Six online-only advent calendars to try out this year

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By Luke Rix-Standing, PA

Everything is moving online these days – even Christmas.

Whether it’s live streamed carol services, the best Black Friday deals or the Zoom calls that may end up dominating Christmas Day, ’tis the season to embrace virtual merriment, from advent through to Boxing Day.

So if you want to try some festive technology, or just don’t fancy a month of chocolate for breakfast, here are a few online advent calendars to help you mark December on your screen…

1. Jacquie Lawson Calendars

The folks at Jacquie Lawson made their name retailing gorgeous, hand-drawn e-cards designed specifically for inboxes. They’ve produced themed, semi-animated advent calendars for each of the last 11 years, invariably filled with intricate winter scenes plus various games and puzzles. 2020’s offers a day-by-day tour of a picturesque Nordic village, which gradually becomes more festive as December 25 approaches. Customers can still sample last year’s calendar, set in the English Cotswolds too.

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2. Naxos Musical Advent Calendar

(Naxos/PA)

Accessed via a smartphone, the Naxos Musical Advent Calendar does exactly what it says on the app store. Behind each of 25 doors, arranged on a giant bauble, lies a daily piece of classical music to feed your festive needs. Tracks range from the overtly Christmassy (Ding Dong Merrily On High, In Dulci Jubilo) to the slightly seasonal (Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah), and blends familiar classics with new discoveries.

3. It’s A Shape Christmas

An unusual calendar even by digital standards, the It’s A Shape Christmas calendar showcases a succession of graphic designers weaving festive creations out of simple geometric shapes and patterns. Launched in 2011, each day is done by a different artist, and the results range from optical illusions to animated illustrations. Expect tessellating penguins, rotating Christmas trees, and a hexagonal Santa Claus.

4. Oddvent

Created by experimental theatre artists, Oddvent is a brand new digital calendar described by its creators as “a cabaret over 24 days”. Delivering daily dramatic experiences – “pictures, music, moving pictures, song” – the calendar is deliberately mysterious about exactly what these contain, and each day is unlocked with a purchasable “key”.

(iStock/PA)

5. SantaGames Calendar

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An interactive countdown aimed at younger viewers, the Santa Games calendar serves up a daily festive game or surprise – mostly puzzle book classics like crosswords, sudokus, word searches, spot the difference and more. Children will be reliably entertained, and adults secretly may well be too. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

6. Create you own…

If the current crop of online offerings doesn’t quite fill your stocking – you can simply create an advent calendar of your own. At MyAdvent you can upload 24 photos, voice messages and videos to go behind 24 virtual doors, which you can then gift to your nearest and dearest. It might even get you out of buying the odd present.

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