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 / 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

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/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

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

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

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

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

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 / 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

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

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

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12 Perfectly Spooky Halloween Decorations Under $25

Amazon/shopDisney
Amazon/shopDisney

Halloween is right around the corner—which means it’s officially time to bring out the jack-o'-lanterns, watch scary movies, buy your costume(s), and hang up your festive decorations. Although there are thousands of decorations to choose from, you don’t have to blow your budget while decking out your house or apartment in honor of the spooky season this year. With a little guidance, you'll find plenty of ways to create the perfect ambiance at home without going for broke. (And best of all, you can put the money you saved toward extra Halloween candy to stash away.)

From giant spiders to hanging ghosts and lawn decorations, here are a few of our favorite props under $25.

1. Halloween Pillow Covers (4-Pack); $17

ZJHAI/Amazon

These adorable Halloween-themed pillowcases make the perfect accessory for any couch, sofa, or mattress. Made with thick linen fabric, these are durable, sturdy, and designed to last for seasons to come. (Tip: To prevent the zipper from breaking, fold the pillow in half before inserting.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Black Lace Spiderweb Fireplace Mantle; $12

Aerwo/Amazon

This versatile spiderweb prop is made with 100-percent polyester, and its knit lace spiderweb pattern adds a spooky touch to any home. Display it on your doorway, across your fireplace mantel, or atop your table. (It also makes a great backdrop for Halloween photo ops.)

Buy it: Amazon

3. Statement Halloween Signs; $16

Dazonge/Amazon

These festive, statement-making banners come pre-assembled, making them incredibly easy to install. They’re also weather-resistant and washable for both outdoor and indoor use. Use tape, push-pins, or weights to prevent the signs from blowing away.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Jack Skellington and Sally Plush Dolls; $23 (Each)

Disney

Celebrate your favorite holiday with a pair of adorable Jack Skellington and Sally plush dolls from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack stands at 28 inches tall, while Sally is a bit shorter at 21 inches. Set them up on your sofa or against the window sill for all to see.

Buy them: Disney Shop (Jack and Sally)

5. Halloween Zombie Groundbreaker; $22

Joyin/Amazon

This spooktacular zombie lawn decoration is sure to scare all of your friends, family, and neighbors alike. Made with a combination of latex, plastic, and fabric, this durable Halloween prop is sure to last for years to come.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Hanging Ghost Decoration; $14

Moon Boat/Amazon

Drape this handmade, 14-foot-long hanging ghost decoration over your porch, doorway, or window. You can also hang it outdoors over a tree or a (very tall) bush. And, since it comes pre-assembled, you won’t have to waste time constructing it yourself.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Two-Piece Hanging Ghost Set; $17

GeeFuun/Amazon

This pair of ghosts adds a whimsical touch to any home. While they’re not “scary,” per se, they certainly are adorable. Display them in your front yard, on your porch, on a lamppost, or a tree. To hang, simply tie the ribbons and bend the wires, arms, and tails.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Pumpkin String Lights; $19

Eurus Home/Amazon

Not only are these solar-powered, 33-foot-long LED string lights good for the environment, they’re also incredibly easy to install (no long, tangly power cable chords necessary). Since they’re waterproof, you can use them both indoors and outdoors. Choose from eight different light settings, including twinkling, flashing, fading, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Inflatable Ghost; $22

Joiedomi/Amazon

This adorable inflatable ghost (which dons a cute-as-can-be wizard hat!) features built-in LED lights and sandbags to help it stay sturdy. It also comes complete with a plug, extended cords, ground stakes, and fastened ropes. Simply plug it in and watch it magically inflate within just a few minutes.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Graveyard Tombstones; $17

meiguisha/Amazon

Turn your front lawn into a graveyard with this six-piece set. Each tombstone is made with foam and designed to add a touch of spookiness to your space. To install, insert one holder into the bottom of the tombstone, and one into the soil. You can use these indoors, as well.

Buy it: Amazon

11. 10-Piece Skeleton Set; $24

Fun Little Toys/Amazon

This skeleton set includes a skull, hands and arms, and legs and feet—plus five stakes to hold everything in place. Each “bone” and “joint” is flexible, allowing you to prop the skeleton into different frighteningly fun poses. Simply place the stakes into the bone socket and turn clockwise.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Outdoor Spider Web; $18

amenon/Amazon

This giant, ultra-stretchy spider web spans a whopping 23 feet. It also includes a 30-inch black spider, 20 pieces of fake spiders, one hook, and one nail. Its thick polyester rope—combined with the sturdy stakes—allows the spider web to stay in place all season long. Place the hook on a wall or tree, and expand the web using the stakes.

Buy it: Amazon

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11 Products That Will Upgrade Your Car

Stackcommerce
Stackcommerce

Whether you're still driving to work every morning, planning a road trip, or simply running errands on the weekend, you'll want to check out these car upgrades and accessories while they're on sale today.

1. CarAIDE 18-in-1 Super Safety Jump Starter and Multi-Tool; $80 (20 percent off)

CarAide

This multi-tool can get you out of more than a few hairy situations: It can break a window, jump start a battery, and work as a power bank. It even includes a flashlight, emergency SOS flasher, burglar alarm, and built-in compass to cover just about everything you need in one shock-resistant tool.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. Autowit 12V Portable No-Battery Car Jump Starter; $122 (23 percent off)

Autowit

If you’re looking for a jump starter, this battery-free model from Autowit can do the job quickly with a lower spark and explosion risk.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

3. Autowit Cordless Tire Inflator; $60 (14 percent off)

Autowit

This cordless tire inflator comes with a simple gauge that lets you know exactly how much air to put into a tire, and there's even an automatic shutoff feature to avoid over-inflation. Beyond car tires, the inflator can assist with pumping up basketballs, inflatable boats, and more.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

4. THINKDIAG: Professional Vehicle Diagnostic Tool And One-Year App Subscription; $100 (16 percent off)

THINKDIAG

This handy app will perform 16 complete vehicle tests, data monitoring, and OBD functions across 115 car brands straight from your phone.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

5. THINKOBD 100: Full Automotive Scan Tool; $30 (14 percent off)

THINKOBD

Turn your own garage into an auto shop with this plug-and-play scan tool that can diagnose engine fault codes, perform engine light checks, identify a car's VIN, and more.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

6. JumpSmart 37,000mWh Portable Vehicle Jump Starter Kit; $200

Limitless Innovations

This jump-starter kit won the Best of CES Editor’s Choice with its three-in-one jump starter, flashlight, and power bank. It can light up your surroundings with a 330-lumen LED flashlight and charge up just about any device that needs it on the road.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

7. Gravity X Car Mount; $20 (33 percent off)

Gravity X

The whole point of a car mount is to give you hands-free access to your phone, so when a mount requires two hands to simply set it up, it sort of defeats the purpose. This mount uses the phone’s weight to allow an easy, one-handed setup that’s simple to use while driving.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

8. GoSafe S780 Dash Cam with Sony Image Sensor; $200 (33 percent off)

Papago

This dash cam can record in low light with its dual-channel system in both the front and rear of the vehicle at the same time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

9. KOBRA Wireless Car Scanner; $15 (70 percent off)

Kobra

Keep tabs on your car with this wireless scanner that uses Wi-Fi connectivity to diagnose any car problem and unlock data about your vehicle in real time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

10. Papago GoSafe 366 Dash Cam; $250 (16 percent off)

Papago

Car accidents happen fast, and it can be hard to remember to take down all the details to report back to insurance. This dash cam will capture it all in HD quality and save files automatically for you to share for accuracy.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

11. Mini Cordless Car Vacuum Cleaner; $40 (20 percent off)

Kittylulu

This cordless vacuum will get in every nook and cranny to preserve that new-car feeling. One of these belongs in every car, whether you're munching on a road trip or bringing your pup along for the ride.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

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