Counting down to a countdown? That’s a bit how shopping for advent calendars in early November can feel, but with so many selling out (and so quickly), it’s best to stock up early to avoid disappointment. Just no peeking, right?
FOR A CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CALENDAR
This classic chocolate advent calendar is filled with two Hershey kisses in each dated door. In theory, little ones could share their treat daily (or this would work for siblings). Available on Amazon.
FOR THE POP CULTURE LOVER
Could this advent calendar BE any more popular? Friends may have gone off the air 17 years ago but its popularity continues to soar. These 25 days of Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler and Joey include small trinkets and ornaments that fans of the show will instantly recognize. Available on Amazon.
Harry Potter has become a winter holiday staple — this set of 24 Wizard World Funko POP! miniatures (max two inches in height) can be added to an existing display (like a Hogwarts LEGO castle) or holiday village — they’ll fit right in. Available on Amazon.
Playmobil is technically for children, but considering Back to the Future came out in 1985, this advent calendar is more likely to appeal to caregivers than kids. (Also, Doc and Marty travelled to the future and it was Oct. 21, 2015.)
Available at Well.ca.
PUT TOGETHER THESE LEGO CALENDARS
The Avengers tend to take over everything, including Christmas. This LEGO set is a daily activity that includes the big-name heroes as well as accessories and a backdrop Marvel fans will recognize. For ages seven and up. Available on Amazon and at Toys R Us.
Start (or add to) a Lego City Friends collection with this holiday-themed advent calendar. Winter sports, baking, stockings and characters can be positioned into different scenes for hours of play. For ages six and up. Available on Amazon.
PERSONAL CARE CALENDARS
Skin care devotees will be wowed by this super luxurious (and pricey) selection of Dr. Barbara Strum’s products, like hand cream, face mask, vitamin C serum, cleanser, glow drops and more. It’s an amazing way to try multiple items from a high-end line without committing to full-size product. Available at Sephora.
The Body Shop doesn’t give away exactly what’s in its Share the Joy 24 days of Christmas calendar, but the element of surprise is part of the fun. There are some hints, like the TK body butters and bubble baths, along with a note on how to spread good cheer this season. Available at The Body Shop.
ORNAMENT ADVENT CALENDARS
If chocolate or small toys aren’t a fit for little ones, this sweet felt calendar has 24 small ornaments kids can hang on a tree. This calendar has multiple five-star reviews, is handmade by a Vancouver seller and is customizable. Available on Etsy.
Turn an advent calendar into a daily activity with this Kids Made Modern Ornament A Day Kit. The classics are here, like clothespin Rudolph, as well as all the materials, from paint to googly eyes. Keep them all for yourself or hand them out at the holidays as keepsakes for aunts, uncles and grandparents. Available at Indigo.
This custom-made wood calendar with a plaid and Christmas tree lot motif will be an instant family heirloom. The dated slots are not filled, so there’s no set theme to stick to and it can be highly personalized. Available on Etsy.
This highly unique Mastercraft Advent Calendar Tool Set is 24 days of handiness that any toy workshop could use. It’s a great way to start off a new set or help a child build their very own toolkit they will use for years to come. It’s 37 pieces and reviewers rave about the quality and usefulness of it. Available at Canadian Tire.
Want the look of an advent calendar but don’t need the 24 pieces that come with it? An advent calendar tea towel or colour-in tablecloth (great for a kids’ table) captures the spirit without all the extra stuff. Available at Simons.
ADVENT CALENDARS YOU CAN EAT AND DRINK
The hardest part about having this super adorable box of Christmas cookies around is making sure they all don’t get eaten in one sitting. (Only the 12-box is still available and selling very fast.)
Available on Etsy.
This Santa’s Workshop advent calendar by Sugarfina has 24 days of treats (each door contains four pieces of candy). This one is indulgent enough for kids and cute enough to keep on the mantle (we especially love the red/blue paint job on Santa’s workshop). Available at Indigo.
The great thing about this set from David’s Tea is that even if you don’t feel like having your cuppa right when you open, it can be stashed away at a later date. There’s a sneak peek of blends listed on the website, but no spoilers here. Available at David’s Tea.
Bonne Maman preserves are always a treat and this 24-pack is the perfect lead up to an epic Boxing Day brunch. The assortment of made-in-France jams and honey to try out is sure to yield some new family favourites. Available at London Drugs.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS CALENDARS
For a wearable countdown to Christmas, this women's sock collection has 12 festive pairs that can be worn this year and kept for holidays to come. It would make a great early gift for the super holiday host in your life. Available on Amazon.
Every year, makeup advent calendars fly off the shelves. This one from Benefit Beauty has 12 days of its best-selling products and customer favourites, including “They’re Real” mascara, a face primer, brow gel, a makeup brush and more. All items come in mini/travel sizes. Available at Sephora.
Voluspa makes very luxurious and pretty candles — this set includes warm scents like French Cade Lavender, Vanilla Fireside and Forbidden Fig. The candles are 1 oz, which according to Voluspa will yield around 15 hours burn time. Available at Sephora.