In recent years I've become a fan of crafty Advent calendars. A few years ago, I made a calendar out of Shrinky Dinks - that special plastic, which you write on/decorate, and then bake so it shrinks down to 1/3 its original size (yes, it is still around after all these years!). With pencil crayons and a stack of retro Christmas pics for inspiration, I made 25 numbered magnets - each day of December we add a new one to our fridge door.
I'm also a huge fan of the calendars that you can knit or crochet, creating 24 little numbered pockets (stockings, mittens, bags, etc), which are then filled with lots of tiny treats (Ravelry members, click here for a whole range of pattern ideas). I think the cutest ones also have knit or crocheted treats hiding inside those knit or crocheted pockets, but I can't imagine the time and effort that would go into making one of those! That said, I really want to make a knit advent calendar one year... except then I'd have to give it away, since the real fun of the calendars is discovering all the little gifts, and if I make it for myself, I'll already know what's they are. What are the chances I could teach Mike to knit so that he can make one for me? ;)
For those of us who don't have the time (or patience!) to make an advent calendar, the good folks at Garn Studio in Norway have a treat for us. Check out the Drops Design Christmas Calendar, and reveal a new, holiday themed knitting or crochet pattern each day. Drops has been doing this for several years now, so while waiting for each new pattern you can head over to their Christmas Workshop and have a look at holiday patterns from previous calendars.