This past Thanksgiving weekend (and I hope everyone had a safe and happy one!), I came across an item I'd like to share since it's something that many of you have been asking: Advent calendars.
Many of us remember these fun calendars from our childhood--the calendars begin with the date December 1st and offer a different door to open until Christmas on the 25th. Usually these calendars offer a little piece of Christmas chocolate behind each door.
Since chocolate is one of the most common candies with nut allergen warnings, most of us have had to give these up for our own kids. One source is Amanda's Own Advent calendar available at Peanut-Free Planet, the candy is nut-free, egg-free and dairy-free. You have to order these early, though!
New as of November 2013: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates now has Advent Calendars! Visit their web site and look under their "Christmas" section for details!
The crafty and artistic parents among us can make their own calendars--one of my readers made a beautiful one using felt pockets for each day; she then placed treats in the pockets. I'm very unskilled in crafts--my thing is cooking/baking--so if you are good at crafts, this is a great idea.
For the rest of us (or for those of us with a love of unique Christmas decor) I may have found a solution: wooden Advent calendars. (Two styles are pictured above). I came across these beautiful heirloom quality calendars while at a local store this past Saturday--check your local stores that sell Christmas decor. You can also buy them online at Byer's Choice.
At $85 a pop, these are not cheap. However, they are a beautiful Christmas decoration that is reusable and can become a family favorite that you can pass down to future generations. And best of all--they don't come with unsafe candy-it's up to you to supply the treat behind each door. In person, these really are gorgeous.
Let me wrap up with two sources for chocolate Hanukkah coins: Vermont Nut-Free Chocolate and Divvies. Vermont Nut-Free is free of peanuts and tree nuts only; Divvies is nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. Visit their web sites to find out more.
In the coming weeks, I'll have lots more holiday tips, resources and special recipes. Please share yours by commenting below!