I may not be in the holiday spirit yet, but as someone who tracked down the best Advent calendars for 2021, as I do ever year, I can safely say it’s time to order the family’s Advent calendar! Not just so they don’t run out of our favorites, but so we can be ready to countdown to Christmas with something other than the kids’ echos of “how many more days?” ringing in our ears.

Just as I did last year in our jam-packed list of the best Advent calendar s of 2020, I’ve carefully narrowed down tons of options to pull together what I think are  18 (!) of the best Advent calendars for 20201.

You’ll find options for kids, teens, and adults — like you. Because you have been very good all year, no doubt.

You’ll find creative Advent calendars for crafters, pampering calendars, pop-culture ones and even Advent calendars filled with dad jokes. But if you’re looking for Advent calendars filled with tasty treats? Please stop by my post dedicated entirely to the Best Food Advent Calendars for 2021 on Cool Mom Eats.

I promise that any option on either list will be way better than those waxy chocolate Advent calendars you grab at the drug store.

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18 of the Best Advent Calendars for 2021

 

Kiwi Crate’s Christmas Village Advent Calendar for kids

This buildable Advent Calendar from Kiwi Crate can be brought out year after year

I’m smitten with this new Christmas Village Advent Calendar (also shown at top) from Kiwi Crate, which comes together day-by-day to create a little village. A long-time favorite company of ours (I bought my first Kiwi Crate subscription 10 years ago!), I’ve always been impressed with their attention to detail. From the multi-hued, diverse peg people to the detailed general store, this is a top pick for the best Advent calendars of 2021, because it becomes a play set that can be used year after year at the holidays. Actually, it may never get put away. ($49.95)

Pop Up Advent Calendar from LovePop

Build a scene and tell a story with Lovepop's 2021 Advent calendar

Ideal for younger preschoolers and early grade schoolers, Figg and Jammi’s Christmas Wish Machine Advent calendar from LovePop follows a story about two friends who try to create a “wish machine” so they can make Christmas wishes all year long. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? I love that each day, kids’ open an envelope with a new popup figure or scene element inside.

The outside of each envelope continues the story of Figg and Jammi, making me wish my kids were still young enough to snuggle with me for story time each day. Because it’s made of paper, I’m not sure this will make it past a single holiday of heavy play by enthusiastic fingers, but it’s a lovely way to mix play, story telling, and the anticipation for the holidays all together. ($39, +$5 to personalize with name and photo)

The Star Wars Galactic Advent calendar for all of us

Star Wars Advent Calendar for the fans in your family

The Star Wars' Advent calendar opens to reveal 25 doors to countdown to Christmas

In a galaxy not-very-far away (actually, an Amazon warehouse), sits this out-of-this-world Star Wars: The Galactic Advent Calendar, just ready for the super-fan in your life to enjoy. If you can guess from the illustrations, this clever Christmas countdown doesn’t take itself too seriously but instead is filled with ‘aww cool!” trinkets and doo-dads each day.

With a sturdy book cover that opens to reveal 25 brightly colored and adorably illustrated envelopes, each festive flap opens to a tiny themed trinket, from light saber straws to galactic recipe cards to paper ornaments and Star Wars buttons. And not a Jar Jar Binks in sight. Hooray! ($20.87, Amazon)

 

3 Pampering Advent calendars, because we all deserve it

Pamper her with products in this GLOSSYBOX Surprise Me Advent Calendar

 

One of our picks for the Best Subscription Boxes for Moms, Glossybox also offers one of the best Advent Calendars of 2021. The Glossybox Surprise Me Advent Calendar makes a great gift for your mom, sister, or glam best friend…or maybe just buy it for yourself, because it’s been a helluva year.

Now that I’m actually dressing up and getting out more, I really like the idea of opening up 25 boxes to reveal 16 full-size products and 11 deluxe mini items so I have some new makeup, skincare, and haircare products to indulge myself. Worth many, many times the price of this calendar. ($99, Glossybox)

Related: 9 creative, healing, self-care gift ideas that go beyond bath salts and chocolates

Pamper someone with Enfusia's 25 Days of Fizzy Bath Treats Advent Calendar

What a gift it would be to commit to a bath each night during December! But, even if I had to skip some days, I’d love to have this 25 Days of Fizzy Bath Treats Advent Calendar to help me get through the long winter. Handmade in Texas by small bath-product company Enfusia, these mini bath bombs are made of natural fragrances, essential oils, and mica but are free of parabens, phthalates, and dyes.

There is such interesting variety in the 12 different scents including gingerbread, winter rose, and eucalyptus lavender. Use one a day, save some for later in the season, or create your own combos by doubling or tripling up. ($39.99)

Shower Steamer Advent Calendar from Latika may be backordered but it's worth the wait

Though backordered until the end of November, I had to include this beautiful Advent Shower Steamer Set from Austin’s Lātika in my picks for the best Advent Calendars of 2021.  Besides, it may be well worth the wait; with a mix of seven different seasonal scents, including peppermint, rosemary & fir, or orange & clove, don’t be surprised if you start singing Christmas carols in the shower. Sorry, family. ($98, Uncommon Goods)

 

3 crafty 2021 Advent calendars for creative kids

Make a craft-a-day with Kids Crafts LLC Advent calendar

For elementary-age kids who need to keep their excited hands busy, the Craft Advent Calendar from Kids Crafts LLC includes 25 easy-to-complete projects that won’t require you to pull out the sewing kit or glue gun. Each plastic baggie holds a separate ornament craft that is fully assembled but needs the finishing touches added using self-adhesive stickers.

I admit I don’t care for all the plastic baggies that make the kit look messy inside, but the box packaging and the crafts themselves are A+, so I can overlook this quibble.

This is a great 2021 Advent calendar for preschoolers as well as older elementary-age kids to complete and then hang on the tree. And, if you’re inclined, this sturdy box could be reused year after year to create your own DIY Advent calendar, filling it with crafts that grow with your kids. ($39.99, Kids Crafts LLC on Etsy)

 

Complete a craft a day with The Purple Cow's Advent Calendar for kids

For slightly more advanced crafters, this Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar by The Purple Cow is filled with 24 cute DIY ornaments and decorations. I’m so impressed with how much they’ve fit inside this cardboard box–you’ll only need a few common supplies like glue or scissors. Set up with small paper boxes with the days of the month on them, this calendar is designed in the same way as last year’s awesome Scientist Advent calendar.

One thing I really like about this crafty Advent calendar is the colorful and detailed manual that shows kids exactly how to create their tiny masterpieces. Meaning, they can handle most of this themselves, so you can focus on the stuff that needs to get done by December 25. ($39.95, Amazon)

Art2theExtreme's Advent calendar opens to reveal a unique colorful crayon each day

Often featured in our holiday gift guides for their colorful handmade crayon letters that are a top Etsy seller, Art2theExtreme’s 2021 Original Rainbow Crayon Advent Calendar will make the holidays more colorful thanks to 25 days of handmade multicolored mini crayons. Much more than just “crayons,”  there are so many intricate details in many of these pieces and the size is perfect for small hands to hold.Plus we love supporting this terrific, independent, mom-run business. ($84.95 on Etsy)

2 Advent calendars featuring Black and Brown Santa so more kids can see themselves in him.

Love this Black Santa personalized Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn Kids

“Nobody likes a skinny Santa” may be the memorable line from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (one of my top 3 favorite Christmas movies!), but in the case of this Skinny Black Santa Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn Kids, I think he looks quite perfect! And if you find yourself often left with only white-skinned Santa decor around Christmas, you can now have a Santa Advent Calendar in your home that looks more like your own family.  ($49 with personalization available)

 

Celebrate diversity this Christmas with Little Likes Kids Advent Calendar

Full of diversity, this Sticker Advent Calendar for Kids provides a Christmas countdown with a Black Santa accompanied by Brown and Black elves, since we all know Christmas is for everyone who wants to celebrate This nice and easy sticker calendar has all of the sweetness of a candy calendar, without the sugar crash.And hey, fantastic price. ($14.99, Little Likes Kids on Amazon)

Related: The best subscription gifts for kids this year: 40+ ideas for every age, and every interest

A Magic Trick Advent calendar for aspiring tricksters and magicians

Combine STEM with a Christmas countdown with this Magic and Tricks Advent calendar from The Purple Cow

Abracadabra! We know lots of tweens who would go nuts for this Magic and Tricks Advent Calendar from The Purple Cow, because it looks just so darned cool.  Using the language and learning of physics, illusions, robotics ,and chemistry, these 24 activities can have kids as young as 8 experiencing the magic of science through experiments they can do on their own. Just be prepared to watch your little scientist’s daily performance. But hey! It’s educational, right? ($34.90, Amazon)

A Goofy Dad Jokes Advent calendar to lighten up the stress of the holidays

Lighten things up with this Dad Jokes Advent Calendar from Oakdene Designs

I’m a firm believer in goofy dad jokes to lighten up any day, so it’s no wonder that I love this Dad Jokes Advent calendar from Oakdene Designs. Each day, your kids can groan along with the silly and punny jokes behind each door as they countdown to Christmas.

Even better? You can even personalize this Advent calendar in case you’d like to change this from “Dad’s Advent Calendar” to “Pop’s” or “Mike’s” or “even Grandma’s” — no one ever said dads are the only ones with a silly sense of humor.

But hurry! This ships from the UK, so you’ll want to get your tree of jokes en route as soon as possible. ($22.63, Etsy)

 

A puzzle-a-day Advent calendar for fans of The New Yorker

This New Yorker Puzzle Advent Calendar makes a very special gift for a magazine fan

This gorgeous keepsake puzzle-a-day The New Yorker Advent calendar is definitely a splurge for an erudite reveler, but what a special splurge it is. A lovely gift for grandparents or friends who read The New Yorker for more than just the cartoons, each puzzle features a holiday cover from a past issue. Then, every day for 24 days, you can open a small box to reveal the pieces for a 100-piece 7×9-inch mini puzzle. It’s not cheap, but it sure is spectacular for the right person. Needless to say, it’s certainly an easy pick for one of the best Advent Calendars of 2021. ($195)

 

A Harry Potter Advent calendar because, magic!

Harry Potter Holiday Magic Advent Calendar for the HP fans in your life

Accio Harry Potter Holiday Magic Advent calendar!  If you’re shopping for the best Advent Calendar in 2021 for a fan of the Boy Who Lived, act fast to get your hands on this amazing calendar. It’s filled with mini books, mementos, and trinkets — sorry, no chocolate frogs. But plenty of lcool keepsakes, whether they’re a Gryffindor or a Slytherin.

Do Syltherins get into the holiday spirit? Hm. ($18.77, Amazon)

 

A Gemstone and Crystal Advent calendar for tweens and teens

Perfect for collectors of gems and crystals, Gen Snow's Advent calendar will sell out fast

My teens would think Gem Snow’s sparkly Advent calendar rocks (ugh, sorry) and would love to get their hands on one for sure. Each day, they’d open the door to reveal a new gem, crystal, mineral, or, yeah, rock. For those who are still learning about rocks and crystals, I appreciate that each door includes the name of each item so that my teens can then go look up their properties and then talk to me endlessly about them. Ha.  ($49.99, Gem Snow on Etsy)

 

A last-minute instant download Advent calendar, for those who put off the choice until November 30

 

Need an Advent calendar ASAP? This printable version from MiniExplorers can have you counting the days in a flash

If you’re just realizing now that you don’t have an Advent calendar and it’s almost December 1st? No worries. We’ve featured a few printable Advent calendars over the years for my fellow procrastinators, and this year is no different.

For 2021, I’m utterly charmed by this instant-download, printable Advent calendar from MiniExplorers. Just make a mark inside each day’s circle to count down to Christmas.

And if it looks familiar to our longtime readers, you may remember MiniExplorers’ adorable Reindeer Advent Calendar we featured a couple of years ago. This year, the artist instead illustrated three somewhat confused Santas; sure hope they figure out who needs to steer that sleigh in time for Christmas. ($4.83 for printable digital download, Etsy)

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