I will be making another homemade Advent calendar again this year, although since we're staying with my parents for the holidays and they don't have a mantel, I'll have to make a more compact version.
This post generated some great feedback last year, and several people sent me messages to let show me their homemade Advent calendars, so I thought it was worth another share this year.
Food Free Advent Calendar
Growing up, I remember having those cute little advent calendars that had a little window that opened for every day of the month, complete with a little chocolate. Unfortunately, most of those calendars don't have gluten free chocolates, so I had to think outside of the box. This is the first year my son has been old enough to really grasp the concept of counting down to Christmas, so I decided to do something different and come up with my own version.
My son is just learning to read, and loves practicing words and trying to read short sentences. I purchased a boxed set of 24 small books (it's like they knew) for $19.99 that are written specifically for beginner readers. Each book has about 7-8 pages, with 2 sight-words per book. Since he goes to a French school, I bought them in French.
I wrapped each book, and put a label on the front with a number. Then I lined them up on the mantel behind the stockings. Starting tomorrow night, he will unwrap one book each evening before bed, and practice reading them out loud.
I like that it encourages his love of reading, helps him practice his French and his reading skills, and takes the focus off food. It encourages time together as well. He's so excited he can barely wait for tomorrow night to arrive!