Best Alternative Advent Calendars of 2016 for Kids – Haribo, Play Doh, Kinder and More!

Opening an advent calendar door each morning must be one of the best things about December. But advent calendars have come a long way since the cardboard-like chocolates that I remember from my childhood. There are now loads of non chocolate advent calendars available to suit any taste – whether  your passion is Haribo or Playmobil.

So browse though our selection of advent calendars for this year and remember to get your orders in soon – the popular ones sell out fast!

Haribo Advent Calendar 2016


The Haribo advent calendar is a perennial favourite and here’s the version for 2016. Each door contains one of 16 varieties of chewy jelly sweets including cola bottles, gummy bears,  maom and several special edition seasonal sweets such as Christmas minis, winterland minis and gummy gingerbread mean


Kinder Egg Advent Calendar


Ok it’s still chocolate but there are sure to be no complaints when it’s as yummy as Kinder chocolate! This egg shaped calendar, imported from Europe, contains 11 kinder eggs and a selection of other chocolates and toys for each day.


hotwheels advent calendar

This Hot Wheels advent calendar would definitely be my little boy’s favourite and I’m sure there are lots of other kids who’d agree with him! The windows include 8 Hot Wheels cars and 16 accessories


Mega Bloks Advent Calendar – Minions


This fantastic Mega Bloks advent calendar contains 221 pieces and each window includes a buildable toy with a festive theme. There’s a Christmas tree, fireplace, sledge, reindeer, gingerbread man and minon characters with festive outfits. Kids are sure to love this high quality toy advent calendar


Play Doh Advent Calendara1zsiydnjjl-_sl1500_

Every kid loves play doh and this is a great alternative advent calendar if you prefer not to hand out chocolate or sweets every day. The doors include a different mould or stamper every day and there are also five tubs of play doh and a play mat included.


Thomas and Friends Advent Calendar


This is one of the must-have advent calendars this year. It’s not inexpensive but if you factor it into your Christmas present budget, you’re going to have one happy kid this year! In fact, as the Thomas & Friends minis retail at around £6 each, the advent calendar containing 24 of them is actually an amazing deal.


Lego City Advent Calendarlego-cty-advent-calendar

Lego make some great toy advent calendars and this is one of the most popular ones. Each of the 24 doors contains a lego figure, vehicle or building with a festive theme (Santa with his sleigh and a Christmas tree are included!)

See other Lego advent calendars here


Paw Patrol Advent Calendarpaw-patrol-advent-calendar

Do you have any Paw Patrol fans in your house? I know I do (two of them)! If so, they’ll love this Paw Patrol advent calendar with 24 surprise crafty Paw Patrol gifts including crayons, coloured pencils, marker pens, stamps, erasers, a sharpener, glue, an inkpad, stencils, envelopes, a notepad and stickers.


Baby Advent Calendar by Vtech


If you’re looking for an advent calendar for the youngest member of your family, both of you will love this Vtech Baby To0t-Toot Drivers advent calendar. The gifts are fun festive baby toys such as a reindeer, sleigh, snowman and penguin and there’s also a toot-toot drivers truck that plays Christmas music and festive sound effects and the box folds down to creat a road. The truck is compatible with other Toot-Toot drivers sets and responds to SmartPoint locations.buy1._V192240163_

Playmobil Christmas on the Farm Advent Calendar with Santa Playset


Playmobil is my kids current obsession and I’m quite fond of it too! The great thing about Playmobil is that all the sets are interchangeable and it’s something that can be collected to and added to over the years. The pieces are great quality and pretty indestructible and you’ll never be stuck for ideas for birthday and Christmas presents again! This calendar includes 72 Playmobil pieces including farm animals, vehicles and Santa with his angel.

See other Playmobil advent calendars here.


Barbie Advent Calendar

barbie-advent-calendarIf you’ve got a little girl who loves all things Barbie, she’ll love this advent calendar containing 24 gifts and accessories for her Barbie dolls such as shoes, purses, jewellery, a hair dryer and camera.


Retro Sweets Advent Calendar


I was very tempted to include this one in the list of adult advent calendars because I know plenty of grown-ups (myself included!) who would love this calendar. the set includes 24 striped paper bags, stickers, raffia for tying and mini clothes pegs, along with an amazing selection of retro sweets to fill it with. Get it from Not On The High Street.

Lego Friends Advent Calendar


Lego friends sets are really popular at the moment, my daughter loves them (and we may have one or two lined up as a Christmas present for her!) This advent calendar contains lego friends figures, musical instruments, a fireplace, a pet hamster and other goodies. You can also visit the Lego Friends official website every Sunday before Christmas and on Christmas Eve to get new instructions to build something with all the pieces you have collected from your calendar that week.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Advent Calendar


This fun Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mega Bloks advent calendar includes buildable figures, accessories and toys (and pizza of course!) 4 bandanas are included to make the turtle figure look like any of the Ninja Turtles.


Playmobil Snowy Park Ice Skating Advent Calendar


I love the playmobil sets because they’re so detailed and the advent calendars are just the same. This one contains Royal family figures out for an ice skate with all sorts of woodland creatures and other accessories like a sled and a birdhouse. There’s also a bonus wearable bracelet hidden behind one of the doors as an extra suprise


Schleich Dinosaurs Advent Calendarschileich-dinosaurs-advent-calender

Schleich figures are always detailed and amazing quality. If you have a little one at home who’s obsessed with dinosaurs, this advent calendar containing dinosaur and skeleton figures, an egg, plants and other figures, is both fun and educational.


Baby’s First Advent Calendar Keepsake


Ok let’s face it, this advent calendar is more for the parents than the baby but it makes a lovely way to remember baby’s first Christmas to look back on in the years to come. This beautifully illustrated calendar has spaces for each day to record baby’s milestones, memories and special occasions in the run up to Christmas. Get it from Not On The High Street.

WOW Toys Countdown Calendar

71giymyvl-_sl1000_This calendar is intended to be used as a countdown to any special day, not just Christmas and it only has 10 days, not the usual 24. However it makes a great advent calendar for toddlers and younger children. Each door contains a good quality toy with a space theme. They can be played with separately or together (some of them fit together)

buy1._V192240163_Nutcracker Charm Bracelet Advent Calendar

nutcracker-charm-bracelet-advent-calendarThis is a beautiful advent calendar for older girls. The box is shaped like a music box and each door contains a Christmas-themed charm that can be added to the bracelet you get on the first day.


Cool Cosmetics Advent Calendar for Tweens and Teenagers

cool-cosmetics-advent-calendarThis is another great advent calendar for queens. There are quite a few cosmetic advent calendars aimed at adults but this is the first one I’ve seen for younger girls. suprises inside the doors include eye shadows, lip glosses, nail varnishes, nail stickers and body glitters.


Hello Kitty Advent Calendar


This house-shaped advent calendar contains 6 mini figurines of Hello Kitty and her friends and 18 gifts and accessories such as furniture and a Christmas tree. Once all the doors are open, you can open up the box to reveal a floor plan and create a Hello Kitty playset.


Scratch off Advent Calendar Poster



All kids seem to love scratch cards and so any child is sure to be delighted with this large advent calendar poster which includes 24 foil squares that can be scratched off with a coin to reveal fun Christmas characters. Get it from Not On The High Street.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Advent Calendar


This Jelly Belly advent calendar is perfect for those who like their advent calendar treats to be edible, but don’t like chocolate. The calendar contains 24 packets of jelly beans in different flavours.


Disney Frozen Advent Calendar


Frozen continues to be popular and this Frozen advent calendar containing makeup and accessories is sure to be loved by any little girl. Treats behind the door include eyeshadows, lip glosses, nail varnishes, hair clips and more


Melissa and Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar

melissa-doug-countdown-to-chrismas-wooden-advent-calendarSometimes younger kids don’t really understand the concept of advent calendars and want all the chocolate and toys at once. This is a great alternative for toddlers to get involved and excited about Christmas by adding one of the magnetic ornaments to the wooden tree each day. Like all Melissa & Doug toys, it’s great quality and can be re-used year after year.buy1._V192240163_

Playmobil Advent Calendar Unicorn Fairyland


This gorgeous advent calendar comes with a cardboard forest scene and you get a new fairy figure, woodland creature or accessory to go with it every day. Lovely for little girls and can be used to expand the fairy playmobil sets.


Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar 2016

lego-star-wars-calendar-2016This is the new version of the Lego Star Wars advent calendar for 2016 and as always is great quality and highly collectible. These advent calendars sell for huge amounts of money on ebay once you can’t buy them online so it’s worth buying an extra to keep! The calendar includes 8 minifigures, a battle droid and various Star Wars vehicles.


Eric Carle’s Popup Advent Calendar


A beautifully illustrated advent calendar that makes a great alternative to chocolate for young children. Each day you open a box and get a cut-out decoration to hang on the tree. After Christmas it can be flattened and used again next year.


Playmobil Santa’s workshop Advent Calendar

playmobil-advent-calendar-santas-workshopYes there have been a lot of Playmobil advent calendars featured in this list (and there are a lot more, click here to see them all!) but it really wouldn’t be complete without the most Christmassy one of all: Santa’s workshop. Gifts behind the door each day includes figures of Santa, an angel and two elves, a reindeer, a sleigh, and lots of presents to fill it with.buy1._V192240163_

Balloon Advent Calendar


This fun advent calendar is great for kids of all ages and really makes each day in the run-up to Christmas go with a bang! The set contains the reindeer garland, a balloon pump and 24 red balloons, each pre-stuffed with a Christmas Chocolate. Get it from Not On The High Street.

Wooden Advent House


A great alternative to traditional advent calendars is buying a sturdy wooden advent calendar like this and filling it with small gifts or toys of your choice. The drawers are big enough to fit a lego figure or other small toy and can be used year after year.


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