Advent should be a time of building excitement and anticipation, and reminding children what Christmas is all about.
There are so many beautiful advent calendars to buy that will last for years and even be passed down to your grandchildren one day. Our children get so much at Christmas so we asked the grandparents to buy an advent gnome by Maileg one year for the following year when they were very small. There are also lots of felt hangings and wooden box arrangements around to choose from.
In our house the advent gnomes are hidden all year and appear magically on the morning of Dec 1st. A gift then appears each morning of Advent. This requires me remembering or setting a phone alarm each night. If you wrapped the gifts in fabric or socks you could possibly fill all of them in one go. The Advent Gnomes report good and bad behaviour back to Father Christmas!
If you are on a budget, however, you can still get creative at little or no cost. Hang a ribbon or rustic string from a shelf and peg up colourful socks, or decorated envelopes. The children could even decorate and number them themselves for an afternoon’s activity. You can also use circles of fabric or net remnants in festive colours tied with a string and displayed or hung to put gifts in. Pretty festive card pegs can be bought for very little from pound stores.
I buy a lot of my gifts just after Christmas ready for the following year when it is all reduced and I look for small things that will fit in the pockets/pouches/envelopes. Garden centres and card shops sell mini tree decorations, candles etc. Pound stores, supermarkets and stationery shops sell festive stickers, tubes of glitter, party blowers, stampers and cookie cutters. Toyshops and craft shops sell good small pocket money toys and other bits such as card decorations, ribbon, buttons, cake decorations etc. Think about what your child might like to do in the build up to Christmas. Baking, card making, tree decorating, room decorating (window stickers, paper chains), cracker making, and present wrapping are all great activities to get everyone in the festive mood.
You can create this Advent display by collecting twigs and arranging in a vase. Make cornets out of decorated or patterned paper and hang with string or ribbon from branches. You could even use battery-operated fairy lights in the branches.