I love Advent, like really love Advent. I can’t think of a better way to spend a whole month; anticipation, excitement. A countdown. I love a countdown!

What I don’t love so much are the mass-produced, chocolate advent calendars which when you need 5 (yes, the cat and the dog seemingly need to get in on the Advent action too) take up rather a lot of room on the shelf. And I have a queue of many pretty things that deserve a place on the shelf!

I also love that Advent is a great opportunity to do something special together as a family; to start traditions. So, in an attempt to by-pass much of the hype and consumerism that goes with Christmas in the UK, I have put together my favourite picks of Advent ideas. I’m not denying you Advent chocolate, I’d never do that. There are a couple in there you can fill with little treats. But here are some thoughts for a more creative, engaging Christmas countdown. Enjoy!

#1 Bright Pom Poms with little boxes to fill. What will you put in yours? Chocolate treats or a little Christmas “to-do” activity? Kit from www.johnlewis.com currently a bargain in the sale at £4.48

#2 Colourful Christmas with this rainbow advent candle. One colour for each day of Advent and all handmade with natural ingredients by a family run business. £12 from www.foeshop.co.uk

#3 Christmas is all about memories and I love this personalised photo calendar. Fill it with memories from Christmas past, or family pics from the previous year. Available from www.notonthehighstreet.com for £29

#4 Now isn’t this a lovely idea?! Encourage a creative Christmas with this colour-in, personalised advent calendar. A little keepsake for years to come. Available from www.notonthehighstreet.com for £26.95

#5 A total antidote to Christmas mayhem and consumerism, this well-being advent calendar is a little reminder to take a moment for yourself each day. Complete with bath salts and natural candles, a gorgeous treat or gift. Again, from www.notonthehighstreet.com for £22

#6 If you’re feeling really creative and have time to whip something up, why not have a look at this beautiful felt advent calendar pattern. Create something you can use for years to come. Available from The Sugar House Shop on www.etsy.com for £17.45