The Best Advent Calendars

With a week to go until December begins, although less till Advent starts in Christian terms, today we have a round up of the best Advent calendars around for you.  There are some amazing toy calendars about these days, and new ones appear every year.  But we also have some chocolatey ones, some different ideas, and even some great ones for the grown-ups.  Who says we mums should miss out on a daily treat?!

We told you all about the fab new Advent calendars from WOW Toys the other day, and would definitely recommend them for any toddlers and pre-schoolers.  For older children, we cannot recommend highly enough the Playmobil and LEGO calendars, each of which come with a fantastic collection of toys to gradually create a great play scene with.

The range of Playmobil Advent calendars changes every year, and this season the themes include unicorns and fairies, Father Christmas's workshop, fire rescue, cute forest animals, and more.  We were sent the Christmas room with illuminating tree, and it looks amazing!  Full of Christmas cheer with a light-up Christmas tree and candelabra, lots of presents to open, the whole family including pets, and even plenty of festive food and drink.  The Playmobil Advent Calendars retail at £19.99 each and are available from good toy shops and online at the official Playmobil shop.

Cadbury have launched a new larger version Advent calendar this year, but are also offering their usual size one, containing a daily chocolate treat.  Widely available from major supermarkets and other retailers, prices vary.

But if you fancy something a bit more substantial, or have a make-up mad young lady to buy for, this fabulous Mad Beauty Christmas Advent Calendar is just the thing.  It contains 24 beauty treats, including lipsticks, lip glosses, eye shadows and nail polishes, a whole collection of cute beauty treats to spoil someone special - or yourself!  Available from Find Me a Gift, the beauty calendar retails at £21.99 but can she resist opening them all in one go?!

If you are looking for something different for the kids, or are buying for a whole family, this delightful activity calendar from Illustries is a great idea.  The ‘Countdown to Christmas’ Advent activity calendar is perfect to keep kids of all ages amused in the run up to Christmas, while creating special family memories along the way.  Each day there is a new activity, such as writing to Father Christmas, making gingerbread and decorations, Christmas colouring, and lots more arts, crafts and fun.  the Countdown to Christmas activity calendar is priced £14.95, and is available to order online.

If you prefer to fill your own Advent calendar, this fun one from Eat Sleep Doodle has the added element of being fully customisable - again and again and again.  Made from 100% cotton with acrylic trim, it comes with a set of 10 double-ended wash-out pens, so it can be personalised before giving, or doodled every day for Advent.  Each of the 25 stockings is numbered and can be filled with little Christmas treats before being hung on the tree, mantelpiece or wall. After Christmas it just needs to go on a warm machine wash to wash out all of the ink, ready for next year.  Such a lovely idea, and the makings of a lovely new family tradition.  Priced £22, the reusable calendar is available online.

Another one for the mamas or older girls, the Bomb Advent Calendar from Bomb Cosmetics contains 12 mini bath blasters and 12 mini soap slices, perfect for a little daily pamper during the busy festive season!  Bomb uses natural ingredients and essential oils to make great bath bombs and soaps by hand, with no animal testing.  This great value beauty Advent calendar is priced £19.99 and is available from Bomb Cosmetics and other retailers.

There's no reason vegans and those who are dairy intolerant should miss out on the 'chocolate' Advent fun with this great free-from calendar from Holland & Barrett.  So now everyone gets to have a sweetie treat at breakfast time!  (That's OK all through December, right?)  The calendar is suitable for vegans and coeliacs; a no added sugar version is also available, both are priced at £3.99 each.

Finally, the LEGO Friends Advent Calendar is perfect for any LEGO-mad girl, and comes with 24 buildable surprises, including ski equipment, a rabbit, fairground game, a Christmas tree, and even Christmas cakes and candies.  Help Andrea and Liza build a winter village in Heartlake City Square, with a new piece to add every day. Widely available, or from, priced £19.99.

Whether you go for chocolate, toys or something different this Advent, we wish you a wonderful festive season.

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