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Best Nativity Advent Calendars

Updated November 2023
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Pros
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Best of the Best
Precious Moments "O Come Let Us Adore Him" Nativity Advent Calendar
Precious Moments
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" Nativity Advent Calendar
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Highly Collectible
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Whether you are a Precious Moments collector or just want a pretty Advent calendar with a nativity theme, this is the perfect option for celebrating the countdown to Christmas.

Pros

Features durable wood construction with 24 drawers that conceal beautiful Precious Moments nativity figures. Nativity scene can be displayed on top of the calendar as the days to Christmas are counted.

Cons

Pricey. A few reports of quality control issues that include damage, repeat draw numbers, and missing pieces.

Best Bang for the Buck
Vermont Christmas Company A Gift for The King Chocolate Advent Calendar & Nativity Story
Vermont Christmas Company
A Gift for The King Chocolate Advent Calendar & Nativity Story
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Simple Yet Solid
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A simple option with a nativity theme and delicious chocolate to honor the 24 days before Christmas.

Pros

Inexpensive Advent calendar with a nativity theme and 24 pieces of chocolate. Each window tells part of the Christmas story, and each piece of chocolate is wrapped to look like a tiny Christmas gift.

Cons

Some customers griped about bent or torn calendars and missing pieces upon arrival.

Kurt Adler Battery-Operated Wooden LED Nativity Advent Calendar
Kurt Adler
Battery-Operated Wooden LED Nativity Advent Calendar
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Lights Up
Bottom Line

Light your Christmas countdown for years to come with this lighted nativity Advent calendar with ample space for goodies.

Pros

Beautiful nativity scene built into the calendar is made even better thanks to battery-powered LED lighting. Plywood construction with 24 drawers that will fit your favorite holiday treats or small gifts.

Cons

A few calendars had drawers that were difficult to open. Price falls on the higher end.

Vermont Christmas Company Tidings of Joy Fabric Advent Calendar
Vermont Christmas Company
Tidings of Joy Fabric Advent Calendar
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Easiest to Use
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It may not have extra frills, but this hanging Advent calendar incorporates the story of Christmas with a fun way to mark off the days until December 25.

Pros

Fabric calendar with 24 pockets that contain nativity figures that attach via Velcro. Pockets can also be used to stash small items. Easy to hang. Enjoyable for kids.

Cons

Questionable longevity, as the stitching is prone to unraveling.

Oriental Cherry Advent Calendar
Oriental Cherry
Advent Calendar
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Great for Kids
Bottom Line

This Advent calendar is perfect for kids with allergy issues with candy or chocolate.

Pros

Instead of 24 days, this calendar extends an extra day onto Christmas so you can complete the nativity scene on the big day itself. You can repack the set and use it again year after year as a fun tradition.

Cons

Some of the sizes are inconsistent, such as a cat bigger than a sheep.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best nativity Advent calendars

Few things build more excitement for Christmas than the beloved Advent calendar. For followers of the Christian faith, a nativity Advent calendar is particularly meaningful. It’s engaging for adults and children alike, building suspense while offering small treats each day.

Before committing to a nativity Advent calendar, there are some key factors to keep in mind. Consider the size you want. Do you need large spaces with drawers or doors for inserting small presents, or would you prefer one that already includes some treats? You should also consider the material it’s made of in case you want to reuse it in the future. Regardless of your preferences, there is an Advent calendar that’s just right for your holiday season.

nativity
Different Christian traditions have different depictions of the nativity scene. Some incorporate more animals while others only include Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

How to buy the best nativity Advent calendar

What is an Advent calendar?

The purpose of an Advent calendar is to count down the days of Advent, the name for the season leading up to Jesus Christ’s birth on December 25. This is traditionally a season of expectation, celebration, and preparation. Today, Advent is observed over the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The exact dates of Advent vary from year to year, but it typically starts in late November and ends on Christmas Eve.

Early Advent calendars can be traced back to 18th century Germany, where people would count down the days using chalk marks or candles. In the early 1900s, a man named Gerhard Lang is credited with creating the Advent calendar as we know it. It initially appeared in newspaper inserts before evolving into a three-dimensional calendar, with each date containing a door that opens to reveal a treat.

These calendars grew in popularity through the 20th century. President Dwight Eisenhower was famously photographed opening an Advent calendar with his grandchildren, further skyrocketing the enthusiasm for these calendars. Traditionally, Advent calendars included candy, which has made them particularly appealing to children, but people of all ages can join in the fun.

Many of the early commercial Advent calendars were packaged as nativity calendars, meaning they incorporated manger scenes and other imagery from the birth of Jesus Christ. Today, buyers have more options, including secular designs. For those who keep the original meaning of Christmas close, a nativity Advent calendar is the way to go.

Calendar format

Doors: Nativity Advent calendars can be configured in a few different ways. One traditional format is a cardboard calendar with a door for each date. Opening the paper door reveals a small treat inside.

Drawers: Another common format for these calendars includes drawers. In this case, the calendar is more like a piece of furniture consisting of 22 to 28 tiny drawers, each with enough space for a small treat or present.

Pockets: Other nativity Advent calendars include a dowel for hanging on the wall. Each date has a pocket for presents rather than a door or drawer.

Size

Nativity Advent calendars are available in a wide range of sizes. The most affordable are typically smaller (think of the size of a typical wall calendar). These are easy to carry around and won’t take up too much space, but this also means that the space for gifts is limited too.

Other calendars, such as those with drawers, are closer to the size of a small piece of furniture or dollhouse. One of these calendars makes a great gift for children, especially those that mimic dollhouses. Young children enjoy the tactile nature of pulling open a drawer to reveal their Advent surprise. If you plan to customize the gifts with bulkier items like small toys, consider choosing a larger calendar with drawers.

Material

While paper nativity Advent calendars are quite common, these calendars are made of other materials as well.

Cardboard is by far the most budget-friendly option. These calendars have few frills, but they still capture the anticipation of Advent.

Fabric similar to that used for quilts makes up some other popular Advent calendars. These calendars usually include a dowel for hanging and charming, hand-stitched designs of nativity scenes.

Wooden Advent calendars are quite charming. These are the calendars that include drawers or other large compartments to hold customized gifts. Wooden Advent calendars aren’t cheap, but when taken care of, they will last long enough to get passed down through generations.

Many nativity Advent calendars tell the story of Christmas date by date, with a sentence or two of the story in each compartment.

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What features should I look for in a nativity Advent calendar?

Included gifts

To save money, consider an Advent calendar that’s already filled with a gift for each date. Candies are the most common present since they’re inexpensive and small enough to fit neatly in each compartment. The quality of the candy varies depending on the price of the calendar. If you want to splurge, you can definitely go for a calendar that includes deluxe chocolates.

There are pros and cons to getting an Advent calendar that’s already filled. You can save money and won’t have to stress about finding additional gifts, but if you enjoy customizing each gift for the recipients, you might want to choose a calendar that doesn’t include gifts.

Nativity scene design

How important is the depiction of the nativity scene to you? A quality, well-designed wooden nativity Advent calendar might incorporate a beautifully detailed nativity scene complete with infant Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and sheep. Different nativity scenes incorporate different characters, but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph should be in all of them. Calendars made of fabric tend to be simpler and more cartoonlike in design. Regardless of the design, a quality nativity Advent calendar should include the nativity scene as a focal point in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

advent calendars
DID YOU KNOW?
The name “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which means “arrival.”
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How much do nativity Advent calendars cost?

Inexpensive

You can readily find nativity Advent calendars in the $10 to $25 range. More often than not, these are made of cardboard and include chocolates as the gifts. These calendars are disposable, so they can’t be used year after year or passed down to different family members.

Mid-range

If you have a little extra to spend, the calendars in the $25 to $50 range have a lot to offer. At this price, you can find many fabric calendars as well as cardboard ones. These fabric calendars have pockets to hold your own Advent presents.

Expensive

For $50 and more, your nativity Advent calendar options are limitless. There are additional fabric calendars available along with calendars with drawers. Some include elaborate depictions of the nativity scene. If you want a calendar that will last for years and years, one of these might be worth the investment.

If you want to avoid filling your nativity Advent calendar with sugar, consider small toys, finger puppets, beads, or hair accessories. You can also include experiences like a trip to the movies.

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Tips

  • Clean your fabric or wooden Advent calendar. Occasional maintenance is important. You can wipe down a wooden calendar with a rag dipped in mildly soapy warm water. It’s best to spot clean fabric calendars or hand-wash them gently.
  • Have fun filling the calendar. If you opt for a reusable Advent calendar, there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on the presents. You can use stocking stuffers like fun-size candies, crayons, markers, lip balm, and gum.
  • Find other ways to celebrate Advent. You can make Advent wreaths and send Christmas cards throughout the season. Acts of kindness and service are excellent additions to your family’s Advent celebrations.
advent calendar
The length of Advent varies depending on denomination. Much of the Western Christian population observes Advent as the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Others, such as Eastern Orthodox Christians, observe Advent as the 40 days leading up to Christmas.

FAQ

Q. Is a nativity Advent calendar worth the cost?

A. That depends. For some, it might feel like yet another item to buy during an already expensive Christmas season. For others, the calendar is a purposeful reminder of the “reason for the season.” It’s also a great way to make the whole Christmas season fun for kids, not just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You can always opt for a budget-friendly calendar rather than splurging on an expensive model.

Q. Do all Christians mark the holidays with a nativity Advent calendar?

A. These calendars are common across most Western denominations of Christianity, including Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and some Protestant sects.

 

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