I am usually a big advocate for letting Thanksgiving have its own precious time before shifting my focus on to Christmas. But, with Thanksgiving falling so late in November this year, those of us who celebrate Christmas will want to have a cool Advent calendar ready to go before we stuff ourselves with turkey and fixings.
With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a dozen of my favorite Advent calendars this year that you should think about grabbing now. And then, when December 1st pops up a mere three days after Thanksgiving (whoa), you can pat yourself on the back for being so prepared.
Acts of kindness Advent calendar
Who can blame kids for getting a little focused on gifts, gifts, gifts at Christmas? This is one reason I am loving the My Kindness Calendar which helps remind kids (and us frazzled parents) about the most important things: kindness, charity, friendship, and family.
Each day, your kids will decorate their “kindness tree” with a fabric decal that encourages one random act of kindness, like giving someone a compliment or donating to a food bank. There are even five customizable decals so that you can come up with some acts of giving that are special to your family.
Another reason I love this calendar: At the end of the season, it can all be rolled up and reused next year, so you can make this an annual tradition with your family.
Ornament advent calendar
Deck the halls, day by day, with this precious ornament Advent calendar from Light and Paper. Each day’s red paper door lifts to reveal a small laser-cut, birch-wood ornament that you can pop out and hang. Fear not: the supplied red-and-white string comes included so that you don’t have to do much at all. Then, enjoy the little ornaments all season long.
Harry Potter advent calendar
Accio advent calendar! But do it soon because this incredible Infinity Harry Potter Advent calendar from Merchoid has been going quickly ever since we featured it here a few weeks ago. This “magical staircase” opens a new box each day to reveal a tiny treat, from mini-plush HP figurines to clever pins and badges. It may require a quick trip to Gringotts to grab some galleons — or a platinum credit card — but for a true HP fan, this Advent calendar is priceless.
I couldn’t conjure up something cuter than this Harry Potter Funko Pop! advent calendar, filled with 24 mini-sized Pocket Pop! figurines all dressed up for the Yule Ball. I think almost any Harry Potter fan would agree that this is even better than a calendar filled with chocolate frogs.
An Advent book of activities
This wonderful new book, Christmas is Coming: An Advent Book, combines the “open the flap” excitement of an advent calendar on its cover with a beautifully-illustrated activity book by Katie Hicken. It’s one you will want to hang on to for many Christmases.
Each flap teases what you’ll find on the pages inside; when you flip the corresponding page, you’ll reveal one easy activity you can do together as a family, like make raspberry hot chocolate, learn the lyrics of a Christmas carol, or play a “hidden picture” game. I really appreciate the inclusivity and diversity of the characters throughout, and the thoughtful activities inside.
Playmobil Advent calendar
If you have a little one at home, help your toddler or preschooler (18 months and up) count down the days to Christmas with this play-worthy Christmas in the Forest Advent calendar by Playmobil. Love that each day gives eager kids a new age-appropriate toy to play with, as they slowly build a snowy forest scene with all the pieces — until the Big Man himself shows up on the 24th. But unlike the real Santa, he won’t disappear up the chimney after the holidays.
Dylan’s Candy Bar Chocolate Advent calendar
Is there anything worse than the terrible waxy chocolate in some cheap Advent calendars? That’s why I think a bit of a splurge on Dylan Candy Bar’s chocolate advent calendar is totally worth it. Each door reveals a colorfully wrapped foil chocolate that are guaranteed delicious, just like everything at Dylan’s. It’s like the Advent calendars I remember from my childhood, but with waaaaayyy better chocolates.
Want an edible Advent calendar, but an alternative to milk chocolate? Check our Williams-Sonoma’s yummy peppermint bark Advent calendar. Their creamy, crunchy, super popular peppermint bark is molded into adorable seasonal shapes, making this the perfect little minty pick-me-up each morning. For the kids, of course.
Wooden train Advent calendar
This charming Polar Express style wooden railway Advent calendar by Meri Meri is more decor than plaything, so it may be best for kids old enough to understand the difference. But, it would be so fun to put this together day by day with my older kids. Bonus: it easily packs away to be saved until Christmas pulls into the station again.
3-D Christmas tree Advent calendar
All the flat paper Advent calendars are going to feel jealous of this standing 3-D Christmas tree Advent calendar from Rifle Paper Co. Each numbered door is hidden all over the tree, so kids will have to search as they count down the days.
Cookie Advent Cookbook calendar
If you and your kids love to bake but need a little cookie inspiration to get your oven going, this new Cookie Advent Cookbook offers a fun twist on the traditional Advent calendar. The cover features flaps that open to reveal one new cookie for each day leading up to Christmas, which you and your kids can then find inside the book. Whether or not you chose to make the recipe that day, or just drool over the photo and flag your favorites to make for your next cookie swap, this is a clever way for young bakers to get excited to help in the kitchen this holiday.
Or you. know, help licking the bowl at least.
Printable coloring countdown Advent calendar
Even if you wake up on November 30th with a jolt and realize you’ve forgotten to get an advent calendar, this adorable color-in reindeer Advent calendar by MiniExplorers is printable. So it can be downloaded to your computer in an instant. Whoo! Print out several copies to hand out to each child, or place a single copy behind a frame and use dry-erase markers for a keepsake that can be reused year after year.
(Just remind your kids that Christmas does not come any faster if they color in all 25 ornaments at once.)
Nativity Advent calendar
Reverent and beautiful, this free-standing Nativity Advent calendar from Rifle Paper Co. colorfully expresses the joy many feel about the Christmas holiday in a more traditional way. Each day, your kids can open a numbered flap to reveal a small illustration, as they patiently wait for the 25th to arrive.