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The Advent calendar has evolved over the years, from simple printed versions to the over-the-top ones you can find today (see the $112,000 Tiffany diamond calendar). We’re also not sure the original creators of Advent calendars planned for them to keep someone tipsy for 24 straight days like the now-popular boozy versions.
But we’ve found a fun array of Advent calendars, in a reasonable price range, that will please and surprise everyone from tykes to gourmands while counting down the days until Christmas.
1. Best For Chocoholics
Madelaine Chocolate Company offers a Countdown to Christmas calendar ($11.88) where doors and windows on a house open to reveal 24 individual milk-chocolate squares wrapped like tiny presents. A short saying on each flap adds to the merriment.
2. Best For Lego-Lovers
Combine a love of Lego and Harry Potter with this Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar Building Kit ($32.82). You’ll get 24 days of magical, mini-figures and accessories to decorate the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Plus this set seems like kids of all ages would get enjoyment out of it. You can also buy a cool pop-up Harry Potter Advent Calendar.
Lego also has several other Advent calendars out this season, many of which are currently available only through third-party sellers on Amazon. Those include the Lego City Advent Calendar, the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar and the Lego Friends Advent Calendar.
3. Best For Charm Bracelet Addicts
Add metal charms to a bracelet each day of Christmas with Manaror’s DIY Advent Christmas Calendar ($19.99). A perfect gift for the young jewelry fan in your life at a great price.
4. Best For Manscaping
The Man’Stuff by Technic 24 Day Men’s Toiletry Product Christmas Advent Calendar ($32.19) gives the man in your life a new travel-sized toiletry item for each day of Advent. Items include body scrubs, lotions, gels and grooming tools.
5. Best for Little Disney Fans
The Disney-loving kid in your life will delight in the figurines, stickers and other small surprises found in the Disney Mickey Mouse Advent Calendar ($29.36).
6. Best Classic Christmas Decor
One of the best things about the Clever Creations Advent Calendar ($37.99) is that the adorable wooden sled filled with 24 doors will look great among classic Christmas decor. You can reuse this one year after year by filling the drawers with tiny surprises!
7. Best For ‘Thomas’ Lovers
Thomas the Tank Engine fanatics will want to choo-choo-choose this Thomas & Friends Fisher-Price Minis Advent Calendar ($32.18) over any other. How adorable is it that each day you unwrap a new mini train engine and can slowly hook together a long locomotive to wind around your home by Christmas Day? Each car is holiday-themed as well.
8. Best For Tea Time
Warm yourself up each day of Advent with the David’s Tea 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar ($40). The individual tea bags include wintery flavors like Alpine Punch, Caramel Shortbread, Maple Syrup Oolong and Satsuma Spice Cake.
9. Best For Budding Artists
The Crayola Christmas Countdown Activity Advent Calendar ($17.99) is crafted for daily creativity. Each slot contains supplies to go with an activity book so you and your little artists can work on 24 different mini-projects, including finger puppets, ornaments, modeling clay and coloring.
10. Best Color-Your-Own Calendar
Though it comes in a book (not calendar) format, the Advent Calendar Colouring Book ($6.71) includes 24 pages of coloring sheets for you to enjoy on the countdown to Christmas at a great price. Both children and adults will enjoy this one, and you might want to share because reviewers say the pages are fairly detailed and can take some time to complete.
11. Best For Little Decorators
Kids ages 2-7 will love how easy it is to decorate their own tree with the Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar ($14.99). The 24 classic holiday ornaments plus a star for the top are magnetic and easy to attach.
12. Best For Jelly Lovers
We’re jammin’ for the Bonne Maman 2019 Limited Edition Advent Calendar ($63.88), with 24 different 1-ounce mini jars of tasty French fruit spreads and honey in seasonal flavors like Raspberry & Lychee, Strawberry & Verbena, and Pineapple & Passion Fruit and including the elusive Mirabelle Plum preserves. This is even better than that membership to the Jelly-of-the-Month Club!
13. Best Hands-On Activity
Little ones will enjoy opening each day of the Play-Doh Advent Calendar ($29.99), which includes many little cutters, stamps, molds, and accessories along with a play mat and five mini tubs of Play-Doh.
14. Best For Classic Fun
If you’re looking for a more traditional fabric calendar for your kids, the Pockets of Learning Merry Christmas Tree Advent Calendar ($38.95) is a great option. Each velcro fabric piece comes out of pockets on the bottom to dress up the tree. Bonus: if you lose pieces, the company will replace them!
15. Best For Stirring Up Nostalgia
Take a step into the past and enjoy the artwork of Norman Rockwell with the Metropolitan Musem of Art’s Norman Rockwell Advent Calendar ($23.12). The pop-up scene centers around Rockwell’s “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas” and has 24 windows and doors to open, each with a different Christmas illustration by the famous painter.
16. Best Nativity Set Calendar
The gorgeous Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar ($89.94) lets you build the Nativity scene day by day. The painted wooden figures stored in wooden drawers around the central image stick magnetically to the central scene. It’s a bit pricey, but this one can be reused year after year.
17. Best For Comic Book Fans
Marvel fans will love collecting their comic book heroes in the Funko Advent Calendar ($46.99). Each day reveals another adorable Funko mini figure, including favorites like Iron Man and Spawn.
18. Best For Multiple Kids
The Step2 My First Advent Calendar ($50) is perfect for the littlest elves since each mini bin and the entire house is made of durable plastic. Each day’s storage container is big enough that parents can pick a range of items to put into them. Have more than one child? You can fit multiple mini treasures in each slot. Warning though: assembly is required for this one.
19. Best For Eager Readers
If you’re looking for something with a book theme to it, the Disney: Storybook Collection Advent Calendar ($18.18) includes 24 mini paperbacks adapted from Disney movies. Along with old classics, recent Disney releases like “Moana,” “The Incredibles 2,” “Toy Story 4” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” are included.
20. Best For Little Gearheads
The Hot Wheels Advent Calendar ($34.99) will rev up your car-loving kid’s energy level this holiday season. There are eight cars and 16 accessories included, like a snowman and Christmas tree, plus a play mat with a track to drag-race your cars on.
21. Best For ‘Paw Patrol’ Fans
Your kids will be there on the double when it’s time to open the daily window on the “Paw Patrol” 2019 Advent Calendar Release ($24.99). Accessories and pups all have a holiday theme to them.
22. Best For A Chic Christmas Vibe
If you’re looking for a wooden Advent calendar with an Etsy vibe, the Juegoal Countdown to Christmas Calendar ($19.99) is an affordable option. Fill the drawers with small treats and surprises.
23. Best For Your Sweet Tooth
The 2019 Mars Christmas Advent Calendar ($19.50) includes 24 doors with M&M’s, Snickers minis, Skittles, Milky Way minis, Twix minis and Starburst behind them.
24. Best For Pint-Sized Fashionistas
Your little glamour kid can add to the Snow Jamz LOL doll’s clothing and accessories collection throughout December with the L.O.L. Surprise! Outfit of The Day Winter Disco ($29.88). The 25-piece set includes one doll.
25. Best For Playing Santa
The 2019 Playmobil Santa’s Workshop Advent Calendar ($18.99) lets 4-10-year-olds imagine they’re Santa and his elves, making toys and loading up the sleigh.
Playmobil also has a non-Christmas themed Horse Farm Advent Calendar ($17.49) with 24 pieces you can slowly open to create your own equine paradise, if that’s more up your kid’s alley.