The real excitement for a big event is often in the build-up, which is why, as we sail towards the end of another year, sales of advent calendars are shooting through the roof.
The treat-a-day gift has always been geared to ramp up giddiness as we inch closer to December 25, and they’ve gone from simple boxes filled with pieces of bite-sized chocolate to packages bursting at the seams with gin miniatures, beauty bestsellers and even stationery waiting to be uncovered behind festively festooned windows.
Yet, as collectively we embrace the modern three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), there is a way to join in with the yuletide tradition in a way that won’t cost the Earth.
How? Choose a beautifully crafted wooden calendar that you can refill every year, suitable for both kids and adults alike. The skillfully made boxes are timeless pieces and destined to become family heirlooms, to be joyfully rediscovered by new generations of treat-seekers.
From hygge-inducing woodland scenes to awe-inspiring designs, there are styles of all kinds available that you can fill with a bounty of your own surprises. They’re ideal for parents who want to ensure their offspring enjoy an age-appropriate or educational gift - or simply something healthier than chocolate every single day.
The cincher? They offer excellent value for money in that you need only replace the gifts every December, rather than fork out for a brand new advent calendar.
They’re not just for kids; reusable wooden advents are a great concept for adults as well, allowing you to enjoy a cornucopia of tailored goodies every day while counting down to Christmas.
Shop of our favourites for children and further down adults
Best wooden advent calendars for kids
Shooting Star Snowy Village 24 Day Advent Calendar by Clever Creations
We can’t imagine there isn’t a child (or come to think of it, most adults) who wouldn’t be floored to get this calendar on December 1. It’s beautifully detailed, topped with a classic Christmas village diorama and a giant shooting star crested by none other than Saint Nick and his reindeer.
Made from robust, high quality wood and battery operated, this is an heirloom piece that will give you untold years of enjoyment.
Measures 17 x 4 x 17.25 inches.
Wooden House Advent Calendar
For a completely unique take on an advent calendar, Hobbycraft has this house-shaped shell with 24 drawers to paint and decorate to your tastes. Get little ones involved in creating their own advent calendar with paint, fabric swatches, buttons and sequins. They’ll love it even more if they had a hand in its creation.
Gingerbread House 3D Large Advent Calendar
Super-cute and with more than a few retro stripes about it, this is the sort of calendar you can imagine seeing in a classic 80s Christmas film. Finished to look like a quintessenial gingerbread house, there are 24 windows behind which to squirrel your surprises ahead of the big day.
Woodland Christmas Advent Calendar
This beautiful calendar replaces opening small presents every day with the simple pleasures of decorating the wooden fir tree with ornaments. Perfect for small children who may be too young to appreciate a traditional calendar, it’s a stylish piece that will bring festive cheer to any kid’s bedroom.
Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas
Allow children to revel in the joy of Christmas with this cheerful wooden advent from Melissa & Doug. Little ones can countdown to the day by placing 24 magnetic ornaments on the tree, one each day until December 25.
Advent Calendar Christmas Refillable Wooden Decoration Countdown
Amazon has a massive selection of fun advent calendars, from 12-day sleigh-shaped calendars to post-modern Christmas trees with 24 windows for gifts. They’re so beautifully made they can double up as Christmas decorations for each room of your house too.
Dragons of Walton Street Christmas Advent Calendar
Truly a heritage item, this beautiful dolls house advent calendar will make your little one's Christmas year after year. Handcrafted by specialists in England, the dream doll's house features 24 drawers arranged inside the house's carefully painted facade. Fill with tiny surprises to bring maximum joy.
Personalised Children's Advent Calendar
Perfect for parents with a short supply of storage space, this fabric advent calendar can be rolled up and stored away at the back of a drawer for 11 months of the year. Come December though, unfurl it and suspend from a hook or a doorknob to allow the countdown to Christmas begin.
Fashioned from super soft corduroy and finished with cosmic embroidery and red ribbon fastening, it's got bags of charm. Like all of NAB's products, this can be personalised with a name or initials too. Stuff with sweets, toys and games - or get this one for adults which comes pre-packed with boozy miniatures (£160).
Best wooden advent calendars for adults
Townhouse Wooden Advent Calendar
Take advent calendar matters into your own hands this Christmas with this charming design available at Lights4Fun. There are just three drawers in this one, so pick your treats wisely, or simply replenish them every three days for your recipient. It's more of a piece of festive decoration than a bona fide calendar, but its timeless Dickens-esque look and careful crafting means you'll reach for it year after year.
Refillable Wooden Advent Gin Christmas Tree
If you’re tickled enough by the thought of a gin advent calendar to know you want every year, invest in this wooden structure shaped like a Christmas tree.
It comes with 24 mini bottles of flavoured or plain gin, but the best thing about it is the tree is wooden so can be stored away until Christmas 2021 when you can countdown to the big day by way of gin all over again. Simply refill the holes with 5cl bottles of your favourite spirit.
Wooden House Scene LED Advent Calendar
Fitted with golden glowing fairy lights, this calendar is destined to be the centrepiece of your holiday decor. Numbered boxes surround a intricately cut woodland scene and all the boxes measure the same size apart from box 24 which is bigger and allows you to wrap a particularly exciting prize to discover the night before the big day.
Refillable Dog Biscuit Advent Calendar
Give man’s best friend the best festive treat they could wish for with this wooden advent calendar that holds a dog treat a day until Christmas. It comes with a white ceramic keepsake personalised bone decoration that’s perfect for hanging on the tree for future Christmases once all the treats have been snaffled. The biscuits are all made with natural ingredients and should be easy to replace to use the calendar again in the years to come.
PrettyLittleThing Dog Advent Calendar
Christmas is a time for spending with all the family - that includes the furrier members of your squad too. Help your pooch get excited for the festivities with this DIY calendar, which you can fill with your own selection of special treats and toys.