Melissa and Doug Advent / Countdown-to-Christmas Calendar Sale

There is a good sale this morning on one of my favorite Advent / Countdown-to-Christmas calendars (normally $16-17ish, this morning $11.68 at time of posting):

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I bought one a number of years ago, and it’s one of my favorite holiday things to bring out. Even Rob, who is now 18, still wants a turn choosing which ornament to put up next. It’s all wooden, nice quality, and nice and flat for storing. I like that there’s a little box for the ornaments that haven’t been put up yet.

I don’t want to wait long for this, because I’m worried the price will go up—but IF THE PRICE STAYS LOW and doesn’t, say, suddenly go to only third-party sellers trying to get $50 for it, I will do a giveaway of one of these mid-day, U.S. addresses only. No comment-content requirement, but if you’re like me and you get shy trying to think of what to say, tell me if you had an Advent / Countdown-to-Christmas calendar when you were growing up, and/or if you have one now.

[Edited to add: Jessica (Nov 24, 2017 @ 1:49) is the winner!]

In fact, let’s talk about that even if you don’t want to enter the contest (just make a note of that in your comment), and even after I’ve picked someone, because that’s a fun topic and it’s after Thanksgiving now.

When I was growing up, we made a paper chain, alternating red and green links. Each night we could take off one link. Inside each link was written an activity for that evening: sing Christmas carols; watch a family slide show (real slides! we had a screen!); make gingerbread houses; read a Christmas story; draw a nativity scene. (I think my mom must have sorted them to make sure we didn’t have a bigger activity on a busy night.)

When the kids were little, I bought a really cute drawered unit with one drawer for each day until Christmas—but it was too hard to think what to put in the drawers, so I gave up on that. Now we have the Melissa and Doug one.

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Also, this year I bought the Lego Advent Calendar for the first time, at a price significantly lower than what I see it is today. I’ve been tempted every year, but they’re so expensive, and then last year I thought, “By gum, I’m going to buy one!!”—and then it sold out, and I was disappointed. So this year I bought one, and we will just see. I’ve heard such mixed reviews of delight and disappointment, I think my expectations are nicely managed. It’ll be fun to TRY, even if it is not all that we hoped.

40 thoughts on “Melissa and Doug Advent / Countdown-to-Christmas Calendar Sale

  1. Virginia

    Oh my twin girls and little boy would love this. Growing up I had the best advent calendar. My grandma made each of us four kids a long banner of red felt with yarn sewn on it. My mom would then tie on 24 mini candy canes for us to have one a day. It was super ugly and low tech, but I still have the best memories of it.

  2. Vicki Benyo

    I did not have an advent calendar growing up. As one of nine kids we didn’t do stockings either! For my own kids I’d find those chocolate ones after Christmas and stick them in the freezer for next year. This would be fun to do with my two little grandkids.

    1. Joyce

      Me too with last year’s chocolate! Except I just put it in a high cupboard. It doesn’t expire til Feb 2018, and the kids are not picky.

  3. Kerri

    That’s so cute, my sons would love this! We have one with little wooden boxes now, we just get a bag of mini mixed chocolates and throw them in. I’d love to fill it with ideas and things to do, but I just don’t have the energy to do that.

  4. Diana

    I did the same thing with the lego one this year! I can’t wait to give it to the kids. Which is why I don’t want to order another one, and yet I’d be happy to win it as a prize. As a kid we would save the paper ones from every year and keep opening them but I don’t seem to do it with my own kids.

  5. Pamela G.

    I don’t remember having an advent calendar at home, but do remember making a paper countdown chain at least once at school. For my kids, we vary it by year.

    For the last few years, I have made my husband a beer-vent. I don’t drink or even like beer, but, I go pick out 24 bottles/cans with cool names or labels.

      1. Pamela G.

        I usually put them in bags and tie the top with curly ribbon. I decorate them with the numbers, too.

        I’m… a little extra sometimes. :D

  6. Joyce

    I didn’t have advent calendars as a kid, but I love them. We’ve done activity and toy calendars for the kids, but now we just do chocolate ones. We get the kind with a nativity picture, and a scripture verse on the back side of the window.

    This year I’m having my daughter do a tea advent calendar for me, with a different kind of tea bag in a tiny envelope each day. I’m so excited to be surprised, even if I do have to orchestrate it somewhat. Not sure whether I want to do a wreath, or string them up with mini clothes pins and twine.

  7. Felicia

    This looks like a good one! When I was little, my grandma had one that started with 24 miniature candy canes attached to a fabric tree and each day we got to take one candy cane off and eat it. :)

  8. Katie

    We just did the chocolate ones from the grocery store when I was a kid. I have a sense memory of how those little candies smelled and tasted. I love making memories with my daughter like that.

  9. KateB

    Don’t count me for your giveaway, since I was so excited that I bought one before I saw the giveaway. That looks great. We already have a Mickey Mouse advent calendar that hangs on the wall and we get a LEGO one each year. I have two boys and they take turns between the two. I think the addition of this one will really take the sting out of whoever DOESN’T get to do the LEGO each day. I think you will LOVE the LEGO calendar. It’s a huge hit here each year and I buy it as soon as I see it on Amazon/hear about it from a friend.

  10. ButtercupDC

    I haven’t had an Advent Calendar in years, but this stirred up two thoughts:
    1. There’s a tsumtsum advent calendar I keep seeing at Costco that I have to forcibly make myself walk away from, because I am a single adult woman—for what do I need a bunch of tiny SO FREAKING ADORABLE toys?
    2. The Trader Joe’s 99¢ advent calendars tempt me every year, but bad chocolate is contrary to the spirit of the season.

  11. BKC

    We had a cloth calendar with pockets and a little fabric mouse you moved every day. I have since learned the thing was Avon. Mom put two chocolate kisses in every pocket, one for me and one for my brother. When my mother moved out of her house unexpectedly and quickly, I think it got left behind. :(

    For my kiddo over the years I have ordered Maggie Mason’s Advent surprise bag, done numbered ornaments and made a felt tree with felt ornaments to hang on the wall. This year we will probably just cross off days on our calendar. It seems like a simple Christmas kind of year.

    1. Jayna

      This sounds exactly like the advent calendar we had growing up!! Ours was green and when our dog was a puppy he chewed off the mouse’s ear. My mom also filled the pockets with chocolate kisses :)

  12. Anna

    I want to contribute to the Advent calendar talk without entering the contest, ok? Ok. My mom used to take me to a religious book store to find an Advent calendar, and we would always try, sometimes in vain, to find one with a brunette baby Jesus. Sometimes we had to resort to getting a blonde one and giving him a dye job with markers.

  13. Teej

    We didn’t do advent calendars as kids. We have a wooden nativity scene one that the kids enjoy. I tried to send a tea advent calendar to my mom for her birthday this year (November 20) and it was delivered to the wrong house and has now disappeared which made both of us very sad.

  14. Leslie

    I’ve been eyeing the M&D Advent calendar, but the timing and price just haven’t been right. My kids love the chocolate advent calendars.

  15. Britni

    I had the chocolates ones several times as a kid. And then a little cloth one with pockets that you could slip treats into. Advent calendars are such a fun build-up to Christmas. I love them!

  16. Diane Stenglein

    We didn’t honor Advent when I was a kid, but I know my parents often have an Advent wreath these days, and light the candles and say prayers. We have a garland of little Christmas stockings and I come up with little activities for each night. Then each kid gets a calendar with chocolate inside.

  17. Jayna

    We had an advent calendar with numbered pockets and a little mouse that you used to mark the day.
    I’ve been looking for one to for my family- my son will be 18 months soon and I think he would love this. I’m sure at this age he wouldn’t yet appreciate the advent aspect and will probably just repeatedly put the ornaments on the tree and take them off, but what fun that is!

  18. Melissa

    I Have been eying this one for years but I’ve only ever seen it costing an arm and a leg

    Growing up we had a felt hanging advent calendar that was a tree and it had stuffed felt ornaments we stuck on. It was handmade by our neighbors. Somehow my sister has it now. 😒

    My mom has bought the LEGO ones for my kids a few years and they love them.

  19. Becky

    I would love to win the cute advent tree! When I was a kid we had a long red felt strip and my mom would tie a candy cane on each day with white yarn. I had totally forgotten about that until I read the comment above! I just buy the cheap chocolate ones at Target now.

  20. Guinevere

    We use baby socks on clothes pins or toilet paper tubes to make an advent calendar that has a slip of paper with an activity written on it every day. Sometimes its a bigger outing, often it’s something smaller like going to the library and getting Christmas books, building a blanket fort, or addressing the holiday cards, or having hot cocoa and getting out the christmas music… but it’s fun and generally enjoyable. Having literate kids makes it harder because you really do need to map out the month in advance. We have combined this with the Jacquie Lawson electronic advent calendar last year, and that was a phenomenal hit. We will definitely repeat that!

  21. Allison

    I don’t think we had Advent calendars as kids, but my memory cannot be trusted, so grain of salt and all that. We did have a Nativity scene (my mother is very Catholic) and the rule was that for every good thing you did during Advent you got to put a piece of straw in the manger, so there would be enough for the baby Jesus to lie on on Christmas Eve. As I type that, I feel pretty happy that I decided not to raise my kids Catholic.

  22. t

    Late to the party, but I’ll chime in anyway. Growing up, we had a felt Christmas tree with felt ornaments in pockets that you put on one per day. I think my mom made it when I was tiny, as it is a part of my Christmas memories as far back as I can go. My in-laws made our daughter a nativity set advent calendar out of my husband’s childhood shadowbox that his grandfather made for him. Whew, that’s a lot of history wrapped up in one calendar. Our daughter is 7 and loves opening one little door each day. Her birthday was Thanksgiving day this year, and my mom got her the Tsum-tsum advent calendar as a birthday present. We had to put it up out of reach because it was too tempting for her this weekend. So we’ll have 2 this year :)

  23. Angela

    First year with this particular Melissa & Doug advent calendar. Do you start with 24 and count down the days until Christmas (to reach the star on top)? Or do you start with 1 and correspond with the dates in December? Conflicting opinions in this household, haha!

    1. Swistle Post author

      Our household is divided as well. My own preference is to cover the 1 on December 1st and so on, so that we always know without doing math whether we’ve remembered to do it that day or not. Others in my household prefer to have the highest exposed number be the number of days until Christmas; I permit that method as long as no one EVER tries to involve me in a conversation figuring it out.


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