Counting down the days to Christmas is so much fun, especially when you know you have a little gift waiting for you every morning!
While store-bought Advent calendars are nice, why not make your own this year using a handful of colourful Christmas socks, some wooden pegs and a piece of ribbon? Choosing 24 tiny gifts for the one you love is heaps of fun and you can even pop your own little heartfelt message in each sock to make it extra special.
Lay the socks out in the order you would like to use them with about a centimetre of space between each sock.
Glue a small felt circle in a complementary colour to the top of each sock. This is where the numbers for your Advent calendar will go.
Stick the numbers on top of each felt circle.
Fill each sock with a gift and a message, then pin it to the ribbon using a wooden clothes peg.
Finally, choose a spot to hang your calendar and use the push pins to secure each end. If your gifts are heavy, it may be a good idea to pop a pin in the centre as well to help hold it in place.
Open a gift each day from 1 December to the 24th and when you're done with the sock simply pin it back in its place ready for next year.
Who says Advent calendars are just for chocolate? If you're not a fan of candy calendars, here are some ideas that you can use to fill your own stockings instead.
Buying gifts for the man in your life can be tough at times. But with an Advent calendar it's easy. If he's a techy sort of guy, buy a few apps and gadgets for his smartphone and pop one (or a little note telling him what you've purchased) in each stocking and let him get a new surprise each day.
Or if he's into sports why not choose tickets to his favourite game, a new ball, a sports shop voucher or a few new pieces of training gear?
Does your bestie need a bit of love this Christmas? Make her a gorgeous garland of gifts by bundling up sample sizes of her favourite fragrances, lip gloss, mascara and nail polish.
Or if you have a domestic goddess on your hands, choose cookie cutters, small wooden spoons, cake decorating supplies and small cookbooks to fill a sweet-themed stocking.
For the little guy
Small toy dinosaurs and toy cars make excellent Advent calendar gifts for the little man in your life. You can even use each day to give clues to a big Christmas day present. A small car a day goes well with a large race track that can be unwrapped on Christmas morning, or why not break up a train set and let him put it together piece by piece each day?
For the little lady
Let your little lady build up her very own collection of dolls clothes, ponies, hair clips or makeup by filling each stocking with a themed gift. Another great idea for little girls is to write a list of 24 things you love about them, or 24 (age-appropriate) life lessons that they can cherish forever.
Teenagers are notoriously hard to buy for but there's no denying the fact they will love getting an Advent calendar gift every day just as much as their younger siblings. For teens, consider including gift vouchers in small sums, movie tickets, a copy of their favourite magazine and cash in their stockings to give their day a kickstart. Try to pick and pay for activities they can do with their friends in advance as it will have the added bonus of keeping them out of your hair during the summer holidays!
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