I know Christmas is basically a month away, but one of my favourite things to highlight are unique advent calendars. While my husband (STILL!) purchases himself a $2, toxic chocolate, cardboard box-style calendar from the grocery store each year, I think there are tons of other creative options out there, not the least of which are ones you as a parent can make for the little ones. Growing up, my mom collected a bunch of toilet paper tubes, wrapped them in Christmas wrap to resemble crackers, and tied long strings to one end and short ones to the other. My sister and I alternated opening each labeled tube, which contained one or two sugary treats each day for each of us – from jujube Santa heads to mini candy canes. It was an amazing way to get into the festive spirit, just as I’m sure any of these ideas would be for your little ones. Or in my husband’s case, big ones.
Best for Families: Telluride Advent Calendar – $91 @ Pottery Barn Kids
This sweet and whimsical advent calendar can definitely become a family heirloom when it’s embroidered with your family name (an extra $10). With 25 pockets that are perfect for slipping yummy treats and Christmas carol lyrics into, your little ones will definitely come running to their ‘other’ tree first thing in the morning. I particularly like this as a gift idea for a newlywed couple, or a family that’s celebrating their first Christmas with a little one that’s autonomous enough to actually ‘get’ what an advent calendar is.
Best for Makeup Mavens: Ciaté Mini Mani Month – $69 @ Sephora
My sister actually got this advent calendar of mini polishes last year, and I was all kinds of jealous. Luckily this year I snagged one for myself nad have been having tons of fun playing with 24 petite bottles of luxe polish – including Ciaté’s signature caviar pearls. The idea is you can indulge in a new look for your nails every day of the week for the month of December, either going day-by-day and being surprised or being a naughty girl and opening up every last window to get a sneak peek of your options. This kit is a great introduction to Ciaté’s world-renowned line-up of polishes, especially because if you’re a nail polish addict like me and every girl I know, you’ll never get through full-sized bottles anyway. An ace choice for your wife on December 1st ‘just because’, or for a sibling or friend with a November / December birthday.
Best Bargain: SNÖMYS Advent Calendar – $9.99 @ IKEA
Everyone’s look to scrimp and save a little over the holidays. Instead of splurging on the calendar itself, this paper and cardboard option IKEA allows you to free up some budget to ensure the stash within is truly a treasure to ‘unwrap’ each day. Each of the little ornaments is actually home to a drawer, meaning you can stuff a fair bit of loot into your calendar as well. A clever, cute, budget-friendly choice. Also available in a Santa style.
Best for Boys At Heart: LEGO City Advent Calendar – $39.95 @ Indigo
If you’ve got an grown-up or young LEGO fanatic on your hands, they’ll love this limited-edition set of holiday-themed LEGO pieces that can be incorporated into whatever existing ‘world’ you’ve got going on or played with on their own. A smart choice if you want to avoid a sugary surprise each day. Also of note? LEGO has a Star Wars-themed calendar for a little bit more, which could effectively kill two birds with one LEGO-sized stone (Star Wars and LEGO fans).
Best for Winter Weather: 24 Days of Tea – $34.95 @ DAVIDsTEA
It’s ba-ack. The perennially popular (and always quick to sell out!) tea teaser calendar from DAVIDsTEA will be in stores on November 8th, so be sure to snap to attention on their website or bustle down to your nearest store to pick yours up. As always, this fun keepsake features 24 mini tins of the brand’s signature blends, meaning you can start your day off all toasty warm with your hands around a fresh new blend. Each tin has enough tea for a cup (or two, if you want to stretch it), making it a perfect fit for your tea-drinking coworker or your favourite couple that loves to start the day off with breakfast together.
Best for Kiddies: Wood Moose Advent Calendar – $29.99 @ Canadian Tire
This fun advent calendar is a little bit rustic, a little bit goofy, and a whole lot of charming – the type of thing your kids will love when they’re kids and beg to hang up in their home when they’ve got little ones of their own. Featuring 25 little burlap satchels to tuck candy canes and sugar plums into, it’s a perfect choice for your grandkids or for really, your own kids.
BONUS! Best for Adults: Whisky Advent Calendar – $299 @ Kensington Wine Market
I really wanted to feature this one because I always read about it, yet it’s only available in one location in Canada – the awesome Kensington Wine Market in Calgary. Unfortunately it looks like it’s sold out already for this year (but you can call to get the inside scoop) but if you know a serious whiskey drinker keep this puppy in mind for next year – it goes on sale months before it’s actually available. Featuring 24 sampler bottles of whisky (30 mL each), one of the included samples comes from a 50-year-old batch that regularly costs $600 a bottle! Note that you must live in Alberta to have the calendar shipped to you. Alternatively if you live in a neighbouring province you can make a trip to Cowtown and pick it up while you’re here.
Bonus entry into the Castellammare Jewellery giveaway – tell me in the comments below, which of these advent calendars would you most love to use to count down the holidays?