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We all know how difficult it can be to keep children occupied in the run up to December 25, so we’ve put together a list of the best alternative advent calendars out there.
There’s something for every youngster, whether they have been caught up in a fidget obsession this year, love playing with LEGO or are a huge Disney fan.
There’s calendars that provide books to read, and others which will help them get creative and have them playing games every day up until the big day finally arrives and Santa visits.
If that’s got you in a festive mood, then check out our guide to the best Christmas decorations for your home, which includes everything from fairy lights to baubles.
Of course, one of the best things about the festive season is all the delicious food and drink we treat ourselves too. Marks and Spencer’s have released their festive offerings so you can start planning your Christmas dishes now.
This is not cheap, but it is spectacular - and it was adored by our young tester.
Behind each door, there’s each a Yule-themed craft project, a festive book, or a recipe for delectable food. The grand event on day 25 is a Magic Mischief Elf the child can dress themselves.
The empty boxes combine to a festive chimney scene. It’s an unbelievably cheering thing - well worth the outlay.
This is a gorgeous number, and perennially popular - for good reason. Created by famed German marzipan experts, Niederegger, this advent calendar is festooned with a cheery, traditional Santa Claus.
Inside, there’s a mixture of marzipan, truffles, pralines - and more often than not has more than one treat per window. Delightful.
Keep the anticipation building during the lead up to Christmas Day with this lovely reusable family Christmas Tree Advent Calendar Chest.
Each day has its only little storage compartment, perfect for a tiny treat to fit inside.
Little ones will love opening them up and discovering what’s inside each morning, and it makes a lovely decorative addition to your mantelpiece this festive season.
As you can get to choose what treat is inside you can make it truly personal for your child, and as it’s reusable it’s better for the environment and something they will treasure year after year.
Featuring all the much-loved Beatrix Potter characters, from Peter Rabbit to Jemima Puddle-duck, this adorable advent calendar makes a wonderful gift for children in the lead up to December 25.
Each day, children will discover a new wooden character piece hiding behind the advent calendar doors - and by Christmas Day they will have an exciting play set, including a Christmas tree.
Better still, all the pieces are made entirely from sustainable wood so they can be played with over and over.
The packaging is also completely recyclable, so this advent calendar makes a wonderfully sustainable alternative to the classic chocolate advent.
Our personalised chocolate Advent Calendar is like no other. Hide your secret message inside. As each window is opened your message will be revealed.
Write something funny for your kids, or maybe include a clue to their Christmas present. Add a message for a special someone, or reveal a secret.
There are 24 windows for each day of December, but 30 available characters.
Some windows have more than one chocolate. The 25th window contains a little Santa surprise.
This charmingly illustrated and personalised baby’s first advent calendar is a wonderful way for parents to remember and record special moments and occasions in the run up to their baby’s first ever Christmas
Each day of the month is festively decorated and adorned with festive characters, majority of which are inspired by animals, nature and a magical winter woodland.
There is a little compartment for parents to jot down little anecdotes about their babies or perhaps festive activities they attended as a family.
A lovely and very different way of counting down to Christmas, this colour in pillowcase provides children with 24 seasonal illustrations to colour in on the countdown to the big day.
It’s made of Egyptian cotton too so it’s high quality and can be used as a keepsake.
Use any pens, wash out or permenant. If you choose to use wash out pens then it can be coloured in again next year, and the year after that - making it not only a fun choice but an economical choice too.
Children can get creative and build their own 3D Dinosaur scene with this advent calendar, which can be personalised with the recipients name or a short message.
It’s a fun and easy way to count down to Christmas Day; all your little ones have to do is build the base and then add the little cardbaord dinosaurs in Christmas hats, Christmas trees and other characters to the circular volcano scene as each day passes.
Choose to make the calendar extra special by adding your request to personalise the top of the erupting volcano with a name or short message for the recipient.
This make your own 3D countdown decoration is sure to get your children - and all of your family - excited during the countdown to Christmas.
It comes with seven pieces that you simply place together and easy to follow instructions.
The Snowman has been a Christmas classic for generations, so this advent calendar is sure to bring all the magic of the Raymond Briggs’ classic tale.
Personalise with your family name or message and re-use year after year.
Treat your little ones to this advent activity book to help keep them occupied and entertained until the big day when Santa visits.
Filled with festive creative activities, such as cakes to bake and carols to sing, your child will have lots of fun counting down until Christmas with enjoyable activities to share with all of the family.
Fancy one of the storybook advent calendars but looking for something with a creative twist?
Check out this Disney advent calendar which is filled with both Christmas-themed books and creative activities.
Sure to stimulate your little one’s mind, this special calendar brings the magic of Disney to life thanks to its interactive craft activities and unwrapping favourite familiar faces.
This lovely advent calendar, featuring some of children’s best loved characters, has 24 mini activity, song and rhyme books.
Little imaginations will run wild as fantastic festive tales are told each day, only increasing their excitement around Christmas Day.
Based on the family-favourite picture books, The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and more, this is the ultimate advent calendar for all the family to enjoy.
Following huge popularity this year, it’s time to keep fingers moving and minds occupied with this one and only festive fidget advent calendar.
Full of stimulating and fun items, and a range of satisfying gifts to keep kids entertained in the run up to the big day, it’s a must-have for all fidgety fingers.
There’s lots of fun games and activities that youngsters can hold in the palm of their hand, and keep them busy and having fun right up until Christmas Day.
This fun advent calendar brings together two of children’s favourite things; Lego and Harry Potter.
Includes six LEGO minifigures; Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Dudley Dursley and Griphook plus accessories.
Kids can recreate the Hogwarts letters arriving through the fireplace, collecting gold from Gringotts’ vault, meeting Hedwig the owl and more.
Behind door 24 is a colourful spinner that unlocks the excitement of the fun board game printed on the calendar, so you know your little ones will be entertained on Christmas Eve too.
If you have a wee one at school, you’ll likely already know that Smiggle stationary and school gear is hotly sought after. The Smiggle Advent Calendar, then, is the stuff of a little one’s dreams - 24 brightly coloured pens, markers, lanyards and other creative tools. Their pencil case will be the envy of the school yard.
Suitable for ages 6+
This is gorgeous. An ethical, sustainable, plastic and allergen free calendar, it’s little wonder the PLAYin Choc advent calendar has won awards.
Each of the 24 drawers contain a puzzle toys to build, a fact card, and a mini chocolate. Our 8 year old tester positively thrilled to the toys - making a small snowman with enthusiasm, for example, even before considering the chocolate. Replace the drawers in reverse order after opening and a Christmas scene is depicted.