2020: Bad Surprises. These Advent Calendars: Good Surprises.

Donna Freydkin
·4 mins read

Even if you’re not the type to get really into Christmas, there’s something magical about an Advent calendar. The act of opening tiny little doors to reveal a surprise, once a day for every day of December until Christmas, is like getting 24 teeny presents — even if those little doors contain nothing more than the picture of a glowing candle. Still satisfying!

Advent calendars — for kids or adults; the latter have taken off in recent years — also give a fun, wholesome tempo to the post-Thanksgiving-pre-Christmas season of restless anticipation. There are, of course, plain Advent calendars, but most adult and kids Advent calendars these days contain all manner of tiny gifts behind their doors, ranging from chocolate, booze, and “beard treats,” to Legos and unicorn stamps.

The Best Advent Calendars for Kids

Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar by Crayola

Markers, paints, model magic. The Crayola calendar doesn't skimp on the good stuff. Each opening reveals a Crayola product and corresponding activity for kids.

Buy Now $19.99

Harry Potter Advent Calendar by LEGO

Hold on to your broomstick: This calendar is a whole cabinet of Hogwarts curiosities. It includes Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Padma Patil, Parvati Patil, and Cho Chang minifigures, plus a a miniature Beauxbaton's carriage and dining table with ice-castle centerpiece.

Buy Now $29.45

Unicorn Stamp Advent Calendar by Meri Meri

When kids open the little doors on this Advent calendar, they get a wooden stamp, each featuring unicorns, cherries, and other festive things. Prepare to find all your gifts stamped with said festive things.

BUY NOW $32.00

Star Wars Advent Calendar by LEGO

The LEGO Advent calendar includes buildable characters and vehicles. We're talking Poe Dameron and Darth Vader, plus the Millennium Falcon, an A-wing, a TIE Fighter, X-wing, a Droid Control Ship, and Anakin’s Podracer.

Buy Now $29.96

Santa's Workshop Advent Calendar by Playmobil

Here's the cool thing about this calendar: Once kids have all the pieces, on December 24, they use them to build Santa's sleigh, work bench, reindeer, slide, bike, toys, and backdrop. It offers both daily gratification and a big payoff at the end. Gifts within gifts.

Buy Now $24.99

Enamel Pin Advent Calendar by Meri Meri

Each opening in this beautiful calendar contains an enamel pin that kids can wear. And once Christmas is over, it can be used as a treasure box.

BUY NOW $21.00

Advent Calendar by Petit Collage

Made from recycled paper, this calendar features 24 pop-out character and a festive winter scene where the bear, koala, and other friends can load up on Christmas cheer.

BUY NOW $24.00

Woodland Wooden Advent Calendar by L.L. Bean

If you'd rather come up with your own gifts, for kids or adults, consider this gorgeous, classic calendar that, in true L.L. Bean style, will last for years. The drawers open, and you insert your own thoughtful gift (or, you know, candy) in each one.

BUY NOW $60.00

The Best Adult Advent Calendars

Whiskey Advent Calendar by Flaviar

Three cheers to this calendar, which has 24 vials of 1.7 ounce premium whiskey, along with flavor notes for each drink. It's here for you when you get frustrated at having to put together a 674-piece toy at 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

BUY NOW $250.00

Limited-Edition Skincare Advent Calendar by Kiehl's

This calendar delivers on excellent skin-care goods, perfect for 2020 self-care rituals. Some of the items included are the brand's signature facial cleanser, the Creme de Corps body lotion, and Facial Fuel moisturizer for men.

BUY NOW $98.00

Caramel Advent Calendar by McCrea’s

Your family (translation: you) will appreciate this sweet calendar, which has a different handcrafted caramel — with offbeat flavors like anisette, tapped maple, cinnamon clove, and black lava sea salt — in each day.

BUY NOW $35.00

12 Nights of Wine Advent Calendar by Vinebox

Rich reds. Chill whites. You get 12 bottles that Vinebox hand-picks for you throughout the holidays. The box includes a mix of reds and whites, including French pinot noir and Sicilian chardonnay.

BUY NOW $129.00

Holiday Favorites Playlist Advent Calendar by Uncommon Goods

If you're sick of the same tired tunes, upgrade your holiday music game with this calendar. When you scratch off each day, you see a QR code for a new classic holiday song each day.

BUY NOW $25.00

Signature Holiday Advent Calendar by L'Occitane

The French skin care brand really delivers, even in miniature. Calendar gifts include hand creams, shampoos, shower oils, lip balms, and anti-aging creams, all in a very cheerful package.

Buy Now $64.00

Advent Calendar by Godiva

Never miss a sugar fix with this collection. It includes a chocolate Santa, snowman, and penguin, along with the brand's classic bites.

BUY NOW $40.00

Makeup Advent Calendar by Sephora

A beauty fanatic's dream, this calendar is crammed with masks, eyeliners, lipsticks, and hair accessories.

BUY NOW $45.00

Advent Calendar by Jo Malone

The British company renowned for its luxury scents has a correspondingly swanky calendar. The 24 little treats include colognes, miniature candles, and body lotions.

BUY NOW $450.00

Dog Advent Calendar by Wüfers

Don't forget Fido! This calendar contains 23 mini bones and one special mini-paw cookie.

Buy Now $44.00

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