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Which Advent calendar is best?

Christmas is a big event. In fact, it is so big that people celebrate not only the holiday itself but also the anticipation of the holiday as well. Besides putting up lights, decorating and buying presents, many people countdown the days leading up to Dec. 25. To do this, they use an Advent calendar.

The best Advent calendar will be one that has a theme that excites the recipient. If it is a child, for instance, the LEGO Friends Advent Calendar is an excellent choice. This surprise-a-day calendar allows your child to assemble an entire festive playset one piece at a time until Christmas arrives.

What to know before you buy an Advent calendar

What is an Advent calendar?

An Advent calendar is a special calendar designed to build anticipation as you count down the days until Christmas. These calendars often feature a number of compartments that are opened, one each day, for 24 days. Inside the compartment, you will find a treat or a little toy surprise.

When is the first day of Advent?

While most commercial Advent calendars simply begin on the first day of December, Advent actually begins four Sundays before Christmas. So, if you get a calendar specific to the year, it may begin anywhere between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.

One-time-use vs. refillable advent calendar

Not all Advent calendars offer a surprise each day. Some merely provide a way to countdown the days until Christmas. However, when considering the Advent calendars that do offer a treat, you will find that there are two types: one-time-use and refillable ones.

  • One-time-use: Advent calendars that are made to be used once are often manufactured using flimsy materials, such as cardboard, and have perforated compartments that you must tear to open. Because of this, they may be more affordable than refillable Advent calendars. However, as indicated by the name, you can only use these calendars once, and you must buy a new calendar the following year. Hence, you will have an annual expense.
  • Refillable: A refillable Advent calendar is made of durable materials, such as wood, so it can be used year after year. Because of this, it is often more expensive than a one-time-use Advent calendar. Although you will not have to buy a new refillable Advent calendar every year, you will have to purchase the treats, which go inside the compartments.

What to look for in a quality Advent calendar


Some Advent calendars are small, lightweight items made of fabric that can be hung on a wall. Other models are larger items that must be placed on a table for display. The larger an Advent calendar is, the larger the prizes it can accommodate. Consider the amount of room you have in your home so you can purchase an Advent calendar of the proper size.


While this may seem like a minor feature, some kids love hunting for the next surprise and prefer an Advent calendar that is not laid out in sequential order. If you have a model with removable drawers, and all the drawers are the same size, you can arrange them in whatever order you prefer.


Advent calendars are such popular items that they have extended beyond use for religious purposes and can be used to celebrate the winter season in general. Because of this, you can purchase Advent calendars that have a wide variety of themes.

  • Religious advent calendars: These calendars are for Christians who want to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They may feature figures from the nativity scene, Bible verses, iconic religious symbols and more.
  • Christmas Advent calendars: For the individual who celebrates a secular Christmas, these Advent calendars may feature Santa Claus, Christmas trees, presents, toys, candy and other traditional holiday themes.
  • Winter Advent calendars: There are Advent calendars with a number of winter themes available for individuals of other faiths or people who just want to enjoy the season.

How much you can expect to spend on an Advent calendar

While the general price range for a kids’ Advent calendar is between $12-$50, it is possible to find ones with more expensive surprises that cost as much as $150 or more.

Advent calendar FAQ

Are there adult advent calendars?

A. Of course! Advent calendars for adults can feature ornaments, tea, makeup, wine, collectables, chocolate, fruit spreads, bath bombs, jewelry, socks and more.

Is a typical Advent calendar 24 or 25 days?

A. While an Advent calendar that features 24 days is common because Christmas is the day you are anticipating, there are some calendars that also feature a surprise for Dec. 25.

What are the best Advent calendars to buy?

Top Advent calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

What you need to know: If your child likes LEGO, this smartly designed kit contains enough items to assemble a seasonal wonderland by Christmas.

What you’ll love: With a total of 370 pieces, this LEGO kit helps ensure your child will have something to look forward to each day in December. Hidden behind the doors, your child will find such prizes as micro figures, a puppy, a kitten, a robot, a piano, a snowboard, a sled and more. Many of these buildable toys have moving parts to make them even more fun to play with.

What you should consider: While not every day is a stellar surprise, the pieces of this Advent calendar do combine to create an impressive set.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Advent calendar for the money

Coogam Metal Wire Puzzle Toys Advent Calendar

Coogam Metal Wire Puzzle Toys Advent Calendar

What you need to know: If you are looking for an affordable Advent calendar that offers your child a different challenge every day, the 24 wire puzzles in this option will fit your needs.

What you’ll love: The wire puzzles in this kit are durable and feature no sharp edges. There are five different levels that increase in difficulty as the month progresses. The puzzles in this set encourage creative thinking and help develop fine motor skills.

What you should consider: The box is a little flimsy, which means some of the puzzles can shift, giving you some days when you get multiples and some days when you get no puzzles.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

The Purple Cow The Crazy Scientist Advent Calendar

The Purple Cow The Crazy Scientist Advent Calendar

What you need to know: This educational Advent calendar is perfect for the inquisitive child who has a thirst for knowledge and wants to better understand the world around them.

What you’ll love: There are 24 activities in this Advent calendar along with a full-color instruction book and a board game. Each experiment comes packaged in its own colorful little box to help you keep things organized. The activities included in this Advent calendar are suitable for kids age 6 and up.

What you should consider: Some activities require a few common household items that do not come with the Advent calendar.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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