Last year I wrote about all the advent calendar choice I discovered in Berlin. I was pretty impressed. We settled on two Playmobil advent calendars and I was pretty pleased with them to be honest. I managed to shop around and get them at a good price in Germany, and what would be a really good price in the UK :)
This year, I am slightly less impressed. Why? Because they look the same as last year!!!! I'm always disappointed when I get the feeling they've just rolled out all last years stock from the stock room but are still selling it at full price. Pah! I know that this isn't really the case but on the whole this years selection of advent calendars doesn't really look like it's differing from last years.
So here's the run down:
Playmobil (around EUR 12.99 - 14.99)
Playmobil this year have a choice of 6 advent calendars this year, which includes 2 new ones this year. All of them are available on the Playmobil.de website for a great price between Euros 12.99 - 14.99, which is cheaper than you can usually find them in the shops, but there is a delivery charge to add. I'd quite like either of the new ones this year, or both to be honest. One is snappily called in English (thanks to Google translate, no doubt) 'Police Alert Treasure Robbers on the run'. With a title like that the only other thing you need to know is that the scene is set in a museum, and you get to lower the robber from the ceiling in a Mission Impossible kind of way!
The other new advent calendar from Playmobil is the Reiterhof, or horse stables. I like this one a lot. It's got a 3 horses, some people, and a little carriage you can attach to a horse and pull around. This one is potentially more for girls, but I reckon both boys and girls might like it.
Lego (around EUR 19.99 - 29.99)
Hamish has decided that he wants the Lego advent calendar this year. There are a few designs available Lego City Fire and Star Wars and this year there is also a Lego Friends advent calendar. The Star Wars one retails at a higher price than the others, and I do think these are all expensive in relation to what the potential contents might be. Mind you, you probably get the same amount of Lego in these advent calendars as you would in the Friends, City, or Star Wars sets on sale at the same prices. It's just that they are all just made from tiny pieces (for obvious reasons) that makes me feel slightly cheated.
Filly (approx EUR 22.00)
This is Orla's advent calendar of choice this year. She's taken a recent interest in all things 'Filly' and wants this advent calendar more than words could describe! Here's a sneaky peak that I found online:
Filly Advent Calendar - Tv-spot from AZT-Media on Vimeo.
Awesome stuff, huh? Take that girl's look of wonderment and multiply it by 10 and you'll get an approximation of Orla's face when she sees that jewellry.
Littlest Pet Shop (around EUR 15.99 - 22.00)
Along similar lines to the Filly advent calendar is The Littlest Pet Shop advent calendar which retails on Amazon UK for £21.49, and is available on Amazon.de for Euros 15.99 - MUCH CHEAPER! If you buy yours through Amazon you'll see that there are a few styles of advent calendar packaging to choose from, presumably these are from past years.
ZhuZhu Pets (from £10.98*)
I'm not sure how popular ZhuZhu Pets are fairing in popularity nowadays, but if you want an advent calendar a bit cheaper than the others, Amazon UK has the Zhu Zhu Pets one for £10.98 (previously £29.99). It has a board to lay out which is designed as a little house set, and each of the daily windows contains either a little plastic hamster or a piece of furniture. It looks quite sweet I think.
Polly Pocket (around EUR 11.99 - 17.99)
I had reckoned we would be buying a Polly Pocket advent calendar this year, but Orla's not quite as keen on Polly Pocket as I thought she might be. Which is a shame really because Amazon.de have the 2012 advent calendar on sale for Euros 11.99 and if I bought both my advent calendars from there I'd be eligble for free delivery! So what do you get? Well it looks to me like you get one doll (Polly) and every day you get an item of clothing or an accessory. I reckon most Polly Pocket fans would love this calendar, and you'd have a good collection of outfits for Polly by Christmas Eve. I wish I could gather a Christmas wardrobe in a similar fashion.
Barbie (EUR 18.39 - 29.99)
Oh dear Barbie, I'm not impressed. Orla is just getting to the stage of being 'into' Barbie in quite a big way, and I might have considered buying the barbie advent calendar had I not just seen a photo of the contents. One dress??? Seriously? That's crazy. Even with all the accessories, the only way I would think this was good value was if they had included one of their entry level basic Barbie's in the box. They're only a couple of Euros, surely it wouldn't have hurt. I've seen this on sale at 30 Euros which just seems ridiculously overpriced. It's not even a fancy Christmas 'gown'!
Haribo (around EUR 7.99)
I've not really had a look at the chocolate advent calendars this year. Instead for the non-chocolate lovers, here's an advent calendar that seems to be pretty popular on Amazon. Behind each door is a different Haribo sweet or (I think) a little toy. It gets pretty excellent reviews, and apparently "is an excellent gift". So there you go.
Die Drei??? (around EUR 14.99 - 19.99)
Now I have to say, I feel this year there's not an awful lot on offer for boys. I haven't seen a Hot Wheels advent calendar this year, and there doesn't seem to be an equal plethora of hideously expensive tiny plastic toy advent calendars for boys as there are for girls (read: Littlest Pet Shop, Filly, My Little Pony, Barbie, Polly Pocket....). Why not? Who knows. Maybe most boys want a Playmobil one or a Lego one and that's it. Nice German boys also like the Die Drei??? advet calendars which are a spin off from the Die Drei??? mystery books and radio series which is very popular here. Admittedly, I know utterly nothing about this but I do know that the advent calendar contains lots of clues which build up to allow you to solve a mystery. Sounds like a pretty cool idea.