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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Candy Free Christmas Advent Calendar

 

Sweet Dreams: Tips for Applying Wall Decals + Bedroom Makeover (so far)

Urbanwalls Greyscale Floral wall decals bedroom makeover

We’re smack in the middle of a bedroom makeover at our house, and if you follow along on Instagram you’ll have seen some of it unfold. We live in a 70s house, so there are plenty of projects and updates to choose from, but until this Fall we hadn’t given any attention to our room (the kids have the best rooms in the house!). While our room wasn’t terrible, the chocolate brown walls were starting to drive me crazy and I was craving a brighter, lighter, calmer space. So first up was a fresh coat of paint followed by the addition of some wall decals for an accent wall.  View Post

DIY Halloween Ghost Garland

Halloween kid's craft ghost garland DIY

Halloween is right around the corner and if you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids, this easy DIY ghost garland is a perfect activity to get everyone in the spooky spirit. It’s simple to make and you just need a few materials that you probably already have. It’s perfect for little helpers who are getting excited for Halloween and it’s a fun way to kick off decorating for October 31. All you need is some tissue paper, glue, and twine and a little bit of glitter if you like a bit of sparkle. View Post

Simple Fall Decor Ideas {+ Free Printable}

Fall decor and welcome home free printable

Fall is officially here. It’s that time of year in between Summer and all things Halloween… and then Christmas. And before we get out the bats, witches, and jack- o- lanterns, it’s the perfect time to put out some pretty Fall greens and pumpkins. And gourds (can’t forget about those!) ;).  View Post

Dried Orange Scent Sachet

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

It’s beginning to feel like Fall… And in less than two weeks the season will officially be here. Bring on all the cozy: the sweaters, boots, scarves, hats, hot apple cider (call me old fashioned but I like it better than PSLs), Fall decor, candles, baking……. all of it. I’ve started adding some Fall touches around the house and as much as I love LOVE candles, I wanted a flameless option to add a seasonal scent to the house.

This little DIY was inspired by none other than the food dehydrator that has been a staple in my kitchen for the past few weeks as we pick fresh herbs from the garden to dry (we have a round one like this one and love it). I’ve seen lots of cute ideas with dehydrated oranges (warning: this may not be the last one you see here 😉 ), and this DIY is a great way to add to the coziness of your home for the Fall by making it smell amazing. You can choose any scent combinations you like, but I really like the smell of coffee and added citrus essential oil to help keep the house smelling fresh. I opted to make a sachet that I can tuck out of reach from the kids, but pouring everything into a jar or vase would also make for a pretty home made potpourri to display (those dried oranges just make everything look pretty). This is also a great option if you’re trying to avoid artificial air fresheners- simply switch up the scents for the season to keep your home smelling fresh.

Materials

1 large navel orange

Citrus essential oil

Piece of paper towel or tissue paper

1- 2 cups coffee beans

Paper bag

Lightweight fabric bag (or use a piece of fabric tied at the top)

Directions

  1. Begin by cutting the orange into slices not quite 1/4″ thick

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges 

2. Place slices into a food dehydrator (or you can preheat your oven to 250 degrees and dry the slices for 2- 3 hours)

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

3. When the orange slices have dried, allow to cool. Add a few drops to a piece of paper towel or tissue paper.

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

4. Pop all of the items into the paper bag- the dried orange slices, coffee beans, and paper towel/ tissue paper- and wrap it up so nothing can fall out. To be extra secure tape the seams so no coffee beans fall out.

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

5. Pop everything into the fabric bag and tie at the top. Pick where you want to have the scent in your home and place the sachet. You can tuck into a closet or add it to a Fall display/ vignette. 

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges  

Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

As I mentioned, you can also dry the orange slices in the oven at a low temp for a few hours, but I love the option of a dehydrator and the round one we have gets a lot of use. If you’re thinking of buying one, this one is similar to the one we have and works great.

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Fall scent sachet DIY with dried oranges

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