I’m not super religious, but I’m a fan of the advent calendar. I think it’s a nostalgia thing. I had one every year when I was a kid and I really liked it. My kids like it too.
When I was a kid, my advent calendar had a small piece of chocolate behind each of the doors. It was good, but not really the kind of thing I want to give my kids. Mostly because I inevitably miss a day or two and suddenly my son is eating three chocolates before bed on a school night and it’s a nightmare getting him down.
Which is why I came up with this list of my favorite non-candy advent calendars. Some I’ve tried, the ones that I haven’t, I’ve left to the pros to tell me if it’s worth it.
1. Lego Series Advent Calendar
This one is 100% my favorite. In fact, I already bought the Lego Star Wars advent calendar for my six-year-old this year. Aside from the fact that it’s Lego, what I really like about these is there’s a little something for everyone. If Star Wars isn’t your kid’s thing, they have a Lego Friends advent calendar and a Lego City advent calendar. The website Pocket Lint points out the Star Wars advent calendar is also great for adults.
2. Reindeer Wooden Advent Calendar
My mom doesn’t have this Reindeer Wooden advent calendar but she does have an advent calendar like it. When my son was younger, she would fill the doors with things like quarters, small candies, and things like Hot Wheels. Every day was a cool surprise for my son and he loved it! The best thing was, it was something she could pack away and then pull out next Christmas.
If you want something a little different, there’s also a really cool Wooden Sleigh Village advent calendar.
3. Melissa & Doug Wooden Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
I haven’t tried this one personally but The Simple Parent has. I like it for the little ones because Melissa and Doug make quality toys that seem to hold up to a little abuse. My toddler doesn’t need toys or candy so this Melissa & Doug Wooden Christmas Tree advent calendar is perfect.
4. Crayola Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar
The website Heavy suggests the Crayola Christmas Countdown advent calendar. This one is super cool because each day doesn’t just come with an art item, but also an art project to go with it. Some days it’s coloring, but other days it’s an ornament project with modeling clay.
5. Mochi Squishies Advent Calendar
Most kids love things that they can squish and these squishies are the perfect answer to that. The Mochi Squishies advent calendar isn’t sold by Amazon, so you’ll probably have to wait a little longer for shipping, but I think it’s worth it.
6. Hatchimals Colleggtibles Advent Calendar
The Daily Beast considers this one of the best advent calendars for kids. I really don’t understand the obsession with Hatchimals, but I know some kids are super into them. I guess that’s why the Hatchimals Colleggtibles advent calendar is well received by customers.
7. Paw Patrol Advent Calendar
If your kid is anything like mine, he’s in love with Paw Patrol. Rocky, Chase, Ryder, you name it, he knows it. That’s why this Paw Patrol advent calendar is such a great deal. Kids get a number of characters that are sure to make them smile. The Today Show agrees, calling it “woof-wonderful”.
8. Playmobil Advent Calendar
The really cool thing about Playmobil is its ability to make a bunch of different advent calendars so you can make sure it fits the kid you’re buying for. House Beautiful likes the Santa’s Workshop advent calendar, but there’s also the Horse Farm advent calendar and a Jewel Thief Police Operation advent calendar among others.