It seems there’s never any shortage of ‘must-have’ holiday items—things marketers bend over backwards trying to convince us are essential. Cedar-scented candles, Santa-themed dishtowels, and endless strings of twinkle lights are lovely to have, I’ll admit, but it’s not illegal to celebrate the holidays without them.
What is a must-have in my house, is an advent calendar. Although my kids would disagree, it’s not about the toy or the chocolate; it’s about the daily reminder that the second-most magical season of the year is upon us. (The first being back to school, obviously.) Opening that tiny, perforated square is a chance to pause and appreciate what a special time Christmas and Hanukkah are, and to build excitement not just for stockings and toys, but for time together and (if we’re really lucky), the true meaning of the season.
So here are 22 of our favorite advent calendars for kids; from toddlers to big kids – plus 3 bonus suggestions that are sure to be hits but have yet to go on sale. Grab them before they’re gone!
TOYS & COLLECTIBLES
At the time of writing, LEGO’s Canadian site has 5 advent calendars available for purchase in various themes, including Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter, LEGO City and LEGO Friends. $49.99-$59.99
This calendar includes 8 tiny cars (smaller than normal Hot Wheels cars) and 16 accessories “for car enthusiasts.” And the box converts to a play mat even before it’s empty. $27.98.
The six-piece playset is part of the new Sofia’s Beauties line from Schleich Horse Club and includes a salon with turntable, two toy horses with brushable manes and tails, two posable characters, and a Maltipu puppy figure. $31.98.
Put an awesome, science-themed twist on the holidays with 25 specimens including genuine rocks, minerals, and fossils and a complete quartz point dig kit. Includes fascinating facts about each specimen, and a storage pouch to keep all their precious new treasures in one place (and off the floor.) $33.99
Your favourite hockey fan will love counting down to Christmas with this Playmobil NHL Advent Calendar. The Road to the Stanley Cup® advent calendar features 3 adult figures and 2 child figures, NHL flags, practice goal, puck bag and pucks, coach, Stanley Cup, bench, cones, and plenty of other fun hockey accessories. $28.04.
Sorry, not sorry. Kids will delight in opening 24 perforated doors each hiding a 1-ounce can of red, green, blue, white, and fun surprise tools. There’s also one 2-ounce can of white Play-Doh Sparkle compound (contains wheat). The box has tear-off playmats with snowman and gingerbread scenes to improve the fun. $33.99
24 fun surprises await your little jumping bean every day with this Fidget Toys Advent Calendar set that features the best tactile toys—in miniature form. $39.99
POPULAR SHOWS & CHARACTERS
The Barbie advent calendar includes 24 different fashions and accessories, and one Barbie doll (12-in/30.40-cm). The package has a fun fashion theme and can be used as a display or backdrop for even more storytelling play. $47.18
The Elf on the Shelf Advent Train comes complete with 24 Christmas tree farm-themed surprises, including 10 elf and elf mini pets, a plastic train engine, 5 plastic train cars, and more. Perfect for the family who hasn’t retired their elf (yet.) $39.54
This Paw Patrol advent calendar is packed with 24 surprise holiday-themed Paw Patrol toys. Once all 24 days have been opened, kids can create an Adventure Bay snow day and send the pups and their friends on exciting holiday missions. Available for pre-order for $29.74.
What’s behind the door today? Toddlers will love discovering a new Little People friend or fun, holiday-themed accessory each day as Christmas comes closer. By December 24th, they’ll have a whole new set of holiday toys! You can even use the Little People Advent Calendar to practice numbers and counting skills with your toddler. $39.97
Open the tiny doors to reveal 24 unique Funko Pocket Pops! featuring some beloved Star Wars™ characters dressed in their winter best. Collectibles vary in height depending on the character. The maximum figure height is approximately 2.1″ tall. Available for pre-order. $59.49
Engage your child in a daily arts and crafts session with this creative calendar that features everything she needs to make a different handmade decoration every day. Comes with a colourful manual with easy, step-by-step instructions. Recommended for ages 9 and up. $44.95
Kick off the season with 24 daily activities to help kids colour their world. The calendar includes 5 doodle scents markers, 1 twistables slick stix, 4 glitter crayons, 4 metallic crayons, 6 paint pots, 1 paint brush, model magic, 2 washable window markers, 1 pip squeaks marker, 20 googly eyes, 1 glitter glue stick, 1 tip sharpener, 19 paper sheets, 1 envelope, 3 sticker sheets, 1 instruction sheet, 3 ribbon pieces, 1glitter glue tube … and a partridge in a pear tree (okay, maybe not the last one.) $49.99
This gorgeous, box-shaped calendar is handmade and features 24 adorable, holiday-themed modeling clay ornaments ranging from 3-4 cm tall. It’s a great way to refresh your tree ornaments or for kids to decorate their rooms. The calendar is reusable too, so you can fill it with your own treats and treasures next year. $61.66
And for the stressed-out teen or tween, this 24 Days of Elfcare calendar is where self-care meets holiday celebration. Every day of this advent countdown offers a humorous and encouraging dose of “elf-care” and a pop-out elf ornament to hang on the tree or add to your holiday decor. $19.99 USD.
CANDY & CHOCOLATE
This unique Hanukkah gift is packaged in a hexagon gift box where 6 individual treat boxes filled with sweet delights await! Includes a dreidel and chocolate gelt – 8 days of treats in all. When the boxes are assembled together, the display creates the shape of the Star of David to display as a centerpiece or mantel decoration. Treats include gumballs, sixlets, Lindor truffles, jelly beans, chocolate kisses, and ice blue mints. All items are Kosher. $26.95
Indulge in 24 days of delicious Lindt milk chocolate crafted specially by Lindt Maître Chocolatiers. The Lindt website currently offers 5 versions of a holiday advent calendar for kids and adults alike, including the iconic gold-foil Lindt Teddy. Prices range from $14.99-$21.99.
How can you go wrong with 24 days of milk, white and dark chocolate wafers nestled within a hazelnut filling and covered in creamy chocolate? $9.88.
Counting down to Christmas just got sweeter with NESTLÉ’s North Pole Friends Holiday Advent Calendar featuring different SMARTIES, AERO, and KITKAT treats behind each door. Travel the world with Santa by counting down the days and discover a new seasonal greeting from around the globe. All treats are individually wrapped and made with natural flavours. $9.98.
At $69.99 this one’s a splurge, but each of the 24 drawers contains 4 pieces of candy so it’s perfect for the family, or for siblings to share. Items from this deluxe tasing collection include dark chocolate sea salt caramels, sprinkle cookies, heavenly sours, peach hearts, and MUCH more. No two doors are alike!
Celebrate Hanukkah by enjoying a delicious taster collection that only Sugarfina can provide. Packaged in a beautiful blue box, each day includes four pieces of kosher candy or chocolate, including sea salt caramels, sugar cookies and sours. $39.99.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR …
At the time of writing, these sure-to-be-popular calendars were available for pre-order or ‘Coming Soon’, so keep an eye out!
Minecraft – $36.54
Jurassic World – $35.69
Funko Classic Disney – $59.49
Now that you’re thinking ahead to the Holidays- don’t forget your Holiday cards, here are some tips to remember.