Advent calendars are a great way to build up to Christmas and teach children about the importance of the holiday season.
Perhaps one of the nicest Christmas traditions is the advent calendar. This tradition started in the early 19th century in Germany as a way of counting the days to Christmas. Although commercial advent calendars always start at December 1st, the church advent season can start as early as Nov. 27th and as late as Dec. 3rd.
On this page you’ll find a variety of advent calendars, for different types of families with kids.
Some are traditional – they really stress the Christian background to the advent season and help prepare the children for the spiritual meaning of Christmas.
Toy advent calendars are on the other end of the spectrum: they’re simply fun.
In between are candy advent calendars: usually they contain chocolates. Something small and sweet, nothing fancy. It’s the little joys in life that count, right? Actually psychologists agree with that…
The Little People Nativity Advent Calendar by Fisher Price is in the first class: it consists of the manger scene on a roll out fabric. Pockets for the first 25 days of December count down the days to Christmas with soft fabric figurines that can be stuck on the canvas with Hook-and-loop fasteners. There’s a button that plays ‘Silent Night’ automatically, which young kids especially will love. In fact, it is safe for use by babies and toddlers.
The figurines include the whole holy family, angels, the animals, the wise men and the sheppards: in short, you’ll be retelling the story of the birth of Christ 25 days in a row. Which is really what teaching your children about Christmas is all about.
Suitable for kids from 24 months (2 years old) and up.
The Kurt Adler Wooden Advent Calendar is traditional in both form and content. The wooden calendar has 24 (Christmas not included) doors around the manger. Each door hides a figure from the Christmas story – which will then stick magnetically to the manger scene.
This advent calendar is suitable for kids aged 3 and up, who will be able to play out the Christmas tale moving Mary and Jesus and the angels around as they like. You could buy it for younger children, but you should make sure they don’t get access to the pieces: they’re small enough to choke on.
The Lego Advent Calendar was a best seller last year and is sure to be popular again this year. These lego pieces make a Christmas tree, Santa’s train, a plane, a fire place a stove… Just a lot of fun for kids to open up each day leading up to Christmas.
Alma’s Design Nativity Advent Calendar is back to tradition. Like the Fisher Price advent calendar it makes a great home decor piece and tells the story of the birth of Jesus through simple pockets hiding the pieces before they’re put in place on the manger scene.
The pieces stick on the manger scene with velcro, which means that children can move them around to make their own story.
Reviewers do complain the scene gets crowded when all the pieces are stuck on.
The Old-Time Christmas Village Sticker Advent Calendar mixes up tradition with modernity.
The concept is simple: a bare snowy scene starts out the calendar and each day leading up to Christmas you put a sticker in place creating the Victorian village one step at a time. The stickers can be pulled off after Christmas for another year of Christmas fun.
Ages 3 and up.
A reader says:
It’s mid June. I guess I should get started on an advent calendar craft if it will be done by Dec. 1. We have always used one of these. It’s a special way to build up to Christmas.