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Non Edible Advent Calendars

– Ideas For Fillers, Part 2

The last week before advent. Time to start digging out advent decorations… and Christmas lights. We live in Sweden – one of the darkest countries on earth! Advent is welcomed as the first desperate attempt to escape the pursuing night. The shortest day hasn’t even happened yet, 27 days to go! But in just a week, instead of just taking it, we kick it back! Out with candle stands and up with glowing stars in every window, out with twinkling lights on balcony rails and up in trees.

There are two extremely important Swedish words:

FIKA (fee:ka) – which I’ve never seen translated this way, but this is the truest essence of it – ’taking a break & doing coffee properly’ or any non-alcoholic drink for that matter, with one to seven little extras to chew on. 🙂

MYS – a savoured word used only to describe the sensation experienced in being in the most cozy, warm, mellow of environments, ’just being’ (usually always accompanied by fika, if not cuddling up with your children!).

…And advent is full of both of them!

On sunday we will be sitting on the sofa around the fika table with ginger biscuits, clementines and glögg (mould wine), and cuddling up with our children as they open the first advent pockets. And what’s going to be in them? Well, here’s the second part of my list (for 12 more ideas check out part 1: Non-Edible Advent Calendar Fillers).


12 Ideas For Non Edible Advent Calendars

– STORY pockets:

1. Each pocket contains a piece of paper with the start of a sentence on it to be completed, so they can compose their own Christmas story (eg. 1.Once upon a time there lived…; 2.You could say…; 3.Others thought…). You’ll need a little note book or stack of paper for them to write their story on, or if they’re younger, for you to write their story on as they dictate it to you – then they can draw the pictures. Also a possible gift for them to give away on the 25th.

2. Print out the text to a Christmas story you love and chop it into sections (as many sections as the number of pockets you want to put it into – place each into an individual pocket and (as above) give your child a little note book or A4 paper to stick the story onto each day and then draw a picture for each section. You could have 23 pockets of ’story’ and let day 24 be the task of making a cover, by Christmas their project is finished and ready to be given to a loved one.


– Pockets with more optimistic PROJECTS:

3. Daily steps to guide the construction of a secret christmas scene eg. nativity or North Pole – starting with finding a cereal box for the background and painting it. Some pockets can contain the materials to make people, animals, or elves, or have ready made ones in them.

4. Instructions to make a snow globe or other christmas craft, divided between a few days – this too could also be a great present for someone else… (see here).

5. Buy a little lego kit and cut up the instructions into a couple of sections- putting them into a couple of pockets and filling them up with the necessary parts.

6. Baking project instructions for an individual day, eg. Advent recipes like ginger biscuits – great to put in a pocket for a weekend when you know you’ll have time to do it!

7. A friendship cake baking project where at the appropriate intervals the pocket contains instructions about what to do next, including giving some away… (see here for instructions). This can work because the things needed to be done are as simple as stirring it, or adding flour and milk!

8. A patchwork sewing project – each pocket containing a square or two and some embellishments… 24 days of sewing squares together, and present ready to give away on Christmas day!


– RANDOM pockets:

9. Little love notes to your child: what you love about them; why you’re proud of them; what you see that they enjoy doing; what you love about – living with them, – seeing them growing up, – their style, – their personality…etc.

10. Home made QR codes (most QR scanner apps allow you to create codes too) with the love notes above; or individual words forming your secret message (see part 1)

11. A-XYZ about Christmas. Buy a canvas and divide it into 24 sections with pencil lines. Put a letter in each pocket and let your child come up with ideas and write/draw/paint them onto the pre-prepared canvas squares – by Christmas they’ll have a masterpiece to give away or hang up.

12. Ingredients for two cups of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows and instructions.


With this kind of calendar, if a little present (or edible) found its way into one of the pockets – that too would be a ’surprise’. Have fun making your calendars!


Image by AndreasF. / photocase.com

non edible advent calendars

One Comment

  1. This is so sweet Steph! Firstly I want to move to Sweden to partake in Fika and Mys. Secondly your advent ideas are so great 🙂 We’re still waiting for our advent Truck to arrive so we’ve been making do with a chocolate one in the meantime…hopefully this weekend we’ll finally get started but might have to start at Day 8 or something!

    thanks so much for linking up to #theList xxx

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