Makers have gotten creative with Advent calendars, taking things beyond chalky chocolate, goofy socks, and LEGO characters. I’ve been searching for a new calendar to suit each kids’ interests this year, and I think I’ve started looking early enough to find the jackpot. Hope you have the same luck!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Kim’s note: I try to keep this list updated but as December nears, these calendars do tend to sell out.
Unexpectedly Unique Advent Calendars
Cookie Advent Calendar
When ordering this calendar, there is the option of 12 or 24 hand-decorated, individually wrapped Chrismas sugar cookies.
Price: $48-$95 (Etsy)
Tea Advent Calendar
Choice of either biodegradable pyramid tea bags or traditional loose leaf, as well as the choice of blends for the calendar (Christmas seasonal blends, Breakfast blends, Caffeine Free or Supreme Single Origin).
Price: $39.99-$43.99 (Etsy)
Movie Advent Calendar
This advent calendar contains 24 Christmas films to watch (or stream) along with a bit of interesting trivia on each movie. Movies aren't included.
Price: $15.33 (Etsy)
Body & Earth Bath Set
The calendar contains 24 holiday-themed bath products like a glitter bath bomb and bath salt, as well as pom-pom socks and a Santa hat.
Price: $49.99 (Amazon)
Hot Sauce Advent Calendar
This calendar serves up 24 days of heat in 12 fiery hot sauce flavors, including abanero, cayenne pepper, sriracha sauce, chipotle sauce, scorpion sauce, tabasco sauce, jalapeno, Naga Jolokia, Louisiana style sauce, Caribbean style, scotch bonnet and orange habanero hot sauce.
Price: $69.99 (Amazon)
Coffee Advent Calendar (Freshly Roasted)
If K cups aren't for you, this calendar includes 24 sachets of freshly-roasted coffee beans (choice of whole or ground).
Price: $55-$80 (Etsy)
Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar
This advent calendar contains 24 hot chocolate pods in six flavors: Milk Chocolate, Mint, Toffee Caramel, Salted Caramel, Milk Chocolate Orange and Dark Chocolate. Compatible with Nespresso.
Price: $50 (Amazon)
Candle Or Wax Melt Advent Calendar
Choose an assortment of handmade wax melts or candles, or get a combo of both, to complete this Adent calendar.
Price: $34.99-$99.99 (Etsy)
Fly Fisherman's Advent Calendar
This calendar conttains 23 hand-tied fresh water flies. Day 1, by the way, is the waterproof fly box.
Price: $82.32 (Etsy)
OPI Advent Calendar
Get 25 shades of mini nail lacquer bottles, some with limited bejeweled effects.
Price: $73.73 (Amazon; on-sale starting Oct. 1)
Clinique Advent Calendar
There are 24 travel-sized minis of Clinique products including moisturizers, makeup remover, fragrances and makeup.
Price: $75 (Amazon)
Crystal and Mineral Advent Calendar
Get 25 crystals and minerals in a choice of give patterns (bees, gnomes, stars, rainbow, or geode.
Price: $135 (Etsy)
Dad Joke Advent Calendar
Open up 24 awesomely bad dad jokes, and the calendar can be personalized.
Price: $18.73 (Etsy)
Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles Advent Calendar
The official Lindt Advent calendar containing 24 truffles, including milk chocolate, white chocolate truffles, milk chocolate with hazelnut, white chocolate with strawberry & cream, milk chocolate coconut, swiss milk chocolate with caremal, and milk chocolate truffles with a white chocolate filling.
Price: $40 (Amazon)
Walkers Shortbread Advent Calendar
The calendar contains 24 festively-shaped shortbread cookies
Price: $51 to $59
Christmas Curiosities Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
The Cabinet of Holiday Curiosities for those looking for something a little different this holiday season - I'm talking curious gifts focusing on unusual holiday customs, odd celebrations, and world-wide traditions on the creepier or quirkier side. For ages 10+.
Price: $65.95 (Etsy)
Women Philosophers Tea Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
A handmade calendar where each day reveals a quote from the philosopher and a different tea bag.
Price: $27.90 (Etsy)
The Body Shop Share The Joy Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
The calendar contains 24 cruelty-free beauty items including body scrubs, bubble bath, shower gel and more.
Price: $72.92 (Amazon)
Cat Lover's Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
A stylish calendar housed in a suitcase where each day reveals a wooden cat or cat bed or Christmas tree.
Price: $52 (Etsy)
Stationary Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
Each box is different, but they typically have washi tapes, sticker packs, stamps, and paper ephemera packs. Opt for 12-day or 24-day calendars.
Price: $42-$77 (Etsy)
Coffee Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
The handmade calendar comes in a box featuring an assortment of K Cups paired with creamers.
Price: $48-$78 (Etsy)
Bookish Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
Contents: An Advent calendar for, well, bookish people. Expect 12 days of of items like a bookish sign, tote bag, wristlets, passport cover, candle ornament etc.
Price: $46.75 (Etsy)
D&D Advent Calendar (SOLD OUT)
The Advent calender has a minimum of 12 random, handmade miniatures (11 medium size and 1 large or huge), There are two options to choose from -- prepainted miniatures or unpainted miniatures.
Price: $65-$75 (Etsy)
DIY Advent calendars
I know some of you are crafty types, so making your own Advent calendar isn’t a stretch. I’ve done a 12 Days of Christmas Countdown, without all the pretty Etsy packaging, so it can be done on the cheap.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. Small gifts either fitting a theme or just totally random. Advent calendars are typically 12 days or 24 days, though some are 25 days.
Omaha friends, you can find calendar fillers locally, and not just at the Target Dollar Spot.
Candy theme: Find small, individually-wrapped candy or novelty candy at Hollywood Candy in the Old Market. If you want artisan chocolates — I’m talking pieces so pretty you may not want to eat them — go to Chocolat Abeille in Bellevue or The Cordial Cherry at Shops of Legacy.
Don’t forget cotton candy as an option (Spin Cotton Candy offers local pick-up in the Omaha area). Freeze-dried candy is another option made locally.
Food & drink theme: Beyond candy, look to places like The Asian Market near 76th and Dodge streets for truly unique snacks and foods. Got a coffee fan? A Hill of Beans in West Omaha sells 4 oz. bags of their roasts. The Village Grinder at Countryside Village also has small bags of coffee for sale. A hot cocoa bomb or two would also be a great item to include.
Locally-made theme: The obvious first stop should be one of the Made in Omaha locations, where they’ll have keychains, toffees, and all sorts of other small items that can be used. Etsy is my other go-to, whether you want a locally-made bookmark, pin, sticker or toy.
2. Numbered bags, wrapping paper, or some other way to keep the item a surprise until the day it’s supposed to be open. There are options to make your life easy — like pre-numbered burlap sacks and holiday bags with stickers.
If you’re thinking of making a boozy Advent calendar for a friend or spouse (or yourself…), there are calendars made just for that — you just have to add the booze.