Everyone loves an advent calendar, but if you're after an advent calendar app, don't expect any chocolate to be hiding behind the doors on your screen. Smartphones and tablets may be hi-tech but they're not edible… yet. If you're looking for a "sleeps until Christmas" app, check out our roudnup of Christmas countdown apps.
Here are some of the better apps we've tracked down for counting down the days to the Nativity of Jesus (that is what Advent is all about, after all). Some apps are better suited to helping kids count the days, while others are a bit more esoteric. Most have been updated for 2015, but some developers forget to update the app descriptions so expect to see references to years gone by. It matters not: the apps still work fine as there's always 24 days to count down.
Most apps are available for Android and iOS, but we'll note where they're not.
Best Advent calendar apps 2015: Christmas Countdown Elf Story
Google Play link: Christmas Countdown Elf Story
Help the Elves save Christmas with this free version of Elf Advent(ure). It has great graphics, a poem, puzzles (such as fixing this circuit board) and games. A great one for kids, this. It hasn't yet been changed for 2015, but if you haven't seen it before, that's no reason not to install it.
Best Advent calendar apps 2015: Advent 2015
Free: iOS, Android
Google Play store link: Advent 2015
App Store link: Advent 2015
Completely updated for iOS for 2015, appChocolate's advent calendar is back. Each day there's a new minigame to play, and there's Game Center integration too.
On Android, you don't get minigames. Instead there's a free app behind each door.
Best Advent calendar apps 2015: Xmas Music 2015
App Store link: 2015 Xmas Music
Each day during December you can spin a record on the wheel of steel to hear a Christmassy tune. We can't vouch for the tunes, since they're all new for 2015, but we can tell you they include Santa Baby and All I want for Christmas is you. On 25 December you unlock a playlist of all 25 songs.
Best Advent calendar apps 2015: Xt3 Advent Calendar 2015
Free: iOS, Android
Google Play link: Xt3 Advent Calendar
App Store link: Xt3 Advent Calendar
Not the prettiest app out there, but if you're after the real meaning of Christmas, Xt3's Catholic advent calendar offers a Bible quote each day. You can also use the interactive calendar below:
Best Advent calendar apps 2015: Santa's Magic Sack
Free: Out of date versions available on iOS and Android
Google Play link: Santa's Magic Sack
App Store link: Santa's Magic Sack
This is a brick-smashing Breakout-type arcade game masquerading as an advent calendar. It's fun, though. Each day you get a new level to play, helping Santa collect magical stardust and get ready for Christmas Eve.