Even though I’m still finding Halloween candy wrappers hidden under the couch (kids!), I’m keenly aware that December isn’t that far away. Which means that it’s time to start thinking about which Advent calendar we want in our home to help us count down the days to Christmas.
As we’ve done for the past seven (wow!) years on Cool Mom Picks, in 2015 we’ve searched high and low for all kinds of options for your home. From clever DIY calendars, to fun kid-like designs, to gorgeous pieces you can reuse each year and treasure, here are 15 of the best Advent calendars I really love this year. The hardest part may be picking just one.
Want even more options? Check out our previous years’ picks for the coolest advent calendars:
Personalized Wooden Advent Calendar
The personalized wooden hanging Advent calendar by Manzanita Kids makes for a pretty spectacular annual decoration. Enlist the kids to help hang the “ornaments” each day until the angel is at the top of the tree on the 24th. I love how the cherry, maple, and walnut woods look together, and the sweet, hand-drawn look of the engravings.
Elves Advent Coloring Calendar
The Happy Elves Advent calendar by Miguel Bustos at Studio Anorak is more than just cuteness on the wall. It also gives kids something creative to do each morning to help them count down the days until Christmas. Leave out some crayons and let them color in a different elf each day. Just make sure they know that Christmas won’t come any faster, even if they color in all the elves at once.
DIY Christmas Tree Advent Calendar with Free Printables
With just a few craft supplies, you can have this shiny modern DIY printable Advent calendar hanging on your wall too. Created by Lisa at the Red Thread Blog, you’ll find all of her instructions at We Are Scout. You can use the free printable numbers to create activity tags–just write something on the back of each one, like “sing Christmas carols” or “make paper snowflakes,” and your kids will run to it every morning.
Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar
Meri Meri’s wooden storage box, available at our affiliate Amazon, is actually an incredible wooden Advent calendar that, when finished, will have the kids playing with their own little 3D nativity set. Each day, pop open a door to find another little figurine or part of the stable. This is such a neat way to talk to kids about the story of Christmas, plus it’ll be a fun toy to play with over the holiday season.
DIY Tree Advent Calendar
I am not much of a seamstress, but even I could handle The DIY Advent calendar at Hellobee. In fact, stitching a border around the felt trees is something my older kids could themselves, while younger kids could be charged with gluing the trees to the snowy white background. There is even a printable for those little slips of paper that you can tuck behind each tree after handwriting a special activity or message.
Elf Movie Typography Advent Calendar
If your family watches Elf as often as we do, you’ll love Gold Tinsel Shop’s simple muslin bag Elf quote Advent calendar that feature great lines from the movie as well as other classic holiday sayings. Either hang them all on along the fireplace, or play scavenger hunt with the kids each morning. They’ll love reading the message on the front each day (especially December 21) and then digging in to see just which treat they’ll find inside. Only no chewed-up gum, okay?
Fabric Christmas-Themed Advent Calendar
Whether you pick the smiling snowman, cheery red Santa, or little snowy house, the lovely, handmade, fabric Advent calendar from Good Wishes Quilts on Etsy includes 24 little pockets where you can hide a tiny treat. Just unroll this easy-to-store calendar every year and hang from your own coat hanger or rod. Do keep in mind that this handcrafted piece will arrive a little after the 1st of December this year. I know my kids won’t mind if it means they can play “catch up” by going through the first few pockets all at once.
Santa and his Reindeer Advent Calendar
Sure you know Dasher and Dancer, but with the free Santa and his Reindeer printable Advent calendar from the Decoideas, you’ll have 23 bright-red nose companions to stand alongside the big guy and you can even name them yourself. (On Herman! On Elsa! On Herobrine!) This free download just requires some printer ink and a pair of scissors to complete. You can even fill the standing figures with a treat each morning as you count down the days.
Colorful Muslin Advent Calendar Bags
Also by Gold Tinsel Shop, those of you with younger kids may prefer the colorful little muslin bags that make up this Advent calendar. With big numbers printed on each bag, they would look amazing hanging on a string or ribbon along a banister or draped across a wall. This is also a great one for all the procrastinators too, since you can order as late as November 27 for arrival by December 1.
DIY LEGO Advent Calendars
Sarah at Frugal Fun 4 Boys has two clever DIY LEGO Advent calendar ideas that boys and girls will love to build as much as they’ll like using them to count down the days. These are a great idea for families with lots of LEGO bricks. You could even build each of the Advent calendars should you have two kids who each want their own. Also don’t miss her LEGO Advent Christmas Tree that the kids can decorate day by day.
Paper Box Advent Calendar
So cute and reminiscent of those clever Mixmate wooden toys we love, the paper box Advent calendar from Julica Designs is one that kids can play with long after the treats are gone. The 24 colorful paper boxes ship flat from Germany and can be stacked to create some unusual creations. Though the design isn’t particularly Christmas-y, it’s a nice alternative for kids and gives them more of an opportunity to play with it all year.
DIY Mountain Advent Calendar
Your kids will climb every mountain as they go from the first to the 24th using this DIY Advent calendar tutorial from Le Plus Bel Âge. Though written in French, the step-by-step photos (and that handy Google translate feature) makes this project fairly easy to replicate. Then design your own message for the laurel victory wreath and hang the entire range from a cord low enough for the kids to reach.
Illustrated Hanging Advent Calendar
Flora Waycott’s whimsical illustrations are the stars of this perpetual Advent calendar that will hang on your wall as you flip through the days. This is a great option for busy families who won’t need to fill boxes with 24 treats or come up with extra activities to do. And, at the end of the season, just box it up and it’ll be ready to go again next December 1st.
Starbucks Ornament Advent Calendar
We couldn’t help but include this cute option from the ubiquitous coffee chain, who continues to wage their reported war on Christmas with their annual Starbucks 2015 Advent Calendar. The 25 little ornaments come filled with little pieces of chocolate and peppermint bark, but they’re made to be reused year after year. Just don’t try to fill any of them with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. For numerous reasons.