The big day is nearly in sight – Christmas is a matter of weeks away! I'm sure you've started shopping the kids' Christmas presents, maybe even put up the tree – but whatever you do, don’t forget about their advent calendars!
The anticipation and build-up to the special visit from Santa is almost as magic as the big day itself, and opening a new window and getting a treat as you count down the days just adds to the magic.
Kids' advent calendars have come a long way since the cardboard versions which only revealed a picture that they had back when we were kids. These days you can get Lego kits, Disney books and Kinder Surprise eggs.
We’ve gathered the best together and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re after something for a toddler who’s crazy about cars or a mini Star Wars fanatic. The more popular advent calendars for children often sell out – so it's a good idea to get in there and order them early.
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Best boys and girls advent calendars for all ages
Disney storybook advent calendar, £9.99, Amazon
Ages: suitable for all ages
This children's advent calendar was quick to sell out last year, so get in there fast if you want to snap one up for your little Disney fans at home. You can buy now and it ships at the start of October when it officially launches. There’s an individually-wrapped storybook to open each day featuring the beloved Franchise’s classic characters, including Mickey, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and more taking part in page after page of Christmas adventures. There’s also a storybook children's advent calendar exclusively about Disney princesses up for grabs. And the 2020 version is still available to buy.
Disney storybook advent calendar, £24.99, NotOnTheHighStreet
Fans of the iconic children's tale The Gruffalo's Child will love this musical advent calendar featuring characters from the story and three songs from the original Gruffalo's Child soundtrack. Open the 25 doors to reveal pop-up scenery, stickers and dancing characters that skate around the Music Box base as you count down to Christmas!
Hungry Caterpillar advent calendar, £8.69, Amazon
Ages: suitable for all ages
This is actually a rare find these days - a children's advent calendar that goes back to basics. There's a fun image behind each door themed around classic children's tale The Hungry Caterpillar.
Mr Men Little Miss advent calendar, £17.28, Amazon
Ages: suitable for all ages
Here's another great children's advent calendar for mini bookworms! There are 24 mini books to discover from the Mr Men and Little Miss series, with festive and faitytale themes.
Peppa Pig advent book collection, £19.10, Amazon
Ages: Suitable for all ages
Countdown to Christmas with a new mini storybook featuring Peppa Pig, George Pig and all their friends. And there's a special Christmas Eve story on the final day
V-Tech Toot Toot drivers advent calendar, £34.49, Amazon
Personalised baby's first advent calendar, £20, NotOnTheHighStreet
Ages: For baby's first Christmas
This is such a cute idea. Personalise it with baby's name, and there's a space every day to write a memory of the run-up to their first Christmas. A beautiful keepsake you'll cherish forever - so many parents have framed theirs and hung in the nursery - such a lovely idea.
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 2+
The very merry advent calendar, £45, toucanBox
Well, this is a bit special! The first-ever advent calendar from award-winning children's craft company toucanBox features 24 boxes of festive fun, including Christmas crafts such as a snowball juggling, bear bauble and snowman puppets, scrummy recipes for gingerbread reindeer, hot chocolate spoons and more, plus five enchanting STEAM inspired storybooks. A great one to keep them entertained with stimulating surprises as you count down to Chrstmas!
Kids glow-in-the-dark advent calendar, £12, Harrods
This might just be a first - a glow-in-the-dark kids' chocolate advent calendar! (That's the calendar that glows, not the chocolate!) The box is detailed with stars and snowflakes that gleam after dark and behind every door is a festively shaped milk chocolate surprise.
Disney board game calendar, £29.99, Amazon
This is a kids advent calendar with a difference. Not only do little ones get the usual thrill of opening a door and getting a surprise each day, there's a board game to play too once you have all the pieces. There are 16 mini Disney character figurines hiding behind each door as well as puzzle pieces that fit together to make the game and everything else you need to play.
Playmobil nativity manger advent calendar, £30, Selfridges
Ages: 1.5 - 4
We love Playmobil's innovative toys and the latest addition to their intensive advent calendar collection for kids is the cutest. Behind the 24 doors, your little one can collect figures and parts to make a traditional Christmas nativity scene.
Cry Babies Magic Tears Rosie Advent Calendar, £24.99, Amazon
This cute calendar folds out into a winter wonderland scene featuring Rosie and her pet in a snowy garden outside their festive home. There’s a Cry Babies Magic Tears surprise behind every door – 24 magical miniature collectibles, all non-chocolate!
Swizzels sweet factory advent calendar, £9.06, Amazon
If you don't mind braving the sugar rush then this bargainous kids advent calendar is packed with some of the sweets you will no doubt remember from your childhood. Refreshers, Drumstick Squashies, Parma Violets, Fizzlers, Love hearts, Drumsticks... ring any bells?
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Thomas and friends minis advent calendar, £26.99, Amazon
There are 24 mini trains from the world of Thomas & Friends up for grabs in this cute kids advent calendar. It includes six special Christmassy engines which are sure to be favourites.
Peppa Pig advent calendar, £30.07, Amazon
Fans of the famous pig will love this kids advent calendar. There's a new toy for each day of December which they can add to the snowy scene backdrop the calendar opens out into.
The Inspire advent tree, was £45 now £35, Inspire
This sustainable, wooden tree-shaped advent calendar encourages kids to be kind as well as giving back to charity. It features with 24 magnetic wooden shapes, each one with a festive picture on one side and an act of kindness, such as ‘Donating a toy to charity’ and ‘Paying someone a compliment’ to carry out that day on the other. All profits will be donated to Best Beginnings, a charity which is working to give every child the best start in life.
City vehicles and accessories advent calendar, £25, John Lewis
Got a little car enthusiast in the family? John Lewis’ city vehicles children's advent calendar will help them speed into the festive season with a four-wheeled toy treat each day – including everything from police cars to double-decker buses.
L.O.L Surprise advent calendar, £36.95, Amazon
Mini fashionistas will love this one. There's a limited edition L.O.L. doll - Tricksta BB - and 24 fabulous fashion outfits to unbox every day of December, including snazzy dresses, glam accessories and cute shoes.
Paw Patrol advent calendar, £23.29, Amazon
Little ones can count down to Christmas with Marshall, Chase, Skye and all the rest of the plucky pups. There are 24 Paw Patrol collectibles to discover, including their favourite pups dressed up for the festive season, a sleigh, presents, play pieces and more in this cute children's advent calendar. Pre-order now to avoid disappointment and it'll ship when it officially launches later this month
Elsa and Anna fans can count down to Christmas with this Frozen 2 themed jewellery kids advent calendar. There are 24 surprises, including a necklace and a bracelet with charms and pendants featuring the sisters and the rest of the Frozen characters.
Frozen 2 jewellery advent calendar, £17.99, Amazon
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Schleich farm world advent calendar, £21.93, Amazon
Another kids advent calendar for little animal fans - this one differs from Playmobile's offering, however, as the animals are all very lifelike. There are 24 surprises from the farm, including a pig, horse, goat and cat - and even a teddy bear.
Haribo advent calendar, £12.99, Amazon
This tasty children's advent calendar brings together Haribo favourites and seasonal mini bags and themed jellies. Look out for Santa’s boot, a red-hatted reindeer and gold star-topped Christmas tree!
Play-Doh advent calendar, £22.17, Amazon
If you want a children's advent calendar to get them creative, look no further than Play-doh's offering. It includes a playmat, 24 surprises and five cans of Play Doh modeling compound featuring 2 special festive sparkle cans.
Barbie Christmas advent calendar, £28.99, Amazon
On the first day of December, doll fans open a door to reveal Barbie in a shimmering bodysuit. For the next 23 days there's a new accessory each day, whether it's clothes, shoes, jewellery, purses, accessories - including a shimmering mermaid tail - or a pet to keep Barbie company.
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 4+
Pokemon holiday advent calendar, £59, Lost Universe
This Pokemon advent calendar will make it very easy to catch 'em all. There are 24 toys, including 16 two-inch figures of all the Pokemon faves - Pikachu, Evie and Squirtle to name a few - as well as six themed accessories. Order now to ship in October. This was one of the most popular advent calendars of 2020 and it sold out at record speed, so be sure to be fast if you want one!
Star Wars micro force advent calendar, £17.50, Amazon
Here's one for Star Wars fans - you get 24 mini-figures - including four festive-themed ones, R2D2 in a Santa hat, awww - and seven stickers. The mini toys span all the films, so there's everyone from Princess Lea and Yoda to Poe Damon and even a cute lil porg.
Crayola Christmas advent calendar, £29.99, Amazon
If you're looking for something a bit more creative, the Crayola advent calendar for kids has a fun activity behind each of the 24 doors complete with a Crayola tool to help them complete it. This should keep them busy!
Playmobile horse farm advent calendar, £19.23, Amazon
Ride 'em cowboy – this cute kids advent calendar is a dream for horse fans, with horses, animals and accessories behind the 24 doors. Might not be very Chrismassy, but there’s hours of animal fun to be had.
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 5+
Hatchimals CollEGGtibles advent calendar, £22.95, Amazon
You get more for your money with this one – there are a total of 50 surprises to discover behind the 24 windows including 10 Hatchimals collectibles, 12 accessories, five paper crafts, five bows, five nests, four tiny presents and four sticker sheets.
Best advent calendars for boys & girls aged 6+
Funko Five Nights at Freddy's advent calendar was £59 now £49, Lost Universe
Fans of the famous Five Nights at Freddy's franchise will love this adent calendar - you get 24 Five Night’s at Freddy’s Pint Size Heroes to add to your collection. Some characters include a holiday twist and blacklight versions too - avid collectors will be thrilled!
Lego Harry Potter advent calendar, £25, Selfridges
This toy-a-day kids advent calendar gives Harry Potter fans a magical build-up to Christmas – it includes 24 mini builds of all the main characters and objects kids will recognise from the movies. By the time every door is open, they’ll have everything they need to recreate a scene of the letters arriving at Hogwarts - and there's a board game included too. For the die-hard Potter fans - the 2020 version is still up for grabs!
Funko Marvel advent Calendar, £59.99, Amazon
The ultimate kids advent calendar for the superhero fans! There are 24 Funko Pocket Pop figures from the Marvel universe, including Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk. Buy now and it'll ship when it launches in October. Funko also has calendars themed around Harry Potter, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Fortnite if Marvel’s not your little one’s thing.
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Harry Potter 12-day Sock Advent Calendar, £40, Lost Universe
Ages: 6+ (to suit any child with size 4 feet or above)
You get seven pairs of trainer socks and five pairs of full-length socks, each with a different Harry Potter design. This one will take you half way to Christmas and it's especially good for older children (and adult fans of the boy wizard too for that matter). To suit UK size 4-8 (EU 36-41)
WATCH: Sneek peek at the Harry Potter Lego advent calendar
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