I love using Advent Calendars to count down the days until Christmas with the kids, but so many calendars offer candy behind each door. The kids end up consuming so many treats during the holiday; I’d prefer not to give them sweets in their Advent Calendars, too. So I decided to see if I could find some non-sugary alternatives.

If you want to purchase an Advent Calendar already made with punch-out doors, you’ll likely find that most include candy. I did find a few pre-made calendars that have modeling clay or building toys behind each door. If you have your own calendar, it’s even easier to add non-sugary gifts.

Jewelry

If you enjoy making your own jewelry with the kids, consider beads and charms as Advent treats. Start with a plain necklace or bracelet as the first-day reward. On each subsequent day you can add a unique bead or a charm for the necklace or bracelet. By Christmas time, your child will have a new piece of jewelry to wear.

Mini Toys

This type of calendar is really fun to make. Hide a mini toy behind each door for your child to add to their favorite set. Your local dollar store or five and dime will have tiny dolls, pets, anime characters, and  cars that can be hidden behind each door.

Magnets

Consider hanging a Christmas tree made of construction paper on your refrigerator door. When your child finds a new magnet every day, she can add it to the tree as a Christmas decoration. Just imagine how wonderful the tree will look by Christmas time.

Stickers

Hide Christmas stickers behind each door of your Advent Calendar. Your child can then use the stickers to decorate a sticker book, a paper Christmas tree, or a drawing of a Christmas scene.

Gift Coupons

If you’d rather focus on experiences than things, how about hiding a special coupon behind each door? The coupons can be for experiences like baking cookies, going sledding, a trip to the ice skating rink or science museum, or a sleepover with a friend. Older kids could get coupons for a day with no chores or a trip to a museum.

What’s your favorite, non-candy Advent Calendar treat?