | CPC Woodcraft | Hugs, Mugs and More

Pacific Coast DIY | Aloha Kai | West Coast Box Company

Little Olive Designs | So Luxury | Marsh&Mallow

Amo Tierre Botanicals | The Sweet Life Apparel | Cedar & Stain

True North Trading Post | JQ Vancouver | Tumble & Roar

Ever Red Fresh Designs | Shop Ava to Zoe

 

A special thank you to these sponsors:

The Handpicked Home | Rainy Day Cookies 

Captured In Squares 2017 Christmas Gift Guide  

READY TO SHOP?

View it here!

Cozy Essentials

cozy essentials cozy essentials

Give me all the COZY VIBES! If you love curling up and getting cozy, this post is for you (also: some of these items are on sale! 😉 ). I’ve rounded up a few ideas to help you get your cozy on, including some storage ideas for corraling your favourite blankets and pillows, plus a few other details to set the cozy mood day + night. Just add a good book or your binge line up on Netflix and you’re set!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4| 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 1011 | 12 | 13 | 14 | | 15 | 1617 | 18 | 19 | 20

 

Cozy Bonus: Get 60% select pillows and throws and 50% off candles at Chapters Indigo

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

Yoga on Bowen: Returning to Nectar Yoga B&B (+ Why You Should Go)

Girls yoga getaway at Nectar Yoga B&B on Bowen Island

What a difference a year makes. 

It’s been a year since I started running. A year of reflection. Of change. 

So much has happened since the last time I visited Bowen Island and Nectar Yoga B&B that it was like an out of body experience returning last month. Remembering how I felt when we were there last year and being present during our recent visit made it feel like time was running parallel. Retracing the same steps I’d taken before, walking into the beautiful cabin and yoga dome, reliving the emotions from a year ago while appreciating the way I now felt… View Post