Oct 312015
 
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I don’t know why this year I find myself obsessed with Advent calendars. I have given this subject a lot more thought than it deserves this year considering that I didn’t even know that such a thing existed when I growing up and it’s just now Halloween/Samhain and I’ve been obsessing for 3 months already.

For my children’s life their grandmother has taken care of it but now that they are older I have wanted to jump on the bandwagon and I don’t mean just open a little door and get a piece of chocolate.

My obsession started when I saw the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar last year but at $40 it felt like too big of an expense at a time of year when the limited funds should be going towards the main event. There is a Lego City Advent Calendar that is a bit cheaper but it’s still $30 and not as cool in the eyes of my Star Wars obsessed children.

Then add in the fact that if I do it for 1 child, it’s only fair that I do it for the other and adding a $20 Hot Wheels Advent calendar that my 3 year old would like would mean spending $50 from my holiday budget between both kids.

Pinterest has lots of ideas for creative and inexpensive Advent gifts but I always struggle with sensory overload whenever I navigate that site. I really liked this book idea.

24-days-of-books-advent-calendar-alternative

Back in August I decided that this is what I was going to do and planned on buying 24 used books for each kid, wrapping them and giving them a book a day. My plan was to visit the library sale section were they usually have books for $0.25- $0.50 over several months until I had enough.

Sadly things didn’t work out that way. With limited transportation and having the kids with me the few times I get out, it’s impossible to buy for a surprise with your kids watching your every move. I haven’t been to the library as much as I wanted so I only have 8 books with 40 to go and their sale section is always so limited that there is no way that I could find the quantity left on time. The combo of busy schedule/ lack of transportation means that thrift store and garage sale hopping aren’t an option either.

There is on-line shopping, there are many used books ranging from $0.01 to $1 but with shipping average of $3.99 PER EACH book, my $25 book budget would be gone long before I got them all, it would be worse buying new at Amazon or Barnes & Noble with my educator discount.

So what to do?

Since I still had my heart set on a Lego Advent Calendar I decided to get creative. I had heard of people buying a Lego set and breaking the build so the kid got only a few bricks at a time to build over 24 days. But then, what set would be appropriate to buy?

lego holiday trainI needed to only look as far as my closet. I recently got this limited edition Lego Christmas Train as a “free with purchase” gift; I really wanted to build it but motherhood has made me selfless so I have decided to separate the pieces per instruction page and have Shammy build it over 24 days, I think that will be fun.

Now for Zen…. I am sure that he’ll want to do something similar to his brother but at an easier level. So I have found easy instructions to build a Christmas tree.  And the good news is that I have enough pieces from our collection to build it for free!
lego advent tree

I think they’ll like it.  Now to figure out a way to package this nicely without breaking the bank….

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