Getting into the Christmas spirit can be as much fun as the actual holiday itself. The anticipation built during the Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas, has a long and winding history. Beginning in the 4th century, Advent was a time to prepare converted Christians for baptism. However, the Advent we know today, a fun way to count down the 24 days until Christmas, is still relatively young, having begun in the mid-19th century—though back then people just used a calendar full of pictures, Bible verses, or chocolates to mark the days until December 25. Today, they're a lot more festive.

Now, Advent calendars conceal everything from chocolate to Harry Potter figurines to ornaments from your favorite Christmas movies to decorate mini Christmas trees. Since you've still got a little time, take a break from plain old chocolate and check out some of our favorite—and totally unique—Advent calendars.

1. Bonne Maman Preserves Advent Calendar; $40

Bonne Maman

Start each day of Advent with a new fruit spread from the famous Bonne Maman preserves- and jelly-makers. This limited-edition collection of jams, jellies, and jars of honey will work wonders on anything from toast to pastries for the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Buy it: World Market

2. Jakks Elf Holiday Advent Calendar; $40

Jakks/Amazon

The holiday season just doesn’t feel complete without watching all of your favorite Christmas movies. If Elf is on your list, this Advent calendar will make you want to sing like Buddy. Behind each window is a new figurine from the movie, so over the 24 days, you’ll be able to collect them all.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Haute Decor Advent Calendar Christmas Around the World; $20

Haute Decor

Before chocolates, toys, and other fun goodies made their way into our modern-day Advent calendars, it was a picture that often served as each day's "treat." This Haute Decor calendar harkens back to that tradition by featuring fun facts behind each window on the map that highlights a holiday tradition in that region of the world. You’ll even get to learn how they spend the holidays in outer space.

Buy it: Wayfair

4. The Purple Cow Science Experiments Advent Calendar; $30

The Purple Cow

For those with a curious mind, The Purple Cow wants to help you explore the sciences this holiday season with 24 engaging experiments to try. From chemistry to magnetics to biology, both children and adults will get the opportunity to learn something new each day.

Buy it: Amazon

5. English Tea Shop Organic Tea Bags Advent Calendar; $36

English Tea Shop

Few things are cozier than curling up with a cup of hot tea by the fire while snow falls slowly outside. The English Tea Shop wants to help make this fantasy a reality with its tea Advent calendar. Over 25 days, you’ll be able to try out different festive blends with their variety of tea pyramids.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Friends: The Advent Calendar; $19

Insight Editions

So no one told you 2020 was going to be this way. Well, let’s try to make the most of this year with a holiday Advent calendar based on the iconic ‘90s sitcom Friends. Collect ornaments, booklets, and more to keep you entertained all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Technic Man' Stuff 12 Days Advent Calendar; $35

Man'Stuff

During the cold winter months, skin gets dry, hair frizzes, and nails chip. Man’ Stuff can help men take care of themselves over the 12 days ahead of Christmas with its Advent calendar full of grooming tools like combs, nail clippers, and scissors and luxuries like bath salts, charcoal face wash, and shower gels.

Buy it: Amazon

8. DreamBone Dog Chews Advent Calendar; $15

DreamBone

Who says the holiday season is only for humans? DreamBone wants to let your pupster get in on all the festive fun with an Advent calendar filled with dog chews (all of them rawhide-free). Each day your pooch will get to enjoy chicken chews in the shapes of candy canes, bones, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Target Cat Lovers 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar; $15

Target

For the cat lover in your life, this advent calendar is the purrfect gift. Over 15 days, you’ll get different cat-patterned socks to collect. From no-show socks to crew length, you’re bound to find your new favorite pair.

Buy it: Target

10. Funko Mystery Figure Advent Calendar; $60

Funko

Funko Pop! Advent calendars are extremely popular over the holidays, and serious collectors tend to know which figurines are coming their way. But why not make it more of a mystery? Choose either the Harry Potter or Dragon Ball Z calendar and be surprised every morning when you see which mini-figurines are hiding in there.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

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