Review: 2022 LEGO Advent Calendars
This year we get a fresh batch of five (more expensive) advent calendars to choose from. Let’s find out which ones are worth the higher price.
Five Advent Calendars – One Mega Review
Pricing and availability
The Advent Calendars were released on the 1st of September and will retire at the end of the year, so make sure to pick one up before they are gone! This year we see five themes, the same as last year, with these being a mix of licensed and unlicensed themes. This year in line with LEGO price rises licensed Advent calendars have risen in price by about 10-15% depending on currencies. Licensed sets can be purchased for $44.99 (34.99€ / £29.99 / 59.99 CAD / 59.99 AUD) and unlicensed sets for about $34.99 (24.99€ / £21.99 / 44.99 CAD / 59.99 AUD).
Want to compare this year’s Advent calendars to those of past years? Our previous mega reviews can be found below!
- Review: 2021 LEGO Advent Calendars
- Review: 2020 LEGO Advent Calendars
- Review: 2019 LEGO Advent Calendars
#41706 LEGO Friends Advent Calendar
Review by Tom Alphin
As with previous years, the box features stereotypical “female” color palette that we have come to expect of the LEGO Friends line, with a 324Medium Lavender color playing a leading role in the design. Four minidolls and a cartoony reindeer are visible on the box, so it’s hard to avoid some spoilers.
Top 4 Mini Builds
- Popcorn Cart – This cute popcorn cart delights with the iconic red and white color scheme on the printed brick, and the toned down pink and white color scheme on the cart itself. The addition of a silver coin with a “5” printed on it allows for role-playing.
- Topple the Cans Game – Speaking of play functions, I’ve never encountered a working stud shooter in a LEGO Friends set. While tiny, you really can stack the red and white cans and shoot them with the round white tiles.
- Rainbow Animal Ride – With a big black nose and pastel colored body, it’s not clear what type of animal it is meant to be, but it is clear that it is a fun way to liven up a winter festival. I’m proud to see The LEGO Group use the iconic 1×1 printed rainbow tile on the tail.
- Christmas Tree and Gift – It is fun to see an new technique employed to create a Christmas Tree in an advent calendar set. Instead of using a ton of small plates or a SNOT assembly, a pair of 2×2 Round with 4 Petals (part 15469) in 37Bright Green is used to create the branches. A simple 2×2 gift in 191Flame Yellowish OrangeBright Light Orange is also included.
This set includes just four minidolls and they are all visible on the front of the box. Two are full-sized figures, and two are the same Microdoll size which featured prominently in last year’s calendar. I did also include a detailed photo of the reindeer, since it will likely influence your decision to buy (or not buy) this Advent calendar.
- Olivia – Of the core group of friends, Olivia is big on science and pink and blue are her favorite colors. Both her favorite colors and interests are reflected in her outfit, which features a 322Bright PurpleDark Pink skirt and 140Earth BlueDark Blue leggings with tiny planets and stars on them. While I appreciate that all five of the girls have different interests, I’m not sad to see the one that’s interested in science and engineering featured in the set!
- Santiago – I am not familiar with the two young children featured in this year’s calendar, but I have to wonder if The LEGO Group is using this set as an opportunity to introduce us to the main characters for the rumored LEGO Friends reboot in the next year or two. I would be thrilled to see a young character that likely identifies as male in the core storyline if that happens, making LEGO Friends into a more inclusive product line for all kids. Either way, this is a cute little dude with bushy 192Reddish Brown hair, the slightly darker 18NougatFlesh skin, and a bee logo on his 21Bright RedRed shirt.
- Reindeer – An especially cartoony reindeer with big eyes, small antlers, oversized feet and a sheepish expression will be part of the appeal of the set for many buyers. I personally feel like that they took the cartoony aesthetic too far, but many people will love this cute seasonal character.
The biggest upside of this year’s calendar is the selection of mini-builds which (without spoiling the surprise) feature a wide range of winter festival themed scenes and stands. There is plenty to eat (such as the Popcorn Stand), games to play (such as the rainbow animal ride or shooting game), and festive decorations to make your winter scene come to life.
Unfortunately, the small number of Minidolls and the combination of significantly fewer parts and a higher price than last year’s calendar keeps this from getting as high of a rating, earning just 3/5 Stars (Good) rating overall. If you happen to live in Europe or can find it at a steep discount, it becomes a much better value and deserves consideration.
#60352 LEGO City Advent Calendar
Review by Stephani Maari Booker
This is my second year of reviewing a LEGO Advent calendar for The Brick Architect, and I am delighted and honored to be part of Brick Architect’s yearly holiday tradition. With experience and the ability to compare this year’s City Advent Calendar with last year’s, hopefully my review will improve on last year in knowledge and insightfulness.
The box art of the 2022 LEGO City Advent Calendar shows 11 spoilers for the contents of the little date boxes, fewer than the 14 builds and minifigures that were shown on last year’s LEGO City calendar. When I opened the cover of the box to reveal the calendar background and play mat, I was surprised by what I saw: Even though the name of this calendar is City instead of an urban scene like the 2021 calendar this year there’s a decidedly rural backdrop for the minifigures and builds. The calendar illustration is of a barn and a cottage in a wintery countryside among a few evergreen trees, and the play mat represents the interiors of the two buildings’ floors, with a snow-covered path and a frozen pond between them.
Top 4 Mini Builds
- Piano/Organ – This build became an immediate favorite just because it used two of a brick I had never seen before: a 1×1 brick with an architectural scroll-shaped projection with a knob on top perfect for placing a 1×1 round plate and a little flame to create one of a pair of candlelit sconces around the keyboard.
- Train – A streamlined micro-locomotive that uses another new-to-me brick, a 1×1 plate with four tiny “wheels” on the bottom. The use of a 1×1 round plate with a side hinge in the boxcar, joined with a 1×2 plate with a vertical clip in the engine, gives the train sideways movement. If you make multiple cars with this kind of joint, they could be moved to make a curve or circle. I love this build so much, I might make more cars to join it!
- Rocking Horse and Rocket – The rocket part of the build’s not anything I haven’t seen done before, but the rocking horse is truly novel. With a couple of 1×2 rounded slope pieces joined with a 1×2 tile, this build actually works as a rocking toy.
- Zamboni – When I first started this build, I saw the two wheels and thought, “Oh, some kind of moving vehicle.” However, as I continued with the build, I was puzzled by its square shape and lack of a second pair of wheels. When I finished it, I exclaimed to myself, “Is this a Zamboni?” A quick image search online confirmed my surprise revelation. Zambonis are a brand of ice surfacer used to create a smooth surface for skating on rinks. Ice surfacers in general are called Zambonis in common speech because they were invented by Frank Zamboni in 1949.
Top 2 Minifigures
Like last year, there are only two female minifigures out of six in this year’s City Advent Calendar. Why isn’t there three to make a traditional binary gender balance? To highlight this issue, I picked the two females to be my favorite minifigures in this set. Through looking up information about the minifigures, I found out they are both characters in LEGO City Adventures, a computer-animated Netflix TV show.
- Maddy – This minifigure is a middle-school-aged girl in the Netflix show, with ponytails on her head and two joyful faces on her reversable head. She wears a bright orange sweater over a blue and white striped shirt, and she holds a gold lantern in one hand.
- Raze – In Lego City Adventures, Raze is a motorcycle daredevil who’s the only female member of a stunt team. (Again with the only or fewer female representation.) She’s the reason why I did research about the two minifigures because her look is so punker/biker and androgenous, with short blue hair, funky gray and fuchsia jacket, black studded belt with a skull-shaped buckle, and green leopard-print pants. For some reason, Raze comes with a push broom. One of her two reversable faces has her sticking her tongue out; because she doesn’t look like the type of person who would want to be sweeping hay in the rural setting of the calendar, I used that rude face as a show of defiance from a bad chick!
Like with last year, I still have doubts about the “ages 5+” designation for the LEGO City Advent Calendar due to how challenging some of the builds are with this year’s calendar. However, I think the 2022 calendar builds on average are less potentially frustrating to unaccompanied young children than the 2021 version. There’s fewer blocky-shaped moving vehicle builds with many pieces than last year, for one thing.
In fact, instead of lots of moving vehicles and structures/buildings as there were in the 2021 City Calendar, there was a variety of different objects in the 2022 builds. The reason for this variety may be the country setting of this City Calendar but, in any case, it made for a much more entertaining and enjoyable building experience overall, though like with last year’s calendar there’s some builds where once completed I wasn’t sure what they were supposed to be.
Despite that flaw, the set still shows off the ability to create many recognizable objects at a mini- and micro-build level, using lots of wedges, plates with hinges and cylinder-shaped 1×1 bricks. Many of this year’s builds also used many bar holders with clips (part number 11090) and other joint-making pieces to make movable parts instead of the 1×2 plates with hinges and clips that were common in last year’s builds.
In general, the 2022 LEGO City Advent Calendar is an improvement over last year’s calendar, especially in terms of better builds that are more suitable for younger children and more variety and creativity in the builds. For those reasons, I give this set a 4/5 Stars (Recommended) rating overall.
#76404 LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar
Review by Amy Alphin
Please note that Brick Architect does not support the transphobic comments made by the author of the Harry Potter book series.
It is Harry Potter’s greatest hits! In the past, the Advent Calendars have tended to focus on a single book or movie, but this year’s calendar seems to be pulling characters, locations and magical items from across all 7 books (or 8 movies). The cover features a large, open photo album with characters and objects zooming to life, further reinforcing the fact that this collection references the canon as a whole. Things get a bit more intriguing once the flap is lowered and the calendar is revealed. We have colorful circles under each calendar number, as well as what appears to be a play surface on the bottom. As in year’s past, this calendar has an interactive play feature once the builds are complete.
Top 4 Mini Builds
- Ollivander’s – At the risk of spoilers, this is the first build in the advent calendar, and it is incredibly difficult to build from the tiny image in the door. The picture is far too small to allow you to tell what is going on, and it is likely to cause frustration for all builders, not just those at the low-end of the 7+ recommendation. Further, it was not immediately recognizable to us based on seeing the films (and playing the LEGO games), but it is a passable representation when looking at photos of the real thing.
- Armchair Horace Slughorn – I love this build, as it is a direct pull from a hilarious scene in book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where we meet the character of Professor Slughorn, while he is attempting to disguise himself as an armchair. The build is quick and easily assembled, and I enjoyed the whimsical purple color. However, if you have not read book six, or watched the film, this build will make little sense.
- The Burrow – This microscale build comes together quickly in just a few pieces, but is immediately recognizable as the cozy home of the Weasley family. I was impressed with what this model is able to convey with so few bricks.
- Hogwarts Express and Platform 9 3/4 – This iconic location is well reconstructed at microscale, and is easily identified due to the signature red of the scarlet steam engine, The Hogwarts Express. I think it’s fun that this tiny model is included this year, given that a much larger version was released earlier this year as #76405 Hogwarts Express. I would love to see the two side by side!
Top 2 Minifigures
- Moaning Myrtyle – How do you make a minifigure ghost? Make her greyscale, of course! I love the color choices here; they really sold the character for me.
- Neville with the Sword of Gryffindor – Neville looks very dapper here in his fancy jumper, and looks incredibly smug holding the fabled Sword of Godric Gryffindor aloft as he *spoiler* is about to chop off Nagini’s head.
The LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar includes a simple game where two players compete to collect one figure or mini-build from each movie. Each figure comes on a base made of plates in these 8 colors, which also means that we get a bunch of useful plates in this set — even the minifigures come with a 2×4 plate as a base.
The game does not add a lot of value, but this calendar has some nice builds, and at 334 pieces (and a nice selection of 7 minifigs), it offers a better value than the other licensed calendars this year. It also features several frustratingly difficult builds and $45 for 334 pieces is no bargain in the big picture. That’s why it ultimately earns a middling 3/5 Stars (Good) rating.
#75340 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar
Review by Jeannie Jonas
nothing we say in this years article will be a spoiler as unfortunately every single build in this setis already shown on the box so there are no surprises, with Day 1’s build actually having the instructions show on the cover. To the discerning child in all of us, this is a little bit of let down when everything is already shown and the only surprise is which day has which build or fig in it.
Top 4 Mini Builds
- Santa Gonk – Despite being part of Top 4 Mini Builds I selected this build not because I like it, but rather because of how much I dislike this build. At first glance I couldn’t even tell what it was, but it was obvious it was a Santa something. Whereas the present version of Gonk from 2019 was well done and you could still discern it was our favorite power droid. Unfortunately, this one completely misses the mark and leaves me disappointed.
- Droid Tri-fighter – Four of the builds in this set use ski poles in them, 8 of them are included total counting the spares. One of those being the Droid Tri-fighter. This build is easily recognizable of this craft as was seen often in the Clone Wars and first seen in Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. Some of the more interesting aspects of this build is the use of a 21Bright RedRed 2L axel which when inserted into the 1×1 Trans Black cone appear to represent the red droid eyes. Of the three fins, the top has the same grey fin that they do in the shows while the two bottom fins are the 140Earth BlueDark Blue color.
- Hoth Defense Turret – While I’d not normally pick a non-ship to be included here, this one is interesting in it’s own right. When first looking at the picture of it, I was thinking oh, maybe we’re getting a new part. This is because we’ve had the inverted 45 double slope 1×3 for some time, part number 2341. At first glance my thought was that we have two 1×1 bricks, and two 45 double slope 1×3 bricks. Seeing as Lego has been coming out with lots of inverted versions of pieces as well as a fair number of parts that fille in the gaps on things like the various macaroni elements, here was a chance that we might be seeing a new part that would have been finding it’s way into other sets. Alas, it’s not. Instead they use a modified 1×1 brick with studs on 4 sides with four 1×2 45 slope bricks. Overall though, for a turret, it looks decent and it’s an interesting way to round out the top of the build.
- Republic Gunship – This ship was originally and only seen before in the 2011 calendar. In 2013 we had the Republic Dropship but that’s a little bit different, so it’s been awhile since we had this one show up. Looking at this compared to the 2011 version, there’s a night an day difference. We see how far Lego has come with their building techniques. Now admitidly we went from 14 parts in 2011 to 25 parts in our current year’s build so there’s a lot more that can be done with more parts, but it just looks better overall while making use of new parts like the modified 1×1 plate with bar handles on ends (2021) and somewhat newer bracket 1×1 – 1×1 inverted (2018) and it’s big brother, bracket 1×1 – 1×2 inverted (2021).
Top 2 Minifigures
- Snowtrooper – This minifigure along with the Scout trooper are different variations on the classic Stromtrooper. The Snowtrooper is especially nice because the only other way to pick this guy up is from the #75313 UCS AT-AT. This cheaper entry point is a great way to get this minifigure before the value skyrockets once the Advent calendar retires (bar the minifigure showing up in another set).
- Darth Vader This minifigure such a fun contrast to the other winter characters. While I’m not especially fond of the call back to the sales pitch that is the Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation movie, they did match the shirt in the movie perfectly, and tossing in the flippers and Death Star volleyball is shear genius. There’s the divot on one side of the ball that would be where the main ionic cannon and on the back is the hole which may represent the small thermal exhaust port, both of which are there due to manufacturing, but we can think of it as if on purpose. Of course, while nice, it would have been too much to ask for the helmet to have the Porgs and flowers on it as seen in the movie. One thing of note is that the box art that shows Vader is wrong in all three instances. The artwork shows plain black arms while the minifig again matches the movie 100% with it’s printing on the arms and legs.
Despite the spoilers on the box this set is actually a decent Advent calendar. while most of the mini builds are not noteworthy, I appreciate the minifigs that are included with the set. Looking at this Advent calendar from a kid’s perspective they will likely see more value in this set for its play value rather than the builds. To the adult collector the minifigures are what stands out. With the with the Snowtrooper is only found in a very expensive set, and Luke other stands outs such as the Droids and Darth each nicely done and I am happy to add to my collection. I give this set a 3/5 Stars (Good) rating overall.
#76231 Guardians of the Galaxy Advent Calendar
Review by Koen van der Hoeven
A key thing to note is that the theme for this calendar is Marvel not Avengers. Despite last year following an Avengers theme this year we get an Advent calendar based around The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special. As with all Advent calendars the box is ripe with spoilers so if you wish to keep the bulk of the builds a surprise we recommend not looking at the front and back too closely. When looking at the box and the doors the first thing that stood out was the references in the box art. Most notably how each of the doors you open are meant to be a container from The Collector’s collection. Unfortunately this character was not included as a minifigure which is a shame.
Top 4 Mini Builds
- Rocket’s Blaster – Detailed is probably the best way to describe this blaster. When placed on a short legged minifigure like Rocket this blaster seems very oversized, but that is the gimmick here. From scope to the trigger all the way to the barrel, the varied textures and colors makes this blaster stand out. I love how what was initially used as an action pose piece is now being used to add angled rod pieces which allows this blaster to be wielded by minifigures easily without needing to move the arm to an unnatural position.
- Tape Deck Stereo – So simple yet so great. From the dials on the side to the cassette tape player printed piece in the middle this Tape Deck Stereo reminds me of my childhood when these were common place. Nowadays many unfortunately do not know the pains of having to rewind a tape. The bright color and printed pieces is what makes this mini build pop amongst the other mini builds.
- Snowman Thanos – You cannot have the Marvel Cinematic Universe without Thanos and this Advent calendar is no different. Only difference this time is rather than releasing yet another thanos minifigure we see thanos in mini build form… as a snow man. This festive spin on Thanos is made to represent a snowman donning Thanos’ armour, from the iconic helmet to the pauldrons and chest plate. This is a great way of ticking off the festive box, Thanos box and not use up a minifigure slot in this Advent calendar. Nifty and creative.
- The Milano – You cannot have a licensed Advent calendar without having some sort of vehicle and this one is no different. The original Guardians Of The Galaxy Milano spaceship was invevitable in this Advent calendar. Its vibrant blues and metalic colors make this spaceship immediately recognizable and stands out.
Top 2 Minifigures
- Holiday Sweater Nebula and Gift – Nebula is always a unique minifigure to get with the awesome face printing but what better than Nebula in a Holiday Sweater donning the facade of Thanos. With the six infinity stones acting as christmas baubles the torso printing is what makes this figure stand out the most. As with Nebula minifigures the face printing is packed with both front and back details. It is a shame that LEGO does not do side head printing regularly as it would be great if the cybernetics on the back and front of the figure were joined rather than seperated.
- Holiday Sweater Drax, Silverware, and Power Stones – This minifigure door is packed with it including a minifigure, silverware and a set of Power Stones. While last year’s Advent calendar included all of the infinity stones this door only includes the power stones. These stones however are not what makes this figure stand out. As with the Nebula figure, Drax sports a festive sweater with a dancing Groot donning a Santa hat. This torso printing is on point with the holidays as Groot is more or less a Christmas tree in terms of holiday references on this torso print. The green of the minifigure face and hands also compliments the green of the torso despite it being a different shade. As Drax has a set of silverware and there are power stones included we can only assume that Drax was trying to eat these stones but we will never know his true motive.
I am glad that for the Marvel Advent calendar LEGO has gone with changing the themes each year rather than sticking with just Avengers, this can allow for creative design spaces to be explored in subsequent calendars we will see. This calendar was fun to build and there are a wide variety of builds from objects so spaceship and a strong line of minifigures but the question is whether it is valued at the price it is. Coming at $0.17 cents per piece and $7.5 per figure you are definately paying a premium for the experience and license with this advent calendar. As I did not have any figures before this I got a lot of value out of this as I was able to get the entire crew but for avid collectors of Marvel sets this calendar will likely give you many duplicates of figures you already have. Despite a fun experience and some good builds and figures I give this a 3/5 Stars (Good) rating overall, with the major detractor being the value you receive for what you pay. If this can be picked up on sale or at a discount the price may be more palpable.
Thanks for the review! May be picking up the Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.
BTW, the “Closing Thoughts” section contains the Star Wars twice, and no Guardians of the Galaxy.
Anyway, for me the standout calendar this year is probably the Harry Potter calendar. Nary a misfired minibuild and a lot of minifigs with unique prints, that still wouldn’t be so Christmas-coded as they’d be useless outside a Christmas setting…
As I’m a Marvel fan, I still bought the Marvel calendar, though, even if I objectively feel it’s somewhat of a step back, compared to last year’s calendar…
I guess that “Rainbow Animal” could be a piñata. Although not particularly associated with Christmas, it’s a rather piñata-like apearance.
Piñata animals could be a bit vaguely defined, although it could be a mix of a burro, a llama and a unicorn…