You can stop your search. You found it-everything you need to know about Christmas Countdown Calendars! These fun calendars are great for kids of all ages, 1-92. The whole family will enjoy keeping track of the days until Old Saint Nick arrives in a fun and visual way.
When you think about countdown calendars you may also think of advent calendars. Sometimes when you do a search online they are one in the same. However, when you look closely you’ll notice they are different. The one main difference that distinguishes a countdown calendar from an advent calendar is candy and trinkets v. no candy or trinkets.
An advent calendar is designed to house and deliver small surprises everyday leading up to Christmas. These surprises are generally candy and small toys or trinkets. The surprises are meant to be used by the recipient away from the calendar itself. For example toy cars are meant to be raced around the living room with no expectation of being returned to the advent calendar.
A countdown calendar is quite the opposite. It is meant only to help countdown the days and does not come with candy or surprise items each day. It is purely a visual representation of the days dwindling down until you reach Christmas. These calendars typically come with one small magnet or item that is moved from day to day.
This small item always remains with the calendar and is not really a toy in and of itself.
To keep it simple, just remember if it comes with toys or candy it’s more than likely an advent calendar. If it has no toys or candy, only a small item to move between the days, it’s a countdown calendar.
There are a few countdown calendars on this list that blur the lines a bit, but overall each is a great non-toy and non-candy based option. The calendars here are also reusable so they may be enjoyed year after year.
Be sure to scroll all the way to the end for a Buyer’s Guide and FAQ section to assist you as you make your choice for a calendar.
For even more facts about advent calendars and countdown calendars check out 14 Advent Calendar FAQs.
Let’s get to these fun family countdown calendar options!
An ideal option for young ones ages 3-7! A magnetic wooden tree features 24 wooden ornaments. A tree tne the kids can rearrange again and again-or does that only happen at my house?!
Melissa and Doug is a trusted brand that has been producing quality children’s toys for years.
Wow-love this one! The modern yet classic feel and personalization put this one over the top for me. The laser engraved birch will last for years too. This one includes 12 numbers and twine for hanging.
A classic tabletop or desktop wooden reindeer. Simple stained wood really helps the bright red number blocks to take center stage. This one is great for placing on a shelf, piano, desk or kitchen cabinet.
A beautiful option for kids, 3 and older, with excited hands. What fun it will be to pull out a new piece to add to the advent scene each day. Every piece is made with high-quality fabric and stitching for years and years of use.
This one is the perfect size to hang on a door or wall. The Vermont Christmas Company Store has been making beautiful high-quality pieces for the whole family since 1998 and this one is no exception.
Adorable! Ideal for small spaces. This would work great to take to the office and use on a desk. There’s a convenience bin attached to the back to keep the numbers all together! A great option for the office or home. Easy to keep together and reuse again and again.
A modern farmhouse metal sign with hooks to attach the numbers. Even though it’s listed as farmhouse style, I think it would work well with a variety of traditional or classic decor too. The black and white colors make it extremely versatile. Magnolia Hearth and Hand produces high-quality items for the home and is part of the wider known Magnolia brand made popular by TV personalities Joanna and Chip Gaines.
A fun option if you have a larger space. White wood with a faux chalkboard background and magnetic tree. This would be easy for kids to use if left at a low height. At about 10 inches wide, 22 inches hide and 12 inches deep it would look great on the floor, side table, kitchen cabinet or island, or the playroom.
A great option for kids! They will enjoy discovering a new stuffed item for the Santa’s Workshop scene each day. Another great piece from the Vermont Christmas Company Store, who has been making quality holiday items since 1998.
Perfect for the kids in your life! Little hands will love pulling out the stuffed items to add to the fabric tree each day. Pockets of Learning has been offering heirloom quality products for over 30 years. This is a great piece to enjoy for years and years.
I love this personalized minimal option. Add your name, choose color and choose a magnet design. Very lightweight and easy to hang too. Hang with a festive ribbon for a personal touch.
A wooden 10×10 inch sign with your choice of ribbon. Ideal for small spaces. Classic or rustic depending on the bow you choose! This one would look great on top of a cabinet, kitchen counter, piano or side table.
Ride into Christmas in style with this fun unique countdown. Move the red truck hauling a Christmas tree across the approximately 17 inch wooden calendar each day. As you stop the number should be visible in the truck’s front window. Fun for all ages!
Perfect for young kids. Print as many times, or years, as needed! These adorable light or brown skinned Santa’s are a hit for the whole family. Glue on one cotton ball to Santa’s beard each day until he is completely covered. You could even use festive red, green, and white pom-pom balls to mix-it-up for a fun funky Santa!
A great option for small spaces at 12.5 x 12.5 inches. The green color is completely classic and you can choose how you mark the chalkboard. Will you choose checkmarks or Xs? This one would look great at home, the office, or the home office.
A true crowd pleaser with a classic or rustic design vibe. The overall ornament shape and the detailed truck make this one guests will be asking about for years to come. Change out the numbers daily and this one is quick and easy to use. Made from solid wood it will last for years to come.
I love this one! The personalization and 3D ‘Santa’ makes it fun. The ‘Sleeps Til Santa’ phrase adds some additional whimsy. I also appreciate featuring the chalkboard in the shape of a Santa head.
This countdown features a small wreath to move between hooks on each day. Black or white background color options are available. This one would work well in the living room, family room, or on the entry table.
This one is unique and simple, but also stunning.Your family can follow the star just like the wise men. It will fit in well with modern or rustic decorations. The dark stain of this handmade wood piece is very striking. At approximately 20 x 24 inches it will be a nice centerpiece for any set-up.
What a fun unique countdown with a festive star. This would be easy for little hands to help move each day. I love the overall low height of this one too. Wouldn’t it look great on a shelf in front of a pretty garland?
I love the small profile of this one. You could stash it up on a shelf or as part of a small display with other items. So cute! I also like that the chalkboard part is small. Am I the only one who stresses out when chalkboards look dirty?! This one would not give me any anxiety. Love!
This happy guy will bring a smile to your face everyday. A great hanging option that isn’t fabric. You could also prop it up on a shelf. Move Santa’s Ho-Ho from day to day as Christmas approaches. Fun for young and not so young alike.
Countdown Calendar Buyer’s Guide
When selecting a countdown calendar there are many things to consider. We’ll cover each one here and get you well on your way to making a selection that will work best for you and your family.
When you set out in search of a countdown calendar it is important to keep in mind your budget. There are calendars at almost every price point. Set a budget and stick with it. You can find quality options in-store or online at a variety of prices.
Keep in mind where you will be displaying your calendar. Would you like to keep it on a table, shelf, desktop, or similar location? If so, you will want to look for an option that can sit on its own. Perhaps you want a calendar that you can hang on a doorframe or doorway.
If this is the case look for an option that includes hangers or string. If you want to hang your calendar, keep weight in mind as well. Heavier calendars do not hang quite as well in certain locations.
Another difference in countdown calendars you will notice is material. Many are made from wood or fabric. Material also goes in hand in hand with the display location you have in mind.
Most fabric options will need to be hung, but wooden options are offered in both hanging and table top designs. It helps to consider display location at the same time as material.
Be sure to consider size when browsing all of the fun countdown calendar options as well. Most hanging options will fit nicely on a standard size door. Table top options come in a more wide variety of sizes.
You’ll find some smaller than 10 inches which are ideal for small spaces or offices. You will also find larger options closer to 18 to 24 inches in height which are ideal for many locations at home. There really is something for everyone or should I say every space.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you start? Do you open 1 or 24 first?
This all depends on who you ask. After some extensive research there are 2 main opinions on this.
Start with 24 and build anticipation by counting down to the big day and the arrival of Santa. This is a great option for little kids as it allows them to visually see how many days or sleeps remain until Christmas.
Use the calendar as a way to count up toward Christmas and start with 1. This is helpful because you can keep the countdown number and calendar date the same. It will be easy to tell if you missed a day by looking at your phone or computer for the date.
Either way is fine and there are no hard and fast rules that you must do it the same each year. There really is no way to get it wrong! Do whichever you like best.
Is an advent calendar the same as a countdown calendar?
No, there is one major difference between the two. Advent calendars typically come with one small piece of candy or a small toy each day. Countdown calendars do not come with candy or toys.
They usually come with one small item like a magnet or clip to move from day to day visually representing the countdown of days to Christmas. There are a few calendars that blur the lines a bit, but this is really the easiest way to tell.
A secondary difference is advent calendars must be refilled each year with new small surprises. Countdown calendars can be used over and over again without buying or adding anything new.
Still have questions? Be sure to check out 14 Advent Calendar FAQs.
Where do you keep your countdown calendar?
This all depends on what type of calendar you have. Some are made to be hung across a wall, window, or doorway. Others are meant to sit on a shelf or table top. Kids rooms, tv rooms, living rooms, and kitchens are all great locations.