The season of excess is almost upon us! While I am all about the celebratory treats and enjoying food (of all kinds) with family and friends over the Christmas period, I am still always on the look out for healthier options. Sometimes we need some careful planning to properly execute #balance, especially during the silly season.
Advent calendars seem to be becoming more and more popular here in Australia and are often looked forward to as a special treat. There are however plenty of chocolate-free advent calendars around now too. Not only do they help reduce the sugar load this time of year, they are also allergy friendly.
The best chocolate free advent calendars for kids
These are my top 10 chocolate-free advent calendars for kids. All the fun and excitement of counting down to Christmas, without more sugar treats.
I love this option for a ‘gift free’ option. The calendar opens to reveal a 3D tree based on a Christmas scene from Dream Snow by Eric Carle (author of the beloved classic children’s book). Each window reveals a decoration to remove and hang on the tree. A low key way to count down to Christmas.
A search for “Advent Calendar” on the Book Depository website will reveal more pop-up and sticker book options.
This calendar includes stationary like pencils, notepads, gadget decals, sharpener, sticky notes, stamps, erasers, stickers, pencils, playing cards and a jigsaw.
This set isn’t all mini Toy Story 4 figurines, some days are just stickers.
Older girls will love this ‘grown up’ calendar to build a charm bracelet.
$44.95 currently on sale for $30
Healthy Ideas for DIY advent calendars
Investing in a DIY advent calendar (with drawers or pockets) can save you money in the long run as they’ll last for years. They also add to the Christmas decor in your home and depending on what you put in them, can be a little more thoughtful with less plastic ‘stuff’.
Target Wooden Light Up Advent Calendar
Ideas for kids’ DIY advent calendars
Now that you have bought (or made) a long lasting advent calendar, you’ll need to decide what’s going to go in it. Of course you could add in a chocolate or two; but here’s some more ideas.
- Seeds (flowers, herbs, veggies)
- Temporary tattoos
- Mini bubbles
- Bath bombs
- Hair ties
- Hair clips
- Homemade vouchers for holiday outings (eg: trip to the zoo or a photo of a new skate park to visit).
- Jokes and riddles
- Clues to find larger presents hidden elsewhere (that didn’t fit in the advent calendar)
You don’t even need a bought advent calendar. You can make your own using envelopes, paper clips and twine. Pinterest has a lot of ideas if you’re crafty.
How about ditching the calendar all together and updating the kids’ library. A book a day (wrapped in brown paper) in the lead up to Christmas will encourage summer holiday reading.
Best chocolate-free advent calendar for adults
While there aren’t as many advent calendars around for adults, I have found 2 that seem good quality. I haven’t included the expensive cosmetic or skin care brand options but they are an option to if you’re happy to splurge.
Of course the boozy advent calendars are getting more and more popular and while chocolate free, I thought I’d explore some healthier (and alocohol free) options for the grown ups.
12 Days of Cheesemas from Wooloworths
No doubt this option is option overpriced for the 240g of cheese you get, but it’s just not as fun if you’re not opening a window to discover the next selection!
Ideas for adults’ DIY advent calendar
With the lack of affordable options around for the grown ups, you may need to get creative if you’re looking for more options. Here are my favourite ideas for an adult advent calendar.
- T2 teas
- Specialty coffee varities
- Perfume/aftershave samples
- Skin care minis
- Makeup minis
- Recipes for a festive smoothie or mocktail to try that day
So there you have it, there are plenty of options for fun advent calendars that don’t involve more chocolate!
Sarah Moore is a mum, and university qualified Registered Nutritionist with a decade of experience working with families to improve their health and well-being. Sarah has a simplistic and practical approach to family nutrition and offer private consultations and group information sessions in Perth, Western Australia. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.