For as joyful as Christmas morning can be—with bow-bedecked packages spilling from beneath the tree, each one promising something new and exciting—for kids, the days and weeks leading up to the big day might be even better. Especially when they can count them down with an advent calendar. And especially when said advent calendar is a trove of tiny treasures.
When it comes to kids’ advent calendars, there are two ways to go. Either you’re a traditionalist who prefers to pick out all the treats and DIY or you prefer to go the already packed and ready route. For the former, there are countless reusable advent calendars out there that can easily become an instant family heirloom. From felted wall hangings you can personalize with your last name to sturdy wooden chests with tiny drawers for treats, there’s a version for every kind of decor aesthetic.
Related: The holiday tradition we look forward to every year
For the latter, there’s an endless supply of kids’ advent calendars that appeal to basically every interest. Popular toy brands like LEGO and Playmobil offer annual favorites that never fail to fly off the shelves. There are calendars filled with chocolates and tiny story books and even charm bracelets to build throughout the month. Truth be told, the hardest part is choosing only one.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorites in both categories to make it just a tiny bit easier. But be warned! Some of the most popular ones sell out pretty quickly, so don’t wait to snap them up.
This holiday season, make your little ones’ eyes light up brighter than a Christmas tree with one of these advent calendars for kids.
Advent calendars for kids
From KiwiCo, makers of brain-boosting hands-on STEAM kits for kids of all ages, this fun calendar lets kiddos build their own Christmas Village throughout the month. Inside each of the 24 envelopes they’ll find supplies and instructions for crafting everything from a reindeer and sled to the town hall with a roof that opens and closes. It can be enjoyed by kids of various ages, but the sweet spot is the 5-7 age group.
Crafty kiddos (and their parents!) will delight in this DIY calendar filled with a new felt-sticker ornament to assemble each day. The best part is, no sewing necessary! We love that the ornaments can then be used year after year or put on their own tiny tree one day at time.
Filled with Madrigal family surprises, this adorable calendar includes all their favorite characters and a collection of accessories. And we’re not gonna lie. Luisa’s our favorite.
New last year, this is the advent calendar we never knew we needed. Inside the book you’ll find a pop up Christmas tree and 25 doors which lift to reveal an ornament to add each day. It’s packed with hilarious classic moments and motifs along with a 28-page companion guide to relive all their favorite antics. The best part? You can tuck it all away and use it year after year!
With their big heads and tiny bodies, the Funko Pocket Pops are always super cute (even the scary ones!). The advent calendars make an instant collection and come in variety of themes that kids of all ages adore. The Disney version is an easy pick but there’s also other top-tier options like Star Wars, Harry Potter and even Fortnite.
If there isn’t a LEGO Star Wars advent calendar at your house is it even December? (Just me?) This year’s annual classic includes 10 new mini build vehicles and some not-to-be missed special edition mini figures. All I have to say is R2-D2 and C-3PO are wearing holiday sweaters with each other’s faces.
I can’t say I understand it, but my daughter is completely obsessed with these things. I guess it’s hard to resist miniature, even when it’s postage stamp size empty boxes of Cheezits and Oxyclean. To be fair, they are perfectly sized for Barbie’s Dreamhouse.🤷♀️ If you’ve got a kid with similar tastes, they’ll be thrilled to open a new teeny tiny grocery item each morning. And my sources say some of these advent exclusives are real hot for playground trades this year.
We love advent calendars that add up to something truly special! This sweet jewelry box contains a bracelet and collection of cute carved acrylic and tassel charms they can attach each day. The box itself is made from heavy card stock which they can also reuse for years to come.
Can’t plan a trip to the North Pole? This advent calendar gives tykes the next best thing. Each piece works together to bring Santa’s Workshop to life—just in time for Christmas Eve! It’s classic Playmobil which means the scene will be part of your family traditions for years to come, so long as the pieces don’t get lost. There are 106 of them and some are pretty tiny, so we recommend waiting until around age six for this one.
For the tinier Playmobil lovers, we’re fans of this sweet calendar which brings Santa to the forest to see all his favorite woodland creatures. The pieces are much chunkier than the above option and there are only 28 to keep track of until next year.
Melissa & Doug
Get kids in on the holiday spirit by giving them their own tree to decorate. Each day little ones pick a magnetized ornament to add to this mini wooden fir.
Let us count the ways in which we love Fisher-Price Little People. We loved them when we were little and now we’re snatching up the incredible pop culture sets left and right so “our kids” can play with them. 😉 (The Golden Girls?? Come On!) With 24 holiday-themed friends and accessories, kids as young as 1 year old will delight in opening their calendar every day. Tuck it away when the tree comes down or fold it into their year-round collection.
Crafty kids will delight in unearthing a new art supply (think: markers, clay, and paints) each day of the season. Then, they can channel their inner-artists to let their imaginations run wild.
This year’s LEGO City advent calendar features LEGO City Adventures faves Billy, Maddy, Mr. Produce, Tippy and Raze, plus a Santa minifigure to count down to the big day. It also packs some fun builds to keep them busy along the way.
Hatchimals have long been a favorite under the tree. Now kiddos can get hatching long before Santa slides down the chimney with this calendar that holds Hatchimals-themed collectibles, stickers and other trinkets.
For those who like their holly-jolly with a side of high speed, this Micro Machines calendar delivers. Kids will get several new sets of wheels, as well as some other holiday-themed car accessories. The box itself folds down to reveal a track to race around–with plenty of space in the center to display the tree!
Disney fans will love this delightful calendar that gifts them a new small Disney book each day. Each tiny book is individually wrapped and tucked inside a pocket which makes it feel extra special. And since this one changes every year, it’s a fun tradition to start.
Chock-full of fun gifts like jewelry, hair accessories and little crafts, this one is a highly-rated hit for kids ages 5 and up. There’s a fashionable new treat each day without repeat along with some fun holiday trivia!
Budding geologists will delight in this fun and educational calendar that’s jam-packed with treasures. Each day they receive a new rock or fossil to add to their pouch with the final specimen encased in a brick that needs excavating. The calendar even includes a dig tool and brush to help, along with a magnifying glass to inspect their findings!
Our favorite reusable advent calendars
Like their adorable pop-up cards, the Nativity advent calendar from Lovepop features colorful paper pop-ups each housed in their own special envelope. This sweet set tells the story of Christmas through 25 people and props and can be used year after year if you’re gentle with it!
Little ones will delight in sending a new character down the rollercoaster each day! The collection of elves, gingerbread people and fun seasonal shapes can be stored in Santa’s sack as they wait their turn.
Inspired by Alma
We love this simple design that lets the decor around and gifts within it shine.
For the Magnatiles-obsessed, this building set turned advent calendar is a fun way to start the day.
Anthro’s 2022 offering looks straight out of a Wes Anderson film–and we’re totally gaga for it. Of course pink is totally in this year, but the overall look is beautiful and timeless with script numbers and snow-drenched wreaths among the windows. The hardest part will be putting it away come January. It’s just so pretty!
With its sweet, hand-embroidered details this 24-pocket wall-hanging calendar is simply beautiful. We love the laid back denim feel!
This garland-style Advent calendar is a cozy stunner. Tuck a treat into each of the tiny hand-knit hats and mittens all month long!
Wooden train sets make for timeless holiday decor. Combine the aesthetic with a sweet reusable advent calendar and you have a monthlong gift for the entire family!
Colorful pom-poms make everything more festive! This personalized calendar is perfect for your little one’s room–if they can resist peeking at the days ahead, of course.
With its antique aesthetic and timeless metal construction, you could easily tell anyone who asks that this one’s been in the family for 100 years.
Rifle Paper Co.
The excitement comes in the anticipation and this advent calendar from Rifle Paper Co. captures that perfectly—without the need for any extra “stuff” or candies. Similar to your child’s favorite fold-a-flap book, this advent calendar has a special illustration hiding behind each day’s flap. It’s the perfect conversation starter for talking to your kids about what they’re most excited about this holiday season, or for sharing your own holiday memories with them.
This beautiful calendar is a showpiece. It lights up to create a cozy and festive scene.
Acts of Kindness
The holidays are all about giving—and that doesn’t stop with just material items. We can give in the form of kindness every single day, and this calendar helps us do just that. Each day, this calendar suggests a different kind deed you and your family can do for others: Donate clothes, send cards to the armed forces, call a relative and so much more.
If you dream of Christmas in the Alps (festooned in glitter), look no further than Pottery Barn’s glitter house calendar. The battery-operated lights will make this an instantly festive part of your holiday decor. Plus, each little house can hide a treat to help hold them over until Christmas morning.
Coral & Tusk
For a whimsical and sweet Christmas countdown, Coral & Tusk’s embroidered advent calendar is perfect. Place a tiny treat in each of the 12 pockets and get lost in forestland daydreams of snow-covered winter scenes.
The possibilities are endless with these adorable houses made of kraft paper. They look adorable on a mantle, on the tree, on the dinner table—anything goes!
A version of this story was published October 25, 2021. It has been updated.