September 23, 2022
Rocks or crystals.
My other half likes dragon tooth pebbles, but in fairness his pocket likes any stone that is interesting. I found a crystal shop last year that had heart-shaped stones and crystals and all sorts of other coloured and shaped rocks. Most were reasonably priced and made for a great addition to his advent calendar.
A morning cuppa!
I’m a big fan of breaking open the packs of individually enveloped teas – I especially love the Pukka ones and T2 – to create a nice morning treat in an advent calendar. If you want to add more then I’m also a big fan of individually wrapped biscuits like snack packs of Jammie Dodgers, Lotus biscuits, or Jaffa Cakes. This also works with different flavour coffee pods or hot chocolate sachets or the melty spoon individual portions. Mmm with hot chocolates you could even add a marshmallow!
There are so many around now, from the kind you get in the supermarket to go on holiday, to something more “treaty” such as the small bottles of shower gels from Molton Brown. FYI these tend to come in a box set which is perfect for splitting across your days. Last year I ordered sampler fragrances from Abercrombie and Fitch and they were all fab. Since then I have discovered Le Labo and Vilhelm Parfumerie who both sell unisex samples.
No, not those face masks - the pamper ones! The beauty of a face mask is that they tend to be single use and so they already come individually wrapped and normally in a box of three or more! I love the Spacemask ones that heat up and they are normally about £15 for 5. And the branding is all starry and I’m a sucker for great branding.
USB Mini Disco Light
Instant disco glow up from your laptop, PC or USB wall charge socket. SO. MUCH. FUN
Sock it to them!
Where do socks go to die? I seem to forever have a range of unmatched socks that live by the washing machine, waiting in vain for their lost partner until months later I end up throwing them away or making pet toys from them! Replenishing the sock drawer via the advent calendar is either going to be acceptable or not and I think the choice of socks makes a difference. Last year I found socks that featured famous works of art and they raised smiles-a-plenty, but were not that comfortable to wear if I’m honest. I’m raising the sock game with fun ones with slogans on about gaming and super lux ones of cashmere and bamboo varieties!
Miniature bottles of their favourite tipple
With our paper advent calendar, I pretty quickly realised that a miniature bottle of port would fit in the Father Christmas pocket – which seemed very appropriate as we always leave a glass of port out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Substitute alcohol for weird, wonderful or rarely allowed soft drinks for the teens or alcohol free folks. My small loves the San Pellegrino can drinks but we rarely have them in the house. They would be a welcome addition to his advent calendar. Or this Pokemon novelty drink which thankfully isn't brim full of sugar!
Novelty foodie bits.
Similar to the concept of herbs and spices with the recipe prints outs, but a bit more whacky. There’s always Christmas themed gift food around in November and December but they can be pricey for not a lot, wrapped in excess packaging and ribbon. So, I tend to buy unusual bits that I know are around all the time. I mean, check out the Gin-Chup and Gin-Mayo. Or for something sweet how about these gourmet marshmallow bundles from The Naked Marshmallow Company.
A personalised Christmas tree ornament.
Yes, I’m going to plug our own products here, but a beautiful Christmas decoration is a really wonderful addition to an advent calendar. And if you add a date as well it becomes a special reminder of that year. Our Matisse Inspired Stars are new for 2022 and can be personalised with a name and a year.
So practical and so beautiful. I always think it’s a bit of a waste to wait until Christmas Day to give or receive a new woolly hat, knitted gloves or mittens. I mean it’s cold from October onwards. That’s two or three months of hat wearing opportunity right there! This is a bit bigger than your average advent gift, but so worth it. My fave bobble hat ever is from Eka Wear.
A paperback book or a magazine
Remember when things we read were made of paper? Yes, me too. Le sigh. Little plug now for bookshop.org. It’s the best of online shopping for books because you can nominate a local bookshop that you wish to support, they get all of the profit from the sale, and you still have the convenience of online.
Yes, your person probably already has keyrings, but we have so many goddam keys these days! Bikes, sheds, lockers, so so many keys! I found one last year that matched the tattoo design my person has so it worked a treat. Or take it up a notch with these tweed ones, paired with a wooden tag that has your own handwriting on it. Or tug at the heart strings with your small ones handprint engraved on the keyring. It’s ALLLL good.
Tea light candles
Scented ones work a treat and normally come in packs so you can spread out across a few days. I love these ones by Homecrafted Candle Co.
Who doesn’t love a nice pen or some funky post-it notes? Or pencils that say funny things - like these ones from Newton and the Apple.
On the same stationery theme - how about a gorgeous notebook, like these personalised notebooks from, oh look, us! (Wink)
Packets of seeds
It’s really lovely to grow a plant from seed. You could go seasonal and try to grow your own Christmas tree, or opt for something a little more culinary with a fast-growing herb like basil. This grow your own herb garden gift set has a few different herbs,
Okay, you have to admit that it’s pretty impressive that I got all the way to 16 suggestions before I landed on chocolate. You know the kind of chocolate your person will love and what kind of chocolate you want to indulge in before breakfast, so suggestions from me are kind of redundant. A personal fave in this house though are the mini penguins or reindeer that Hotel Chocolat make. I just wrap each one in a bit of greaseproof paper before popping in the advent calendar. Or for a touch of nostalgic luxury, these gold foiled chocolate coins from Fortnum and Mason which can be spread out across the days.
Gingerbread, or other biscuity goodness
Did you see our stop motion on Instagram where we filled our advent calendar with gingerbread shapes? Everything about that was fun - from making the gingerbread, playing with the animation, and eating the gingerbread! Okay, mostly eating it was the fun part. If you love to bake then Christmas gingerbread is really cool. You can get the kids involved as the dough is pretty forgiving and one batch tends to make dozens of biscuits. They will not stay fresh for 24 days so it probably can’t be the only thing in your advent calendar. Extend the life of each biscuit by wrapping in foil or grease proof paper and load the biscuits in the first few days. They can be frozen - so you could always refresh the advent calendar a few days at a time, but my December is too busy for that level of organisation! If you’re not into baking then there are lots of places to get amazing iced biscuits or you could search out individually wrapped artisan bakes. Waitrose make these individually wrapped Gingerbread men. Or you could buy an amazing set of iced cookies from The Biscuiteers. These dog ones are amazing and if you sign up to their newsletter you’ll get a handy 10% off code on your first order.
Amazing artisan popcorn makers at Popcorn shed - have this taster set of small bags of amazing flavours. Utterly delicious.
Tickets to something
Something happens to time during the Christmas season. Ordinary time is out the window and there are days that seem to last 32 hours! But we do normally get a window of opportunity to slow down and appreciate time with our loved ones. And just sometimes, a little bit of structure is a good thing, like taking time to go to the pantomime together, or the cinema, or a show at an art gallery, or one of the many illuminated forest trails that pop up in arboretums. And if it’s something you’d be doing regardless, then add it to the advent calendar! Even if it’s not a “paid for” event, why not create your own tickets for it anyway? Your time together is beyond value!
Enamel pin badge
Every human I know has an enamel pin badge. Maybe it’s just my echo chamber, but these small little accessories have exploded over the past few years and it seems there’s one for everybody, every topic, every occasion, and every colour scheme. For something seasonal and full of Christmas, how about this “ I believe” pin from Clary and Macy.
Tiny Christmas Lights
Last year I found a simple string of lights that you can plug into a USB - a really easy way to add some Christmas cheer to your workspace, or working from home space!
Micro magnetic beads
A very cool desk toy but definitely not to be left around young children or inquisitive pets. These tiny magnetic balls can be shaped and piled and constructed and are really pleasing to play and fiddle with.
For the crafty ones this is a great project. There are so many different types out there and once you start looking you’ll see you can purchase completed ones, DIY kits that include the paper, or just downloadable instructions like this one on Etsy.
A new nail varnish, or a curvy emery board, or funky nail care product of your choosing. We literally all have nails - we should all be looking after them in one way or another. And no, biting them off does not count. Also nailed it - 24 suggestions for an advent calendar for the grownups (or nearly grown up teens)
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December 29, 2022
December 29, 2022
The traditional wall planner needed some Betsy magic that's for sure. Here's how our wall planner life used to play out, tell me if this resonates. You buy what you think is a BIG wall planner. It's been beautifully designed too, so it looks great on the wall. Then you write ONE THING on a day and, *poof*, no more space for anything else on that day.
Does that sound familiar?
November 10, 2022