26 November 2015

A Countdown Less Ordinary

Credit to Not On The Highstreet for the title, which might give a little clue as to where this post is headed...! We've all done the Cadbury's countdown, we've all coveted the beauty boxes, but what about something a little less conventional?

I've seen a lot of blogmas posts sharing the "alternative" advent, mostly from a beauty/fashion angle. Don't get me wrong, I love a good lipstick or six as much as the next person! However, I'm not going to go down that route because:
  1. I'm no lifestyle magazine - nearly all of them have run a feature on this! Zoella also did a post.
  2. Beauty calendars can be very expensive.
  3. They could put you off buying makeup for the next century.
So what makes a calendar less ordinary? Well, in a nutshell: quirkiness, quotes and festive cheer  - all tied up with tinsel and tea... Finally, as Briony the Elf would say: there's always time for a bow! 

You can never have enough sacks 
1. Scandic-Style mini bags, Peppermint Fizz, £27    2. Advent Pegs, East of India, £17  
3. Little House Advent, The White Company, £20    4. Advent Calendar Bags, The White Company, £7.50
1. Advent Muslin Bags, Gold Tinsel Shop, £30  
2. Treasure Hunt Advent,  Fitzjohn & Stone, £24    3. Vintage Advent Pockets, Fitzjohn & Stone, £45
 Paraphrasing a little quote from Dumbledore, because what's Christmas without Hogwarts? I love the idea of "fill-your-own" advents. We have done this with crackers for a few years now, and I can assure you it's a lot better than plastic lips. It also provides a new opportunity to celebrate with others. For crackers we do it like Secret Santa, which can easily work for this! You could do it with a friend/sibling, setting a budget or even making your own gifts. I love the idea of printing out quotes for each day, maybe even homemade biscuits - although I'm sure Lindor would go down a treat. The treasure hunt idea (2) also has so much potential - from parent-child to couples, create an Advent-ure!   

I wish you a merry woofmas and a happy book year
1. Dog Calendar, Lily's Kitchen, £10    2. Dog Advent WreathHouse of Bath, £23.50  
3. Bookshelf Advent, The Bodleian Library, £5    4. Tolkien Advent, The Bodleian Library, £5
As the third child/sister of the Harrison clan, it will come as no surprise that Millie has her own advent. That reminds me, I need to triple check with dad that it has been purchased... if not, I may just have to buy and post this House of Bath wreath for her! The tail wag would be unparalleled.

I was really disappointed at the lack of Literary calendars out there - so much so that I'm quite persuaded to set up an Etsy shop next year! How amazing would a postcard set of 24 poems be? You could hang up one everyday until you have a whole wall of literary bunting... Wow. The Bodleian Library saves the day with its bargain book offerings. Mum got me the bookshelf calendar last December but, this year, I have fallen in love with the Tolkien equivalent: "Uncover 24 delightful drawings by JRR Tolkien, selected from a series of letters sent to his children." Just like a hobbit, don't underestimate this calendar based on its size! 

    Twas the month before Christmas and we found a house
1. Wooden Christmas Tree Calendar, Fortnum and Mason, £85    2. Reindeer Head Advent, Tesco, £35  
 3. Calendar BlockDibor,
 £12 4. Reindeer Countdown, Pink and Turquoise, £11  
5. Nordic House Advent, Harrods, £60 
Before you gasp at the price tag, here me out! I absolutely adore the idea of a permanent calendar. When I was little, we had a 4D miniature christmas tree calendar that you decorated each day of advent. I did try to find it online but I think it's a bit of a 90s relic! When I have kids I will definitely be investing in one of these. I do quite love the Tesco reindeer head; it's so quirky but that only adds to the appeal! Remember, it's all about the christmas less ordinary... 

Advent by any other name would smell as sweet
1. Reindeer Advent Carousel, Yankee Candle, £32    2. Advent Candle, Vinegar Hill, £6  
3. 12 Days of Christmas, Lush, £50 
I couldn't resist a bit of beauty, although in this case it's about smelling like a christmas rose. I've seen the Yankee advent around on the blogosphere and I can see why; the packaging it divine! Its a decoration in itself, although what's inside sounds equally wonderful. I think the advent candle is a brilliant - albeit risky - idea; surely you'll have to watch it like a hawk?! The Lush Advent is shaped like a book, need I say more? 

A partridge in a pear tea
1. Advent TeaVictoria Mae Designs, £19.50    2. Wooden Tea Advent, Fortnum & Mason, £125  
3. Festive Countdown, ArtfulTea, £15    4. A taste of ChristmasPostTea, £27.50  
5. Christmas Tea Advent, Harrods, £12.95
Oh christmas tea, oh christmas tea. I saved the best 'till last, and I still have a whole post on "12 Day of Teamas" scheduled for next month... The idea of advent tea is pretty genius, not least because the actual tea bags are perfect alternatives to bunting! The Fortnum tea house might have jumped to the top of my lust list. The packaging is perfect, their tea election is the whole package. Simply put, I'm rocking around the christmas tea and I show no sign of stopping. 

* * *

As I wrote this post, I realised there are probably many DIY options to explore too! So I went to consult the angel Pinterest and she guided me towards some very bright stars:
  • Christmas is for sharing: I love this idea for daily acts of kindness. It's a wonderful counter to this ever-commercialised season. Take time to remember the true meaning. 
  • Let it Grow: Plant pots! This might be my favourite idea yet. Pop a packet of seeds into each one, plant a flower each day - you can also do it with family and friends. Possibilities are endless! What better way to close the year than look forward? 
  • My Christmas Tree: Nostalgia for my countdown companion  is clearly strong, because I was determined to find a good DIY advent tree! This one at A Beautiful Mess ticks a lot of boxes. 
  • Merry Quotemas: My love for motivational memo is no secret (see Instagram/ Twitter/ Facebook/ this blog/ my room...), so it was only natural I would fall head over heels for Advent quote bunting. I think I might have to run with this idea now...
  • Poppy Loves did a brilliant round up of beautiful and unique ways to countdown christmas. 

What would be your alternate advent of choice? 

Could you branch out from the Cadbury countdown?

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