Really Fun Advent Calendars That Don’t Involve Chocolate

What is an advent calendar and how did they get so popular, you ask? In the Christian tradition, the four Sundays before Christmas (Advent) were marked by lighting a candle and fasting. Eventually, people started counting all of the days in anticipation of Christmas Eve. Advent calendars can be made of paper, wood, little bags, stockings, or anything else you can think of. In the 1950’s, companies started filling them with chocolate and the popularity took off. Today, you can find them filled with nail polish, candles, jam, pet treats and more. Let the counting begin!

Coffee Advent Calendars

This lovely coffee advent calendar from Kaffebox will have you running to your advent calendar first thing in the morning to get your coffee fix. There’s nothing better than waking up to a different whole bean specialty coffee from one of the best craft coffee roasters in Scandinavia each morning in December. You can buy one for yourself or send one to a coffee loving friend.

Boozy Advent Calendars

Maybe coffee’s not your thing and you want to open your advent calendar at night.  Bring your wine glass or bottle opener and cozy up to a different treat each night. This is a DIY cardboard advent calendar which you can decorate any way you’d like, fill with imbibables (is that a word?) of your choice, and let your loved one look forward to the surprise. This holds both bottles and cans, beer and wine, sodas and….?

Manly Advent – AKA “ManVent”

advent calendar for men

The one. The only. The ManVent. Manly man meets advent calendar. Brimming with artisanal jerky, craft beers, and all things salty, nutty, and hot, this advent calendar will appeal to your man every day of the month. But, as a woman, I like it too!


Krampus adent

If you’ve never met Krampus, then you’re lucky! Krampus is the Old World polar opposite of Santa Claus. Santa gives good little children gifts, Krampus gives bad little children the switch! Each day of this calendar introduces you to a new legendary creature associated with Christmas. You’ll meet the Yule Cat who eats people who don’t have new clothes for Christmas and a bevy of little gremlins with names like Sausage Stealer, Bowl Licker, and Window Peeper.

For Fido and Fluffy

cat food advent calendar

Really, does anyone name their dog Fido or their cat Fluffy anymore? Did they ever? Whatever you call your little ball of fur, you have to admit that you want to include them in your holiday rituals. Maybe you dress them up. Maybe you make them sing. Or perhaps they get their own advent calendars just like all the other members of the family. My cats are very particular (surprise!) and although the Trader Joe’s cat advent calendars are cute, my cats didn’t care for the treats. I do know they like Fancy Feast – they eat it every day – so why not give them a few new flavors to try? We’ll see how it goes.

For your doggy dog, some candy cane shaped chews and treats hide behind the doors of this advent calendar for dogs. Each day will make your dog sit up and beg for more! (sorry, I had to write that).

Virtual Advent Calendars

If you have too much stuff, are low on space, or simply want to try something different, how about a virtual advent calendar? These are downloadable programs where each day offers a different experience. Try the free MyAdvent to personalize each day with videos, songs, or pictures or get transported to the Nordic countries with Jacquie Lawson’s beautifully animated virtual advent calendar for 2020, featuring games, animated scenes, and other amusements.

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