Even if you’re not the type to get really into Christmas, there’s something magical about an Advent calendar. The act of opening tiny little doors to reveal a surprise, once a day for every day of December until Christmas, is like getting 24 teeny presents — even if those little doors contain nothing more than the picture of a glowing candle. Still satisfying!
Advent calendars for kids or adults — the latter have taken off in recent years — give a fun, wholesome tempo to the post-Thanksgiving-pre-Christmas season of restless anticipation. There are, of course, plain Advent calendars, but most kids and adult Advent calendars these days contain all manner of tiny gifts behind their doors, ranging from chocolate, booze, and “beard treats,” to Legos and unicorn stamps.
The Best Advent Calendars for Kids
Playmobil has a very cool 'Back to the Future' set out. And this calendar is the miniature version thereof. When you open the set, you see the historic clock power and each of the 24 doors has a different surprise.
Hold on to your broomstick: This calendar is a whole cabinet of Hogwarts curiosities. It includes Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Padma Patil, Parvati Patil, and Cho Chang minifigures, plus a a miniature Beauxbaton's carriage and dining table with ice-castle centerpiece.
A gorgeous paper house. And when kids open each door, they find items they can use to furnish it. It's a countdown and a craft project in one. Beautiful.
One of our favorite crafty brands also has a pretty great Advent calendar. Every day, for 25 days, kids get an art prompt. And the kit includes everything they need to make the corresponding craft.
Megyn Kelly may still believe that Santa is white, but ... we'll leave it at that. Rather than an advent calendar per se, this is an activity kit with a puzzle as we as an advent sticker calendar includes 24 stickers marking each day leading up to Christmas. And no, in this one, Santa isn't white. How refreshing.
Markers, paints, model magic. The Crayola calendar doesn't skimp on the good stuff. Each opening reveals a Crayola product and corresponding activity for kids.
For the car-obsessed: This Advent calendar has a new Cars-themed surprise for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.
When kids open the little doors on this Advent calendar, they get a wooden stamp, each featuring unicorns, cherries, and other festive things. Prepare to find all your gifts stamped with said festive things.
Equestrians, here's an Advent calendar of your dreams. It includes highly-detailed Schleich figurines, including Trakehner mare and foal, a cat family, a rabbit, and a squirrel. And there's even a medical kit to treat the animals.
The LEGO Advent calendar includes buildable characters and vehicles. We're talking Poe Dameron and Darth Vader, plus the Millennium Falcon, an A-wing, a TIE Fighter, X-wing, a Droid Control Ship, and Anakin’s Podracer.
For kids into all things with wheels and motors, it doesn't get much better: They get eight decorated Hot Wheels vehicles and 16 accessories in the lead up to Christmas.
Disney fiends (and you know who you are), this one's for you. Behind every little door is a beloved character, including Mad Hatter, Alice, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Gaston, Belle, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Pascal, Lilo, Stitch, Scrump the Doll, Bird, Bunny, Philippe the horse, and Mrs. Potts.
Here's the cool thing about this calendar: Once kids have all the pieces, on December 24, they use them to build Santa's sleigh, work bench, reindeer, slide, bike, toys, and backdrop. It offers both daily gratification and a big payoff at the end. Gifts within gifts.
Made from recycled paper, this calendar features 24 pop-out character and a festive winter scene where the bear, koala, and other friends can load up on Christmas cheer.
Each of the pockets on this keepsake organic cotton twill calendar opens up, and it's up to you to place something inside each one that your kid will love.
Bakers and their parents, rejoice: This calendar opens up each day to reveal a speciality ingredient, baking tool, or recipe, to create six different kinds of holiday cookies.
The Best Adult Advent Calendars
Never, and we do mean never, run out of matching socks again. From argyle to polka dots, you get 24 pairs leading up to Christmas.
If you're paying this much, you want to make sure you get the good stuff. And you definitely do. Sample items in this skin care-centric calendar include the wonderful HoliFrog face wash, a Slip silk scrunchie, Naturopathica hydrating cream, and First Aid Beauty moisturizer.
Have your home smell like the holidays with the delicate scents from Voluspa candles, including butter cookie and crushed candy dane. You get 12 candles.
Smell great during the holidays with this discovery set, from a brand known for its gender-neutral scents. Sample fragrances include Bergamote Soleil, Cédrat Envirant, Pacific Lime, Grand Néroli, Iris Rebelle, Bois Blonds, and Santal Carmin.
The brand known for delicious teas has now released a matcha calendar, which features 24 finely ground green teas and sweet treats. You get classic blends plus matcha honey and vegan gummies.
There's never, and we do mean never, a wrong time for the magic of this Swiss chocolate, especially when you get one serving per day.
Each window in this foodie-themed calendar opens up to reveal either a gourmet jam, or a speciality honey. Perfect for those holiday breakfasts.
Three cheers to this calendar, which has 24 vials of 1.7 ounce premium whiskey, along with flavor notes for each drink. It's here for you when you get frustrated at having to put together a 674-piece toy at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
Beef jerky. Every day. For 25 days.Flavors range from black pepper to garlic to root beer to whiskey maple. Yummmmmmmm.
Diptyque makes the world's best candles. And this calendar has an assortment of them (including moonlit fir, mimosa, and tuberose) as well as a perfume, body scrub, and shower oil.
Rich reds. Chill whites. You get 12 bottles that Vinebox hand-picks for you throughout the holidays. The box includes a mix of reds and whites, including French pinot noir and Sicilian chardonnay.
If you're sick of the same tired tunes, upgrade your holiday music game with this calendar. When you scratch off each day, you see a QR code for a new classic holiday song each day.
The French skin care brand really delivers, even in miniature. Calendar gifts include hand creams, shampoos, shower oils, lip balms, and anti-aging creams, all in a very cheerful package.
Never miss a sugar fix with this collection. It includes a chocolate Santa, snowman, and penguin, along with the brand's classic bites.
A beauty fanatic's dream, this calendar is crammed with masks, eyeliners, lipsticks, and hair accessories.
The British company renowned for its luxury scents has a correspondingly swanky calendar. The 24 little treats include colognes, miniature candles, and body lotions.
Don't forget Fido! This calendar contains 23 mini bones and one special mini-paw cookie.
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