Small Items to Gift in Advent Calendar
November 18, 2017 12:29 PM   Subscribe

For the last ten years, my hubby and I have exchanged an Advent Calendar with our long time friends. This year it is our turn to fill up the stand-up rustic holiday house (aka The Adventure Calendar) and gift it to them. I am asking jolly Mefites to suggest new ideas to fill up the calendar.

It is always fun to search for items to fill it but it is challenging. The twenty-four daily compartments have a small door and are 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches and the depth of the compartment is also 1.5 inches. (See my profile picture.)

After so many years, it is getting more and more difficult to think of new and nifty tiny things to fill up the 24 small compartments. In past years, we have gifted magnets - purchased and homemade, rocks, puzzles, tiny ornaments, stickers, erasers, tiny dolls, candy, fake fingernails, fake mustaches, socks, funny underwear, novelty band-aids, tealight candles, key chains, tiny cookie cutters, paper clips and other tiny office supplies. We scour the web looking for little goodies but could use some new sites or ideas. I am willing to make things. We have looked at Think Geek, Archie McPhee and others.

The recipients are a gay couple who live in New Orleans. One loves Star Wars and one loves music. They both love movies and TV. We all have a very warped sense of humor. I have until December 1st to complete the fill up! Thanks and Happy Holidays!
posted by narancia to Shopping (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you looked at dollhouse miniatures? For a friend's birthday this year, I picked out a bunch of them and anonymously mailed her one a week in the month leading up to her bday.
posted by ITheCosmos at 12:37 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Buy a Lego Star Wars kids advent calendar, take it apart, there are 24 small packets of lego figures and toys in those (not assembled but the parts), i think they will fit into the house.
posted by 15L06 at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


World Market has a pretty interesting selection of tiny foods, like hot sauce and stuff. Also interesting candy from around the world.

I've made galaxy bottles with the teens at my library using tiny bottles I bought at the craft store. It's pretty easy to make and comes out very cool. Here's a link to an Instructables for a necklace, but you could also just put it on a desk as a happy thing.

Temporary tattoos can be a fun thing for adults! You can very easily find Star Wars ones!

There are some pretty trippy USB drives out there. I feel like most things live in the cloud these days, but you never know when you'll need portable storage.

A couple of cool stamps? Either the postage kind or the crafting kind?

A tiny bottle of beard oil? Too weird?
posted by itsamermaid at 12:58 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


What about...
Cell phone charms
Nurses' watches (the kind you can pin on to clothes or bags)
A tiny dental floss container shaped like a tooth
Wine stopper
Fidget cube
Ridiculous rings
Bucky balls!
Tiny tins of muscle balm

(Yes, I used TinyDeal to inspire me for this one. You know it makes sense.)
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:31 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


there is so much realistic and amazing miniature food on etsy. maybe get an assortment of their favourite treats, with a tiny handwritten recipe for the real thing tucked in alongside each? (you can make these things yourself, and it's fun! but time may be a constraint, i know.)

or: tiny potted succulents? i can't find any online sellers with stock in non-wholesale quantities at the moment, but you can often find appropriately-sized ones at retail florist shops -- often in cute little wooden or glazed pots!

or: assorted bags of fancy teas, or little vials/pouches of interesting spices?
posted by halation at 1:32 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Exotic fragrances. The concentrated 4ml vials at The Perfumer's Apprentice are around $3.50-$4.00 each, last a long time, and are the most delightful curiosities.
posted by cocoagirl at 3:22 PM on November 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Succulents is a good idea, but those ones look a little large. Maybe get a fullsized one of the sort that drops little blobs of itself in order to start a world of new succulents. Just pluck off a few of the blobs and pot them in a quarter teaspoon of potting soil in a terra-cotta painted toothpaste cap. remind them to re-pot as the plant grows. Buy a baggie of those tiny rubber bands they sell for orthodontia and make a rubber band ball out of some of them. Then the next day can be a little box of colorful rubber bands of the next smallest size you can find, for them to add to the starter ball, and then one of normal sized bands and then one with a few gigantic rubber bands--just to give them the idea and get them started on the beautiful rubberbandball journey that will sustain them for many a Christmas future. Spices is another good idea, and saffron already comes in tiny amounts and is pretty. Teeny tiny grooming tools, like nail clippers? This one is cool because you can put it on your keyring. Sewing kit? If the whole kit won't fit, you could piece it out over a few days. Beentzie leatherman tool? Eyeglass repair kit with the mini screwdriver? Itty bitty sewing scissors that fold up cleverly?
posted by Don Pepino at 3:36 PM on November 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Buy a baggie of those tiny rubber bands they sell for orthodontia and make a rubber band ball out of some of them. Then the next day can be a little box of colorful rubber bands of the next smallest size you can find, for them to add to the starter ball, and then one of normal sized bands and then one with a few gigantic rubber bands--just to give them the idea and get them started on the beautiful rubberbandball journey that will sustain them for many a Christmas future.

oh my god this is literally the most adorable idea i have ever heard and i regret that i can give it but one favourite
posted by halation at 4:10 PM on November 18, 2017


These Kingston flash drives are rugged and fit on a key chain.

"Match Box" toy set.

You should be able to get miniature Russian nesting dolls in a small enough sizes.

Muji has really nice small tape measures, which may be small enough.
posted by gudrun at 6:51 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh I thought of another - tiny satchets of spices!
posted by itsamermaid at 7:09 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Auto supply stores - Autozone, Pep Boys, etc., often have racks of small useful things near the check out counter.
posted by jointhedance at 5:45 AM on November 19, 2017


Advent calendars are one of my favorite parts of Christmas! Instead of a tiny puzzle for one cubby, get a 300-piece puzzle, split it out and put several pieces in each cubby. Then you get to put together the puzzle as you go.

I also love these Safari Ltd "TOOB" toys. Perfect size, and there are so many theme sets. This Cryptozoology one was awesome. They also make a musical instruments one!

And if you really get stuck, one time I just made a little rolled up paper scroll with a clue to go find something in the house (such as a Christmas stollen or other baked good hidden somewhere). I also really love the idea of a poem. That's very sweet (and cost-effective!).

If you're ever looking to upgrade your advent calendar, I highly recommend the Byers Choice ones. They are really nicely made. Also, after several years you end up with an odd collection of fun small toys so I take some of those past advent items and add them each year to my Halloween dish for kids for a non-candy item.
posted by belau at 7:00 AM on November 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


Oh, I thought of something else. These are just pretty little baubles (no function but to look pretty; note it is nice to have more than one), but Simon Pearce makes pretty small glass ice cubes. We "inherited" one from my mother-in-law, so I can attest to their quality.
posted by gudrun at 8:31 AM on November 19, 2017


I've always thought these are kind of wonderful (scroll down to videos).
posted by BoscosMom at 10:05 AM on November 19, 2017


If you find something a little too large to fit a tiny lock and key could come in handy.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:12 AM on November 19, 2017


Thanks for all of the ideas. I have used several of them. I am still working on filling up the compartments so I am happy to have all of these great suggestions!
posted by narancia at 6:55 AM on November 22, 2017


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