We have a marvelous Christmas tradition in Germany: Starting December 1 until December 24 (Christmas Day), we open a door daily in our German advent calendar. Basically everyone has one.
They can contain pretty pictures, chocolate and other goodies. Depending on your budget, whether it’s a gift and your preferences, there are tons of different German advent calendars out there. Here are the coolest I found on Amazon.
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Paper Advent Calendars
You don’t need to get the coolest and biggest advent calendars to enjoy opening a day every day. That’s all part of the “weihnachtliche Vorfreude” (Christmas anticipation). It really is surprisingly fun to opena door every day and kinda count down to Christmas.
You can easily get small or large traditional German advent calendars in stores all over Germany. But maybe not where you come from. That’s why I love Amazon. Plus, you can simply gift someone the fun and gift advent calendars, too. Send German advent calendar cards!
Something entirely different are colouring advent calendars. You know how meditative colouring can be and there are tons of adult colouring books out there. So it makes total sense that there’s such a Christmas calendar. View it here.
Did you know the MET has released its own Christmas calendar? It’s a pop up one and features the Norman Rockwell image “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas”. You can move around the people and cars! Take a closer look.
Well, technically it’s a paper Christmas calendar but it comes with cookie recipes. I believe Christmas cookies are essential for Christmas! And what better way to get inspiration for making them then through daily recipes. No need to scour pinterest frantically! See it here.
Luxury & Branded Advent Calendars
Not sure if I’ve been in Asia too long but I seriously like the idea of Disney Christmas calendars. You can get 12 days of socks of Disney Characters or Star Wars patterns. An extremely cutesy version are the Disney Tsum Tsum mini dolls that come in 31 stackable pieces.
Let’s keep it classier. There are toiletries and luxury advent calenders as well. You can get an Estee Lauder holiday calendar in sleek black, white and red that folds out like a beauty box should. It’s painted like a house and contains lipsticks, serums and lotions. Take a closer look .
Are you into high end nail polish? Then you know the OPI brand. For this year, they have released a Nutcracker version that looks absolutely fabulous. (And makes me wanna see the movie even sooner.)
The L’Occitane Luxury Advent Calendar has me particularly excited. I adore the scent of their products! And the calendar design is super pop and colourful.
If you are gifting a Christmas calendar to a/your man; there are male beauty calendars out there as well. This one comes in a “manly” box and contains hair trimming utensils, gels, washing lotions and even lip balm.
Fun fact: The word for advent calendar in German is “Adventskalender”.
Wooden German Advent Calendar
Ever heard of the wooden Christmas arches (“Schwibbogen”) from the ore Mountains in Germany? It’s a classic Christmas decorative piece lit up by candles, depicting Christmas scenes.
Wooden Christmas decorations have played a big role in German Christmases because they are practical and don’t go bad. (Apples and other food hung on trees didn’t last that long, you know.) So why not get a Christmas calendar with wooden treats in it, such as tree hangers and figurines?
This Buyers’ Choice calendar I found is made from high quality wood and painted beautifully as a traditional half timbered house with a cute snowman. It even comes with its own storing box so you can file it away until next Christmas once you’ve opened all the doors. You can get it in the form of a Christmas tree as well.
More pinteresty and modern is this nature wood Christmas calendar. Each box I either painted with adorable minimalist Christmas symbols or the respective numbers. It has 25 drawers – perfect if you are celebrating Christmas on the 25th December.. (Unlike Germans who celebrate on Christmas Eve.)
German Advent Calendar with Chocolate
Having pretty pictures or decorative items in your advent calendar is all good fun but what if you have a sweet tooth like I am? With a recent study saying chocolate is great for breakfast, I’d say get one of the German chocolate advent calendars. Start the day with a piece of chocolate.
Granted, most German chocolate advent calendars like this one aren’t all that great with the chocolate flavour. (As a kid I didn’t care, honestly.) But if you opt for one from an actual chocolate brand, things taste much different. I can recommend Lindt and Milka chocolates. (Speaking from personal addiction.)
Did you know you can have a 3d advent calendar that gives chocolates? This one is easy to set up and apparently doesn’t use gluten (but it’s not officially declared as such). The chocolate is standard fare, though.
Read this too: Travelling Germany’s Ore Mountains
Other Chocolate Advent Calendars
Maybe your chocoholic world doesn’t revolve around German chocolate. (How?!) Well, there are international varieties as well. I am majorly addicted to Reese’s and splurge on them every time I visit the US.
It’s great news that there is a Reese’s Advent Calendar as well. Gimme a miniature peanut butter cup every day! (Which is also great for limiting my intake of them. Perfect diet decision!) It comes with a quirky reindeer bag.
Do you enjoy Cadbury (the UK version, not the Oceania version)? Try the Cadbury calendar. The chocolate is super yummy and I dote on Cadbury, too.
Ok, this is technically German as well but it has more treats than just chocolate. Kinder products are generally just super delicious and the Mini Mix calendar includes mini kinder country, kinder bueno, kinder chocolate and 2 figures.
Bascicaly there are Christmas calenders for all kinds of well known sweet treats out there, like Mars, Celebrations, Maltesers# or M&Ms.
Read this too: German Christmas Traditions
Candy & Alcohol Advent Calendars
Should chocolate not be your thing entirely, why not try Haribo? This German gummy bear classic is sold across the world for a reason. It’s just that good and you can have it as your Christmas calendar as well. It contains mini packages and Christmas shaped exclusives. Check it out here.
I don’t drink alcohol but if that’s something you (or your chosen giftee) enjoy, try a booze Christmas calendar. It will help you tap into the Christmas “spirits”. Only downside: you have to fill it up yourself with a beverage of your choice.
Tea Advent Calendars
Christmas time involves “Besinnlichkeit” (contemplation) in Germany and what better time to do your reflections than be all snug with a cup of hot tea in your hands? (There aren’t any mulled wine advent calendars, as far as I know.)
I personally like all kinds of tea. (And yes, I do count German fruit infusions as tea, too.) But English breakfast teas with milk are some of my favourites. So it’s great that there is a Twinings advent calendar ! It includes the classic Earl Grey but also special flavours like Winter Spice, Lapsang Souchong and Pure White Tea.
Another brand I really love (and that is a bit more expensive, making it a great Christmas gift) is Pukka. The Pukka Christmas calendar that comes with a Pukka tin as well. Herbal tea flavours include three cinnamon, original chai and turmeric gold.
For an even fancier tea Christmas calendar, try the version by Palais des Thés. The calendar looks super classy in dark blue and with stars and flower petals on it. Tea flavours include Big Ben, Organic Brazilian Detox and Rooibos N°25. Find more flavours here.
Read this too: How to Get into the Xmas Spirit when You Celebrate Abroad
Cat Advent Calendars
Cat lovers will undeniably endorse these as the best advent calendars! You can get them with cat themed treats for yourself or actually get cat treat calendars for your cat! Options are endless.
Sadly though, the Amazon or Ebay advent calendars I found were mostly not particularly cute. Some were definitely targeted at children. If you don’t care too much and just want cats, have a look at this carolling cats advent calendar. (Love the “Purrfect Harmony” title pun) There is one with dogs as well.
This advent calendar features three kitties in Christmas socks and a cat picture for each day. They are accompanied by short quotes as well. The company ships from Vermont, so you will get the advent calendar fast if you are US based.
Christian Advent Calendars
Of course there are also Amazon advent calendars for Christians. No modern Santa Claus, it’s all about the nativity scenes. A beautiful piece is the “No Room at the Inn Advent Calendar“ depicting Maria and Joseph gazing at the radiant baby Jesus. It’s 11per 14 inches big.
If you prefer Christian advent calendars that fold out (and look similar to an altar piece), try the “Visiting the Manger Free Standing Advent Calendar”. This too is a picture advent calendar and is 18 per 9 inches.
Not surprisingly, there are also Stained Glass Nativity Advent Calendars on Amazon. Upon opening each door, you will see a small bible scene and corresponding verse. It tells the entire story leading up to the birth of Jesus. Just as does this beautiful large advent calendar of 17 inch diametre.
Read this too: How to Have the Best German Christmas Markets Experience
DIY Advent Calendars
If you’d rather be hands on making advent calendars, that’s totally possible as well.And the big upside is, you can usually reuse it the next year. The lazy person’s version is stringing up 24 Christmas socks or mini bags and filling them with treats, uplifting notes or vouchers.
You can also have your favourite photos or collages printed on an advent calendar you can order at photo service websites, like photobox or snapfish.
Alternatively, you can get a wooden Christmas calendar and fill up the boxes yourself. Make it look really stylish with a carved Christmas calendar, like this one with illuminated houses on a sleigh.
A traditional German wooden calendar style is the one from Kurt Adler, which is battery powered so you can place it on your windowsill at night. It is 13 inches wide and has delicate details. Should you want to paint your piece, get a simple tree shaped advent calendar and get creative. (Get this prepainted one if you like the handpainted style but aren’t artsy.)
Read this too: How to DIY Your Travel Memories into Travel Souvenirs
Are Advent Calendars Worth It?
Sure, I am biased when I say: absolutely! Growing up with the German Christmas tradition of advent calendars, I really need one to get into the mood. When I travel, I bring along a small postcard advent calendar to put on my bedside table.
Opening a door daily – even without a treat – fills me with excitement. Especially when the weather doesn’t comply with my expectations of white winter wonderlands, a little thing like a calendar helps. And there are cheap advent calendars as well if you don’t want to spend a lot. Try it!
Which type of Christmas advent calendars would you pick?
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