11 Unique Advent Calendars That Are Perfect for Your Christmas Countdown

Target/Amazon
Target/Amazon

Counting down the days until Christmas is a wonderful tradition with some pretty old roots. The ritual dates back to the mid-19th century, when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles counting down until December 25.

It was in the early 1900s when printed Advent calendars came about, and it's said they were invented by a man named Gerhard Lang, who began producing and selling them in Germany. Over the years, these calendars have certainly changed. Now instead of just an illustration or piece of chocolate, the daily treat can take the form of a soothing tea bag, a Ron Weasley figurine, or even a fun little science project.

Here are 11 of the coolest Advent calendars we could find online.

1. FUNKO Harry Potter Advent Calendar; $39

Funko Harry Potter Advent Calendar
Funko / Amazon

“Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Ring the Hogwarts bell…” Celebrate the season with miniature Funko versions of 24 witches and wizards from the spellbinding world of Harry Potter. Each character stands a little under 2 inches tall, so they won’t take up too much space. (Come to think of it, you could probably fit the whole lot in one of Dobby’s socks.)

Buy It: Amazon

2. 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar; $32

Tea Advent calendar
Uncommon Goods

Stay caffeinated this December with two dozen tea bags. This calendar contains an eclectic assortment of flavors, such as Chinese black tea and Scandinavian tea with cranberry and elderflower. Just thinking about them is already making us feel all warm and cozy…

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

3. Nintendo Super Mario Advent Calendar; $50

Nintendo Advent Calendar
Nintendo/Amazon

For the Nintendo fans out there, this Advent calendar features 17 characters and seven accessories from the world of Super Mario to unlock in the countdown to Christmas. From Mario and Princess Peach to a piranha plant and goombas, this set is perfect for anyone waiting to unwrap a Switch for the holidays.

Buy It: Amazon

4. Women’s 15 Days of Star Wars Socks Advent Calendar; $15

Star Wars sock Advent Calendar
Target

For $15, you get as many pairs of Star Wars-themed socks, a decorative box with a fun little quiz for franchise diehards, and—blessedly—zero references to that infamous 1978 holiday special. What else would you want to wear on your feet when you go see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

Buy It: Target

5. Women’s Nightmare Before Christmas 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar; $15

Nightmare Before Christmas Advent calendar
Target

Why should Star Wars fans have all the fun? Target also offers a Halloweentown-centered Advent calendar, complete with Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie hosiery. Speaking of animation, Disney Princess and Lilo & Stitch sock sets are available, too.

Buy It: Target

6. Handcrafted Caramel Advent Calendar; $30

Carmel Advent calendar
Uncommon Goods

If flavor names like “Hawaiian Sea Salt” and “Tapped Maple” make your mouth water, do yourself a favor and get this delicious calendar full of 24 handmade caramel samples. As a bonus, the box set features some charmingly illustrated animals from artist Cindy Hendrick. We’re partial to the apron-wearing fox.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

7. Yule Do Nicely: A Ghostly and Weird Advent Calendar; $6

Yule do Nicely Advent Calendar
Rhys Hughes / Amazon

Ditch the candy and toys, because if you like creepy and somewhat unsettling stories all year—not just Halloween—then this is ideal. The first 24 stories of this pocket-sized book form a weird Advent calendar leading up to the big day. Then on Christmas, enjoy 28 strange, short tales from "The Shocking Stocking" section.

Buy It: Amazon

8. Purple Ladybug Novelty Dinosaur Toys 2019 Advent Calendar; $22

Dinosaur Advent Calendar
Purple Ladybug Novelty / Amazon

Look, you’re never too old to channel your inner John Hammond. Purple Ladybug offers an assortment of prehistoric animal models and fossils in a 24-day advent calendar—and their (ahem) “dino-mite” set saves the very best critter for last.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Ooshies DC Comics Advent Calendar; $50

Ooshies Advent Calendar
Ooshies / Amazon

Countdown to the holidays with your favorite super heroes or villains—like Batman, Superman, the Joker, and Wonder Woman—in tiny pencil-topper form. The set even comes with eight exclusive Ooshies.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Edible Artwork Chocolate Advent Calendar; $35

Chocolate Advent Calendar
Uncommon Goods

This isn’t your typical chocolate Advent calendar. This 25-day calendar is full with melt-in-your mouth, handmade chocolate in the shape of martini glasses, flip-flops, cowboy boots, and more.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

11. STEAM Activity Countdown Advent Calendar; $25

Science Advent Calendar
STEAM / Amazon

This 106-page book includes two weeks’s worth of activities for the curious children in your life. Each one will bolster the little tykes’s appreciation for science, technology, engineering, art, and/or mathematics. Among other things, they’ll learn how to turn a Sierpinski triangle into a mesmerizing Christmas tree. How cool is that?

Buy It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Dominate Game Night With Godzilla-Themed Monopoly and Jenga

Usaopoly
Usaopoly

Competitive board games have a tendency to bring out players' monstrous sides, and later this year, you'll be able to embrace those destructive impulses with Jenga and Monopoly games inspired by Godzilla.

Both products featuring Japan's iconic mutant menace are a collaboration between games publisher USAopoly (also known as The Op) and entertainment company Toho International, CBR.com reports. The first one, dubbed Monopoly: Godzilla, is billed as a "city-terrorizing twist on the classic board game." The properties available for conquering include Monster Island, Goro’s Workshop, and Kitakami Lake. Instead of the classic game pieces, players use tokens of monsters like Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla to dominate the board.

The second game pairs so perfectly with Godzilla that it may rival the classic version. In Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition, the block tower resembles a skyscraper taken from downtown Tokyo, and it comes with a cardboard cutout of Godzilla unleashing a beam of atomic breath. With every role of the die, Godzilla moves along the "approach track," increasing the number of blocks removed each turn and hastening the building's destruction.

Godzilla Jenga.
Usaopoly

Monopoly: Godzilla will sell for $40, and Jenga: Godzilla Extreme Edition will cost $20. You can find them in select stores when they debut in the spring.

Are You a Friends Superfan? Then You Need This Friends-Themed Cards Against Humanity

The One With All the Cards/Amazon
The One With All the Cards/Amazon

For a seemingly simple show, Friends has continued to entertain fans around the world for more than 25 years. The ’90s sitcom allowed viewers to follow the lives of six tight-knit friends and—most importantly—quote many hilarious lines and references. Now, you can mix and match some of the show's best moments with The One With All the Cards game, which looks and plays a lot like Cards Against Humanity. You can find it on Amazon for $30.

While the game isn’t a Cards Against Humanity expansion pack, it’s quite similar. There’s a set of black question cards containing classic lines like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY SISTER?” to which players respond with white cards that feature answers like, “Feeling my bicep, and maybe more.”

When you’ve established who is the best at Friends quotes, you can see who the real superfan is with The One With All the Questions. This trivia game features more than 300 quiz questions and you can find it on Amazon for $33.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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