The Far Side 2023 Wall Calendar

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We Build the 2023 LEGO Advent Calendars for Harry Potter, Avengers, and Star Wars

Another year, another festive round of LEGO Advent Calendars for the holiday season. This year, we built the themed calendars for Harry Potter, Marvel’s Avengers, and Star Wars. Should you consider buying one of them for the countdown to Christmas? Here are our thoughts.

We Build LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar 2023

The LEGO advent calendars are built into the packaging itself; each of the 24 days has its own perforated cubby hole, arranged in random order in rows on the box’s face. As a non-Christian (who’s married to a Catholic woman), I made the same mistake I made last year; I opened the box from its top expecting to find the advent calendar inside, not realizing that the box itself was the advent calendar.


We Build LEGO Avengers Advent Calendar 2023

You open each flap, and inside each cubby hole is a plastic bag, containing a miniature build of 10-20 pieces. The instructions are on the insides of the tearaway flaps, and they typically consist of a single, exploded diagram for each daily build. With the exception of a couple of the Star Wars ships (which you must build symmetrically to account for the side of the ship that is not pictured), this single instructional image is more than enough.

We Build LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar 2023

LEGO varies its thematic approach to these Advent Calendars. Sometimes, they don’t obey the holiday theme at all. Last year’s Harry Potter calendar didn’t; instead, it covered key moments and artifacts from each of the eight films. Sometimes, the annual calendar is anchored to recently released content. Last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy calendar tied directly to The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022). And sometimes, it’s a random mix of some holiday-geared elements, and other elements that are evergreen and non-seasonal.

The LEGO Harry Potter calendar, however, is almost entirely winter-themed. Most of the elements appear to be from Year Three—the Prisoner of Azkaban era. There’s a Sirius Black ‘Wanted’ sign, and lamp posts capped with snow. One day, you build Madame Rosmerta. On another day, you build a barrel of butterbeer with a tap, And on another day, you build a wooden table laden with food, including a massive turkey leg. All these elements can be combined to create a larger tableau of Hogsmeade, with pieces representing the Three Broomsticks, the Hog’s Head Inn, Zonko’s Joke Shop, and Honeydukes. The calendar also includes a first-time minifigure of Aberforth Dumbledore, which should appeal to any dedicated Potter fan.

The weakest of these three sets is the LEGO Avengers calendar, which underlines the post-Infinity Saga slump of the past several years. This year’s Avengers calendar is not tied to any specific MCU release; instead, it’s a vaguely holiday-themed collection of MCU iconography, set roughly between Phase 2 and Phase 3. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are young and alive, as is Black Widow. Spider-Man hasn’t been forgotten by his friends.

There’s something sad about that—that close to five years have elapsed since Endgame, and the public is still stuck on Captain America and Iron Man. None of the new heroes, introduced in Phase 4 and Phase 5, have caught on in a similar manner.

LEGO also cut corners on its Avengers calendar builds. One daily bag had Dr. Strange. The subsequent bag had only his cape—a single accessory element that required no assemblage. It’s one thing to include elements of a single scene across multiple days. It’s quite another to stretch the contents of a single bag across multiple days. It felt uncharacteristically low-effort, from a company that prides itself on fastidiousness.

It’s even more egregious when one compares the LEGO Avengers calendar to the LEGO Star Wars calendar, which is the clear standout of the three sets. It has approximately 100 more pieces than the other two, despite being priced exactly the same. And the additional effort that went into every Star Wars mini-set is palpable. There’s a miniature replica of a Star Destroyer, an AAT Battle Tank, and an AT-ST captured mid-stride. There’s an Ewok, with a sharp-looking glider. And the piece de resistance: an Emperor Palpatine minifigure with a Christmas sweater on.

So if you’re trying to decide between these three sets, the Star Wars calendar is far and away the best of them, offering more pieces, more details, and better builds for your buck. The Harry Potter calendar has a consistent winter theme and an exclusive figure, which will make it a perfect holiday-appropriate surprise for any Potter fan—though its broader appeal beyond that is questionable. And as for the Avengers set? There’s definitely some fun stuff in it. But it’s too little payoff for its price, and it’s recommended for collectors and completionists only.

LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar (Set #76418, 227 pieces), LEGO Avengers Advent Calendar (Set #76267, 243 pieces), and LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar (Set #75366, 320 pieces). They retail for $44.99 each. They are available now.

The Far Side®  Off-the-Wall Calendar
The Far Side® Off-the-Wall Calendar
The Far Side®  Off-the-Wall Calendar
The Far Side® Off-the-Wall Calendar
The Far Side®  Off-the-Wall Calendar
The Far Side® Off-the-Wall Calendar