My sisters and I met up yesterday so we could exchange gifts for our advent swap.
We have all year to accumulate 18 little items to which we add another 6 food/drink related items so there are 24 in total, one to unwrap each day.
This year I bought for my sister C and above are just 3 of the ones she will be opening, a Father Christmas shaped car air freshener, a mini ice scraper on a key ring and a cute cottage key cover. The first cost 99p and the other two were 50p each so it doesn't have to cost a fortune to do.
Middle sister T is buying mine and my first present this morning was an advent candle which is burning brightly as a I type.
Thinking of 18 different things can seem a little daunting at first but once you get going and keep an eye out whilst shopping it's really quite easy.
My old boss is doing a swap with a close friend of hers for the first time this year. Her mum passed away just before Christmas a couple of years ago which, quite understandably, affected the way she felt about the festivities, but she said thinking of gifts to buy and then collecting them over the course of the year has really ignited that little festive spark for her again which I think is a very special thing indeed.