adult

Advent calendars are more than chocolates & Lego!

Are advent calendars just for the kids in your house or are you expanding into adult advent calendars, too?

24 gifts in a grid, each numbered to form an advent calendar

Of course, Lego Harry Potter, Star Wars and City advent calendars and some of the other ones marketed at kids are perfectly fine for teens and adults, but not all adults will appreciate them!

Like for kids, you can obviously make your own advent calendar to suit any age or personality, but here are some ideas if you are thinking of purchasing advent calendars for your teens or adults.

Lego ornaments on a flat Christmas tree!

Lego ornaments form an advent calendar hanging on a tinsel tree adding Christmas cheer to the kitchen!

Pretty ideas…

  1. building a set of ornaments is a lovely Christmas advent calendar, I think. We reviewed a paper based one last year, and there are 2019 paper versions as well, or you can try the Unique Style calendar with wooden ornaments.
  2. enjoy some culture with an art calendar – this Normal Rockwell Pop-up advent calendar shows a different artwork each day while the National Gallery advent calendar shows something from their art collection each day.
  3. mix art and beauty! The Morris & Co Blue Forrest Peacock Print advent calendar includes beautiful Morris & Co prints and some lovely scented hand creams, bath salts and the like – a treat for eyes, noses and skin!
  4. why not try a  reusable advent calendar that is a decorative feature in itself – like a Christmas housetrain or tree. Or go all out for a Kurt Adler musical Santa’s workshop calendar – this is beautiful!
  5. music lovers may enjoy a musical advent calendar
  6. an advent calendar created with crystals adds some sparkle to the December days and builds a lovely piece of jewellery as well. Or build a Pandora braclet or a charm bracelet
  7. If you like ‘nice’ stickers, you may like to consider the Edwardian Lady or Ivory cats advent calendars
  8. make your home smell lovely with a Heart & Home fragrance calendar to find a different scented tealight candle each day.

Practical ideas…

Cath Kidston Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar Gift with Bath and Body Items, 1.11 kg

  1. beauty products – I came across this great blog reviewing the best beauty advent calendars in Australia if you’re wondering which one to get, or you can try the Cath Kidston bath and body advent calendar (pictured)
  2. tools – for someone liking DIY but without a lot of tools, this could be a useful calendar
  3. car goods – these include things like car wash, a chamois, wax, windscreen cleaner and air fresheners
  4. or car lovers may love a Porsche Advent calendar where they get to make a Porsche car and diorama over December!
  5. hardware bits – as distinct from tools (which let’s face it are not particularly cheap and many people this appeals to would already have most of what they need), this can be a calendar containing sets of screws, nails, bolts, washers, etc

Yummy ideas… wooden box with numbered chocolates

  1. chocolates – rather than the cheap supermarket ones, look for some quality chocolate versions, yum!
  2. alcohol – there are a range of these, from different types of beer each day, to different gins or wines, or a sample set of many spirits
  3. there is even a vegan friendly advent calendar which includes protein balls and other vegan products
  4. other foods – I’ve seen popcorn, cheese, nuts and ‘bar snacks’ suggested as fillings for advent calendars to go alongside movie or social occasions!
  5. enjoy a cup of tea? Why not try a tea advent calendar then!

 

And if you’re making your own, don’t forget that adults need to hear positive messages, too.

So what type of advent calendar would you like to experience this December? Are you going to get one for yourself, or just dream fondly of it?

* As always, some links in this post are affiliate links which means we may get a small payment for promoting it without you paying anything extra!

Deck the halls – Christmas book review

Deck the halls

by Mary Higgins and Carol Higgins Clark

cover image of "Deck the Halls' by Higgins & Clark

An adult Christmas mystery book

published by Pocket Books (division of Simon & Schuster), New York, 2000

Age group: mid-teen to adult

Most Christmas books, and certainly the majority of the books we review at Love Santa, are aimed at children but I came across this one and thought it would be fun to review it.

Described as mother “Queen of suspense” and daughter “bestselling author” working together for the first time to “create an exciting and entertaining suspense novel”, I expected to enjoy the story.

The story

In the days before Christmas, private investigator Regan rushes across country to be with her injured mystery-writer mother, just in time for her father and a young mother to be kidnapped. Regan and new acquaintance amateur-detective Alvirah helped the police look the kidnappers and rescue the victims.

Regan and Alviarah are characters in their own series of books, one written by Mary and one by Carol.

My review

Let me start by stating I love reading crime stories and some of my favourite authors are Jo Nesbo, Kathy Reichs, Jonathon Kellerman, Ian Rankin, J D Robb and Kerry Greenwood, so I anticipated a good read blending crime and Christmas!

There are light crime stories and others are more complex and deeper, and Deck the Halls certainly falls into the lighter category.

I found the writing to be very basic and superficial, with obvious points explained as if the reader is not very bright. It did improve as the book progressed so either I got used to it or the writers collaborated better as they went along.

It is suitable for teens as there is no real violence or frightening elements, nor other adult content. And the simplicity of the story would work better for younger teens, perhaps than adults like me.

The Christmas element of the book was low – just the proximity to Christmas Day and one character working as Santa in a department store.

Apparently there are some other Christmas books written by this duo but I won’t be rushing out to find any of them.

So I did finish the book and didn’t hate it, but I can’t truly recommend it for serious crime readers or those who appreciate good writing.

Poinsettia Christmas wreath

When I got the BHG Christmas magazine, one of the things I decided to try was the wreath made out of Poinsettias – the aim being to make it with my five year old as a fun Christmas activity.

So, I have made it and the five and seven year olds both helped a little, and I think it looks ok. Once I got it figured out, it wasn’t too hard to make but it did take some thinking as the instructions were lacking in some areas.

Making the wreath

Ok, to make this wreath, you need a few things. In the magazine, the instructions are actually divided into two as you can just make the poinsettia flowers to hang or you can use those flowers to make the wreath.

Putting the two lists together, you will need:Requireemtns to make a poinsettia Christmas wreath

  • red felt (about 12 cm by 90 cm in total – it can be in different dimensions)
  • a 23cm flat bottomed polystyrene wreath (it took me time to find a large one and mine is actually 29cm thus the extra felt and bells I used)
  • Christmas ribbon
  • string (I used Christmas coloured rope instead)
  • 21 small bells (I used 27)
  • a hot glue gun and glue

Making the flowers

This is the trickiest part of making the wreath and certainly is not child friendly because of the hot glue.

First step is to cut out eight tear-shaped petals and one circle for each of the seven (or nine in my case!) flowers. The pattern in the magazine needed to be made larger so I free handed it.

My hint is to cut out a few of the paper templates so you don’t have to pin the templates quite so often! I certainly folded the material in half so I could cut two at once – there are at least 56 petals to cut out!

The magazine told me to glue each petal like a cone. With some experimenting, I can tell you that you need to keep the pointed end of the petal outwards and fold the curved end over.

fingers folding red felt to make a petal

Then add some glue and fold over the other curved side.

fingers holding red felt petal

It is fiddly and I had my fingers in hot glue a number of times so please don’t give this to young children to do!

The next part if much easier – glue eight curled petals onto a circle of felt. You can lay them out perfectly around the circle by doing them in pairs on either side of the circle, but I found it much easier to add them side by side when the kids helped me as they had trouble getting the points centred otherwise.

Little hands gluing petals onto a felt circle

Add three dobs of hot glue in the entre of the flowers and stick a bell on each one. This my five and seven year olds did manage and enjoying.

small hand adding bells to a felt flower

By now, you can clearly see the flowers and my daughter called them amazing! The big advantage of the hot glue gun is how quickly the glue is set – no wasted time waiting for things to dry.

Putting the wreath together

The next part is easy – lay all the flowers on your wreath, adjusting the spacing until they all fit nicely and cover most of the wreath.

Foam wreath partially covered by red felt flowers

One by one, hot glue a flower onto the wreath until all are in place. Then, glue a bow of the ribbon into the gap between the last two flowers. You can tie a bow then just glue it on (or glue on the ribbon then tie a bow), but I glued it into place and to form a bow so I know it won’t come undone.

Ribbon glued onto wreath to form a bow

Turn the wreath over and hot glue a length of string onto the wreath to form a hanging loop.

View of the back of the wreath where handing loop is attached

Attaching the loop is simple

All that’s left to do now is hang it! Or wrap it to give as a gift I suppose.

Felt poinsettia wreath handing on a blue wall

The finished product is quite good I think

 

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