Yup, it’s that time of year again! The Advent Season is upon us and many of us buy new or haul out old Advent Calendars for the kids to countdown the days to Christmas.

In case you’re not familiar with Advent Calendars let me give you a quick lesson on them. First of all Advent is a season in the Christian liturgical or church year. It is the season observed by many Christians as a time of waiting and anticipation. As it is the season just before Christmas and as its name implies (it is derived from the Latin word that means coming) Advent is the time when Christians await the coming of Jesus.

Advent has between 24-28 days and begins in late November or very early December. Its length and start date depends on where it falls on the church calendar which is slightly different from the Gregorian calendar we use today.

But for the purposes of our modern Advent Calendar it generally starts on December 1 and ends on Christmas Eve. The use of Advent Calendars to countdown the days til Christmas began in Germany sometime in the 18th or 19th century.

Traditional Advent Calendars depicted nativity scenes or featured good old Saint Nicholas. Each calendar has 24 doors that are filled with written parts of the Christmas story, Biblical phrases, and a piece of
Chocolate. A door is opened daily to reveal the treat and countdown the days until Christmas.

These days Advent Calendars come in many shapes and sizes and feature pictures from popular cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man and more. They can be made of cardboard, fabric, wood, or metal. You can pick them up at candy stores, discount stores, supermarkets and more. And they can be filled with chocolates, trinkets, or whatever you can fit behind the little door.

At our house and in my children’s homes we each have a wooden Advent Calendar painted to look like a Neiman Marcus department store. I had picked them up from said store many years ago.

Every year we fill the “doors” with age appropriate treats. This task gets a bit more challenging as the kids get older! Last year when my then 10 year old grandson who lives with us mentioned he needed lip balm I found a box of 12 lip balms in assorted flavors. Wow! I thought this was a great idea! I could place a tube of lip balm behind 12 different doors, this took care of half the calendar. Well, my grandson was not too pleased! Ok, it was a bit over the top, I’m still finds unused tubes of lip balm around the house!

So this year I’ve come up with a great idea for my Advent Calendar. One I’m sure we’ll both enjoy without breaking the bank! Vouchers! Yes vouchers that my grandson can redeem with me or my husband for fun activities we can all enjoy or something he would like us to do for him, like a ride to and from his friend’s house.

So I printed out these vouchers, I’m sharing them here for you to print!

I then hand printed what the voucher was for on the dotted line. I made vouchers for rides to his friend’s house, a day at the beach with Nana, lunch at McDonald’s with Papa, and so on. Basically they’re vouchers that he can redeem for his favorite snacks, activities, etc.

Then I went a bit overboard and made origami boxes and envelopes for each voucher. Totally optional! But it added a cute touch.

Then I placed them all behind the Advent calendar doors!

So print up 24 vouchers and stuff them into your Advent Calendar. Let the countdown begin!