Every child and adult who appreciates Christmas must have an Advent calendar. The Advent season begins on the Sunday four weeks prior to Christmas Day. Use this time to get into the Christmas spirit and prepare for your holiday celebrations.
An Advent calendar will help you count down the 24 days until Christmas Day. Here, we’ll take a look at ten top picks for online Advent calendars.
What Is an Advent Calendar?
At its core, the Advent calendar is a Christmas countdown calendar. In its simplest form, it consists of at least 24 numbered flaps that cover festive images printed onto cardboard. Starting on the first day of the Advent season with door one. The calendar owner opens one door per day, until Christmas Eve (December 24) or Christmas Day (December 25).
The Advent calendar has been a staple of Christmas traditions since the 19th century. First used by German Lutherans, it was soon adopted by Christians around the world to celebrate the season leading up to Christmas. Throughout its history, the Advent calendar took on many forms, such as 24 chalk lines painted on a wall or door.
Today, Advent calendars are predominantly made for children. Hence, the festive images are commonly combined with small pieces of chocolate. Other modern takes on the Advent calendar include colorful numbered sacks or boxes. And these can be filled with simple gifts, including candy, nuts, dry fruit, toys, and small useful items like socks or pencils.
While you can buy a variety of calendars in stores, people often handcraft Advent calendars as part of Christmas DIY projects for their loved ones. Recently, digital calendars have become a popular promotional tool. You’ll find companies that organize giveaways around an Advent calendar, or tourist destinations that showcase their attractions.
The Best Premade Advent Calendars
Why Christmas is a website that deals in child-friendly information about Christmas. Built as a side project for teacher friends in 2000, it has grown into the largest of its kind. Web developer James Cooper and his little helper Bruce the Spruce keep the site running ad-free to this day.
The Why Christmas advent calendar is full of surprises drawn from the site’s archives. Each flap hides a seasonal image. Click it to open your Christmas background story of the day, though you might also uncover other surprises.
The Musical Advent Calendar is a mobile app. It features 25 free pieces of classical Christmas music, one for each day of the Christmas season. You can replay the songs offline and as often as you like.
Download: Musical Advent Calendar for iOS (Free)
BookWidgets is an interactive learning platform. Every year, they offer an updated advent calendar that teachers can use with their class. Since it’s free, you can use it with your kids, too.
Each day, the kids can complete a Christmas activity, such as writing a letter to Santa or helping Santa’s friend find their way out of the maze. The activities are driven by different widgets, including the hotspot image widget, hangman widget, crossword widget, and many more.
If you have a free BookWidgets account, you can even customize the default calendar with widgets from the public library, but be sure to duplicate the widget you want to change first.
SantaGames.Net brings you an Advent calendar for kids, full of online games, crosswords, puzzles, screensavers, and Christmas surprises. There’s a good chance your child will get distracted with the Christmas themed games on the site.
The only thing that’s regrettable about this Christmas calendar is the autoplay midi and sound effects that you cannot turn off. The quickest way to escape the music is to hit a date and go to the game on the linked page.
If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, you can mute individual tabs: just right-click the offending tab and select the Mute tab. Don’t like browser games? Try these Christmas mobile games for Android and iPhone.
The Advent calendar by the Jesuit Ministry Loyola Press will help grownups slow down during an often stressful holiday season:
Authors and bloggers Vinita Hampton Wright, Joe Paprocki, Becky Eldredge, James Martin, SJ, and others share resources to nurture your spirituality at this busy time of year.
In good old tradition, Loyola Press’s Advent calendar starts on the first day of the Advent season, which is the first of four Advent Sundays prior to Christmas Eve.
Loyola Press invites you to take a moment on each of the days leading up to Christmas Day, to embrace the spirit of Christmas and get into a calm and contemplative mood for the holidays.
The site offers additional Advent calendars, including one for children and printable Advent calendars.
The Anglican Communion’s Advent Word Meditation is an interactive, multicultural online Advent calendar, and you can contribute to it:
Simply respond to the daily meditation emailed to you with images and prayers that speak to your heart. Your images and prayers will appear in the Advent Calendar with others from around the world.
You can create an account, receive your daily meditation via email, respond, and share your reflections on social media using the hashtag #AdventWord.
This Christmas calendar is a great way to participate in the global community and experience the joy as the world prays together. The responses from all participants are pulled into a crowdsourced calendar every day.
Let’s change things up a bit. We’ll briefly move away from the everyday and walk into geekdom. “It’s a Shape Christmas” is a beautiful digital Advent calendar made by design geeks. The idea is simple. It’s a digital calendar on the surface, but click the dates that count down to Christmas, and you’ll get to share the artwork on social media.
Each day reveals one illustration that is themed around four different shapes (square, triangle, circle, and hexagon) and Christmas. This is a global collaborative project by 25 designers from around the world.
If you love web design, then check out the 24Ways Calendar, too. While it’s not been updated since 2019, each day on the calendar brings you a daily dose of web design and development goodness.
Your Custom DIY Advent Calendar
Do none of the Advent calendars above appeal to you? Or would you like to gift a digital Christmas calendar to a friend? Then why not just make your own online Christmas countdown calendar!
To create your personal online Advent calendar with MyAdvent, just upload photos, add written messages and video links, customize the style, and share the link with your friend.
There’s no pressure to finish the entire calendar by December 1, or before you share the link! You can go back and make changes whenever you have time. Just remember to complete each door before it’s due. MyAdvent also has apps for iOS and Android.
On Türchen (German for “small door”), you can design your Advent calendar in three simple steps, no registration required. First, fill your calendar with video URLs, GIFs, images, and personal messages. Second, decorate your calendar using your own pictures or templates. Finally, share your Christmas calendar with a lucky recipient.
What’s unique about this Advent calendar is that you can customize the calendar’s time frame. Moreover, you can fill your calendar with preset content. As with MyAdvent, you can go back and edit your calendar as often as you like.
Advent My Friend offers another free DIY online Advent calendar. Have a look at their calendar demo to see what a finished calendar could look like. Like on Türchen, you can autofill your calendar with items from the demo, or add your own images, video URLs, and personal messages.
Furthermore, you can personalize the name, background image, and hide the numbers. You can share the link to your Christmas calendar through social media networks or email, and you can embed the calendar on your website. You’ll also receive an email with an administration link, which will allow you to edit the calendar anytime.
This Is Your Christmas Season
Are you in the mood for Christmas yet? These Advent calendars are sure to get you and your family excited about the big day. If those days leading up still get too long, you can pass the time by enjoying one of the many Christmas movies on Netflix.