If you and your family are counting down the days until Christmas, add some fun to your anticipation with an Advent calendar.
There are plenty of Advent calendars on the market, including ones that hide chocolates behind tiny doors and those with magnetic figurines. Many Advent calendars are reusable as well, so you can look forward to using it every year.
To help you choose the best Advent calendar for your family, we’ve taken a closer look at this year’s trends. Our updated short list includes one of our long-standing favorites as well as two charming new arrivals.
Best Advent calendars of 2020
We were big fans of last year’s version, so we’re pleased to include this year’s calendar.
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This space-saving magnetic Advent calendar joins our list for the second year in a row.
We’re excited to include this soft-toy Advent calendar on our short list for the first time.
For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.
What you need to know before buying an advent calendar
When choosing an Advent calendar, a good place to start is by selecting a theme that appeals to your family.
If you prefer an Advent calendar that depicts Christian traditions, there are varieties that feature beautiful artwork of the nativity scene, three wise men, or angels. These Advent calendars rarely come with gifts, and instead, they have little doors that reveal more of the main image every day.
Some Advent calendars stick with more generic holiday themes, such as Santa Claus or snowmen. Children’s variations of these Advent calendars may include popular characters from television, movies, or video games. These types of Advent calendars remain incredibly popular and feature tiny gifts like chocolates or toys behind their doors.
Luxury Advent calendars are geared toward adults and may come with lofty price tags. These types may include wines, craft beers, gourmet chocolates, makeup, or perfume samplers.
Another consideration for Advent calendars is whether you prefer a single-year/single-use design as opposed to a reusable one.
Single-year/single-use Advent calendars are generally affordable and hold up for the month. However, they’re not very eco-friendly since they’re likely made with single-use plastic and paper.
For that reason, some people prefer sturdier reusable Advent calendars that last through years of use. These are made from lasting materials such as cloth, wood, or plastic. While they cost more up front and there’s an annual cost of filling the calendar with goodies, they end up being more cost-effective than single-use Advent calendars.
Single-use Advent calendars usually cost $10 and below. Mid-range options including reusable cloth Advent calendars cost $15 to $50. High-quality reusable calendars may be made of wood and cost closer to $100, while most luxury calendars cost $125 and above.
FAQ Q. What’s the best way to display an Advent calendar?
A. For one, place it in a high-traffic area in your home, either on a countertop or mounted on the wall. Some Advent calendars come with their own mounting hardware, though many homeowners opt to use alternative mounting solutions that won’t damage walls, such as removable adhesive strips or hooks.
Q. Besides candy and toys, what other goodies can I use to fill an Advent calendar?
A. Include pieces of paper with affirmations, excerpts from scripture, or famous quotes. Coins are another popular choice. Other options include costume jewelry, lip gloss, hair accessories, or mini figurines.
In-depth reviews for best Advent calendars
Best of the best: LEGO Star Wars 2020 Advent Calendar
What we like: Updated design includes all the new beloved characters, including a Porgs. Pieces can be used with other LEGO Star Wars sets. Some pieces have cute Christmas accessories.
What we dislike: The tabs can be challenging for little fingers to open. Pricey option.
Best bang for your buck: Melissa & Doug Wooden Advent Calendar
What we like: A reusable calendar with a space-saving design. Pieces are cut well and the set as a whole lacks sharp edges, making it safe for kids to use. Colors are bright and engaging.
What we dislike: Because the magnets aren’t very strong, pieces can fall off the tree.
What we like: Hanging calendar that uses Velcro and plush figurines. Pockets are deep enough to hold figurines as well as small Advent treats. Can be rolled up for easy storage.
What we dislike: Velcro isn’t very sticky, so pieces tend to fall off if they’re not pressed on firmly.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
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