just having a quick browse and note that argos now have all 3 advent calendars on their site but wait for this...…..
the friends one is now £22.99 (last years £19.99) and has no mini dolls in at all
City one also now £22.99 I think that had 5 minifigures and the obligatory snowman
star wars £24.99 with 6 figures and 2 droids but nothing that smacks as a star wars character in Santa guise unless you count a snowman with a rebel helmet as seasonal!
don't think i'll bother with these this year- what does everyone else think?
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Edit - Argos site says it's limited stock and currently unavailable. And looking at the models again, I actually think it's well worth £20. I may end up buying multiples for parts or for Christmas stocking fillers for family!
In this case the models aren't minidoll size so it doesn't make sense to include any. I really like that they've got proper seasonal builds, most of which have a hook for hanging on a tree. I actually think this Friends Advent calendar might be a really big hit and as I know I want it, might pick it up early even if I can't find it discounted. (I do love Christmas anyway :-))
Lego advent calendars have been in a rut for a while I think, and the Friends one is a welcome shake-up from the sameyness they've all suffered from over the last 5 years or so - we last had different themes in 2009/2010 with Pirates & Kingdoms.
It was this monotony of subject matter that led to the Alternative Advent Calendar Competition run by Brickset last year, or was it the year before? There were some brilliant ideas and well executed designs put forward there.
Maybe TLG also got encouraging feedback from the 24 in 1 Build up calendars the last two years, and the AFOL survey on ideas for gifts with purchase. Also, maybe they've seen how many people love Chris McVeigh's Lego Christmas decorations and decided they need a piece of the market.
I hope it's a sign of things to come! Next year: advent calendars with Star Wars or Harry Potter tree decorations please!