The month of December is a magical time of year.  When my kids were very small, we started the tradition of Advent Calendars to help them understand that it was an extra special time of year, and that we were counting down to an extra special day.  As the house filled with twinkling lights and delicious smells, the kids opened one door a day on their Advent Calendar to reveal a small gift.   First it was round Fisher Price Little People® figures that completed a sweet North Pole scene, then it became a collection of smiling Playmobil® kids engaged in a pond hockey game, followed by Lego® sets that changed as their interests evolved from Lego City, to Leg Marvel Avengers, to Lego Friends, then Lego Harry Potter.  Each day, a door opened to reveal a new addition to the scene, helping them understand that all the preparations that they saw underway were building up to something.  Now, to be clear, after their toddler and early preschool years, the kids had a firm grasp on how the whole Christmas thing works.  At that point, the Advent Calendars became more about joy and excitement rather than “education”.  The calendars became (and remain) a fun tradition that the kids looked forward to every year.  For the first time however, this year we have a Tween /almost Teen in the house, who is decidedly “over” toys.  (***What is a “tween”, you ask?  Scroll down for an explanation.)

The question now becomes how do we carry on our Advent Calendar tradition, now that one kid at least is getting older?  A toy calendar will still come for the younger sibling, so in the name of peace, love and holiday harmony, we needs something for my sweet Tween as well.  I took a look around and quickly came to the realization that there is somewhat of a hole in the market for this age group.  While there is an abundance of great Advent Calendar options for young children on the market, the options for older kids are limited.  The market has become flooded in the past few years with great advent calendars for adults featuring luxury products, coffee pods and gourmet foods.  Those might work for older Teens, but they don’t quite hit the mark for Tweens and younger Teens.  (But yes, I totally want that Bonne Maman Advent Calendar for myself!) In chatting with a few of my fellow mom-of-tweens /mom-of-young-teen friends, I realized I wasn’t alone in the search for a calendar with tween/teen appeal, so I took a deep dive into what was available for the no-longer-a-kid-but-not-really-into-adult-stuff set.  In case you find yourself in the same boat, I thought I’d share my finds with you.  I made sure everything is available on Amazon Prime, so you can be sure it will be on your doorstep by December 1st.  Because there’s nothing quite like the countdown to Christmas, whether you’re young, old – or somewhere in beTWEEN.



Hidden Games – Professor Charlie’s World Tour Advent Calendar, A Puzzle Game in 24 Episodes


This calendar features a daily puzzle that puts you on the trail to solving Professor Charlie’s disappearance.  The clues are challenging, so this is a great activity for a parent-and-tween team or the whole family to work on over the month.  When you solve a clue, you find out which envelope to open the next day.  Track your progress on a map as you race around the globe solving the mystery.  If you get stuck, the website offers hints.  An older tween might be able to complete the puzzles on their own, but why not enjoy spending time solving the clues together (about 15 minutes per day).

Hidden Games – Professor Charlie’s World Tour – Advent Calendar – A Puzzle Game in 24 Episodes



Christmas Fishing Advent Calendar – Fishing Lures and Tackle Set


Stock your Tween’s tackle box with this 24-piece set of water baits, sinking baits, soft baits and spoons. You’ll have them dreaming of summer days on the dock all winter long.

Christmas Fishing Advent Calendar – 24 piece set of Fishing Lures

24 Shocking Science Tricks by the Purple Cow


They’ll learn something new every day with this S.T.E.M. kit of 24 science tricks that covers the fields of chemistry, illusions, physics and robotics.  While your Tween or young Teen can manage these experiments on their own, why not spend a few minutes per day together exploring the world of science with these little boxes of cool tricks.  It’s suitable for kids as young as 8 with adult assistance, but is better suited to a more independent tween and science-loving teen.  There’s a video on the Amazon site of some of the experiments in action, so click through the link to check it out.

Shocking Science Advent Calendar by the Purple Cow



24 Arts & Crafts Seasons Creation by The Purple Cow

The perfect countdown for your crafty Tween, this Advent Calendar features all the makings for 24 festive decorations.   Spark their creativity as they craft ornaments and adornments to decorate your home or give as gifts.  The minimum age is 9 (with some assistance/supervision required), but The Purple Cow again delivers an activity kit that your Tween or young Teen can handle independently or work on with you.

24 Ars & Crafts Season Creation Advent Calendar by The Purple Cow



Bombombs, set of 24 Hot Chocolate Bombs


This set includes 5 different flavours of hot cocoa bombs, each all dressed up like a little holiday gift. Your Tween /Teen will enjoy unwrapping a hot chocolate bomb each day, dropping it in a mug, pouring in hot milk and watching it burst into a delicious mug of hot cocoa.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to all your holiday activities, whether it be watching Christmas movies, warming up after skating or wrapping gifts by the Christmas Tree.

Bombombs, set of 24 Hot Chocolate Bombs




Speaking of hot chocolate, here’s another festive tradition that sparks the holiday magic.  One night in December, after the kids are in their pyjamas and ready for bed, instead of tucking them in – surprise them by handing them their coats.  Armed with bags of popcorn or Christmas cookies, and travel mugs of hot chocolate, head for the car.  Turn on the Christmas tunes and drive around to see the holiday lights, searching for your favourites.  The kids will go to bed a bit late and you’ll probably have to vacuum out your car the next day, but it will be worth it.   We do this every year and the kids never know which night it will be.  The thrill of heading out instead of going to bed, and drinking hot chocolate even after they’ve brushed their teeth, has even a I’m-too-old-for-this Tween racing for the car.


Funko Pop Holiday Calendars


These are not toys – I repeat, these are not toys.  Well, they could be toys, but to your too-old-for-toys Tween /Teen, these mini Funko Pops are display pieces or collectors items.  Available in Pokémon, DC Super Heros, Harry Potter and Star Wars themes, they will love these 24-piece sets, even if it’s in an ironic kind of way.   (They also have a set for The Office, if you have an older Dwight Schrute loving teen in the house.)

Funko Pop Holiday Calendars in Pokémon or Star Wars or DC Super Heros or Harry Potter

…..or in The Office (because it’s really kind of fun) for older teens or adults.




The Body Shop Advent of Change Holiday Calendar

This advent calendar is a bit on the pricier side at $95, but with more than $180 worth of products, it offers good value.  As your Tween /Teen starts leaning in to skin care, it’s reassuring to know they’re using quality products from a reputable brand.  This 24-piece set includes face wash, toner, masks, creams and soaps, all in small sizes so they can try out a multitude of products as they learn about skin care.   This one is good for older teens and adults as well.

The Body Shop Advent of Change 24 piece Holiday Calendar



And for the Littles…

If you happen to have younger kids at home, I noticed that Amazon has some major sale prices this month on some of their Lego® Advent calendars, especially this one.  Thought you should know 🙂

Lego® Friends Advent Calendar




***But what is a “Tween”?

“Tween” is a slang word for kids aged 9-12 who are in between childhood and their teenage years.  They’re no longer a little kid, but are not quite yet a teen.  (The official label for the tween age group is “preadolescence”).  I’m not an expert in childhood development, but here are my general observations on this age group:  They are no longer a little kid, and don’t want to be treated as such – or associated with “little kid” things.  There’s a growing desire for independence, but they still need a lot of comforting assistance from parents.  Tweens are keen observers of the adolescent world, but will still sometimes retreat to the safety of old childhood favourites (but only if no one is watching).  They really are “in between” and can thus be difficult to buy for.  I hope this list helps!

Pin It on Pinterest