As a certified Halloween girlie, I have always spent the stressful days leading up to Christmas mourning the loss of the spooky spirit. But I have found one thing that helps ease me into the jolly holly season: an Advent calendar. When I spend just a moment, every single day, with a special little treat or gift, I stop feeling overwhelmed by all the tree trimming and gift wrapping long enough to start enjoying the ride.
A typical Advent calendar marks the Christian tradition of counting down the weeks and days leading up to Christmas. These calendars feature numbered drawers or windows—one for each day, or for every few days—that contain a small toy or a chocolate treat. You can pick one up at almost any grocery store for a few bucks. These options usually have a religious bent, and they aren’t all that exciting. They can still be fun to open, but the packaging will be budget, and the chocolate inside is reliably gritty and waxy.
Recently though, the world of Advent calendars has expanded far beyond chocolates. There are STEM-themed calendars for kids, calendars with gourmet European sweets, and calendars containing CBD gummies for stressed-out adults.
Here, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite Advent calendars. And even though the Christian advent technically arrived a week ago, don’t worry; a lot of advent calendars are just 12 days. And who needs rules? Just double up on treats if you start late!