Boxes of Joy: A Guide to the Best LEGO Christmas Sets

Best LEGO Christmas Sets: Boxes of Joy

Latest posts by Logan Boese (see all)

Christmas time is a magical time.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, cultures worldwide have a midwinter festival. They come in many forms and flavors, but most share a few things. It’s a time of community, where families come together and celebrate their previous year while looking forward to the next.

My family was not particularly religious, but we always enjoyed the magic of Christmas. It’s always been a time of generosity when people would be more kind and caring than the rest of the year.

Well, it’s not Christmas now, (but it’s never too early to shop for it, amirite?!) Still, it’s nice to think about that generous spirit at other times of the year, and LEGO makes it easy. I got tons of LEGO sets for Christmas, and at some point, LEGO started making sets specifically themed around that time of year. I had some of these, and I played with many more.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the best LEGO Christmas sets that LEGO has ever produced.

Best LEGO Christmas Sets

Bottom Line Up Front: The Christmas Build-Up set is my choice for the Best LEGO Christmas set ever released. It had over two-hundred bricks that were pretty standard and so could be used for almost anything you wanted to make. It was also a “greatest hits” of twenty-four of their previously-released Christmas items. For bonus points, it was also a gift that you could earn with a qualifying purchase from LEGO.com!

Criteria

I have to lay down some ground rules for this one because otherwise, any set I got for Christmas could be called a “Christmas set.”

  • Generosity – LEGO sets make an excellent gift for the holidays! They bring joy to children all over the world. If a set has more pieces or lets a builder make more things, that will get it a more prominent place under this tree.
  • Novelty –  Christmas is a time for dreams, both sugar plum and otherwise. LEGOs are the perfect toy for dreamers. If something has enough bricks to make more than one build, it will get recognized for that.
  • Freely Given – LEGOs are incredibly cool. They’re so accessible that almost anyone can pick up some bricks and make something. Christmas sets are already seasonal and more challenging to get ahold of than most, so any set with further limited availability will get a much worse spot.
  • Magic – There’s a special feeling around Christmas time. It doesn’t happen the rest of the year. If a set captures that better, I’ll give it a better spot!

20. Little Elf Helpers

Best LEGO Christmas Sets little elf helpers
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Pieces: 238
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

This set is kind of surprising to be so low on the list. It has a LOT of bricks, and they’re pretty standard. So they can make a TON of different builds. By my own rules, this should be pretty far down the list, right?

Wrong!

Yes, it has all of those things going for it. However, it utterly fails in the last category, and I consider it one of the most important! When you’ve finally completed this build, you’re left with these two googly-eyed monsters staring back at you. It does not fill me with Christmas Wonder. It fills me with fear and not the fun kind.

19. LEGO Santa

Best LEGO Christmas Sets lego santa
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Pieces: 155
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

Santa Claus is an almost universally beloved figure of warmth, joy, and the very spirit of generosity.

I don’t know who this Google-eyed monster is, but he is not Santa Claus.

The finished figure from this set is a figure of terror and twisted malice. He seems more like a bizarre paroxysm of happiness. A tormented reflection of Santa that submerged itself in the uncanny valley and came out the other side as something eldritch and terrible.

However, the pieces in this set are worth more separately than put together. They are lovely standard bricks that can be used to assemble any number of other builds.

18. Christmas Set

Best LEGO Christmas Set
  • Year Released: 1997
  • Pieces: 9
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Tutorial

LEGO sets don’t need to be large to be powerful. This set has nine pieces in total, but it can still be used to assemble three separate builds. Builders can create Santa Claus, an elf, or a happy child.

It would be nice if they didn’t all look like absolute eldritch terrors, but there’s only so much you can do with nine pieces.

This set was also included in the LEGO Advent Calendar released a year later. I ultimately chose to have this set instead of that one because I actually ended up owning this one. I mostly used its pieces in other builds, but it still filled me with absolute joy.

Best LEGO Christmas Sets advent calendar

…Even if that joy only came about once I had disassembled the absolute monstrosity that it was supposed to be.

17. Reindeer

Best LEGO Christmas Sets reindeer
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Pieces: 26
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

Reindeer have been a part of the Christmas aesthetic for over two-hundred years. I remember getting this one from a garage sale shortly after it was released. I was always baffled by the fact that the reindeer was wearing a Santa Hat.

I wondered if that meant the reindeer was supposed to be Santa Claus, having lost a magical battle with the Christmas Witch. This was years before the Santa Claus Disney+ series. I was an imaginative child with access to the Time-Life Enchanted World series. (Which probably explains why I’m now an imaginative adult with too much time on his hands.)

It’s a fun little set that lets you make a reindeer and then break it apart to build something else, and I’m a big fan of bricks that can be used for multiple purposes.

16. Christmas

Best LEGO Christmas Sets
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Pieces: 34
  • Theme: Creator (Christmas)
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

The biggest problem is that this wasn’t readily available to the public. It was part of a promotional release one year in one country. So, this one barely squeaks onto the list.

It was part of the first “Creator” line aimed at younger children trying to transition from DUPLO. It only has a few pieces but uses them to make a Christmas Tree, a Gift, and a jolly old Saint Nick.

Santa Claus is the biggest reason I chose to include it. It contrasts nicely with the other Santas we’ve seen so far. He’s a jolly old soul with chubby red cheeks and a cute little beard. This Santa is CUTE, despite being easy to make. I thought that deserved a place on this list.

15. Snowman

Best LEGO Christmas Sets snowman
  • Year Released: 1991
  • Pieces: 42
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Tutorial

Speaking of cute little builds, let’s talk about this snowman!

He’s utterly adorable!

This little guy was one of the first sets I had access to, and he taught me a lot about how to build with LEGO. He showed me how to make a tophat out of standard bricks. He’s nothing BUT common bricks and a little bit of imagination. It’s very thematic for Frosty the Snowman. I know he isn’t labeled “Frosty,” but the two are constantly linked in my head. One of my earliest Christmas memories is watching Frosty before bed and putting this set together.

I also love the innovative way that they put his little broom together!

14. Decorating the Tree

Best LEGO Christmas Sets decorating the tree
  • Year Released: 2013
  • Pieces: 110
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 2
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

This is a very familiar scene to many people. Even if they never had the chance to get together with their family and decorate the tree, they’ve probably seen it done on television or in films throughout the years.

For my part, decorating the tree WAS always a big event. Both when I was a child and when I had my own children. I clearly remember being a kid and seeing my parents with their steaming coffee or hot cocoa mugs as I gleefully stuck ornaments on a tree. Then, I can remember having my own hot cocoa and putting it down to gleefully stick decorations on a tree with my children.

I’m VERY fond of those memories, and this tree is an excellent way to relive them. It’s very cleverly put together with bricks that can be used for almost anything! Special mention goes to the hinged ladder that I absolutely loved to open and close for the satisfaction of hearing the sound.

13. Santa on Reindeer

Best LEGO Christmas Sets santa on reindeer
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Pieces: 34
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

This is a unique set because it does a couple of things better than previous sets on this list. It has a small Santa, who is cute and happy.

It also has a reindeer that looks like a reindeer rather than a baleful, transformed Santa Claus. It also does it all using only thirty-four bricks!

I also think that it happens to look very noble. When I first watched Peter Jackson’s Hobbit and saw Thranduil riding into battle on an elk, I honestly couldn’t help but be reminded of this.

12. Christmas Train Ride

Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas train ride
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Pieces: 169
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 3
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

One of my favorite films to watch at Christmas is “The Polar Express.” It wasn’t always the case. In fact, the first time I saw it, I was pretty bored.

Then I had my own kids, and a train station by where I used to live had a movie night. They encouraged parents to bring children of all ages to see the film in 3D. My youngest son was almost three, and my oldest was four. They were bright balls of energy who never stopped moving except for that night when they sat still and watched The Polar Express from start to finish without making a peep.

It’s one of my favorite memories and why I love this set.

This is another case of LEGO wearing its inspiration on its sleeve. This isn’t labeled as a Polar Express set, but between the kindly conductor, the color scheme they chose, and the child with a golden ticket, it’s obvious where they drew their inspiration for this one.

You might also be interested in: Best LEGO Train Sets

11. Christmas Town Square

Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas town square
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Pieces: 179
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 3
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

This was released at the same time as number thirteen. I placed this one a little higher because I tried really hard to look past my memories for this list.

My children own both sets, and they swear this one is more fun for them to play with. I’ve also seen them use this much more than the other, so I’ll believe them.

It’s still a fantastic item. Three happy minifigs are going about their lives in an obvious Christmas Town, and one Frosty that’s a custom model and almost a minifig in its own right.

It also furthers my theory about the whole Polar Express” inspiration because of how the tree is built and the ornamentation on the walls around it.

10. Holiday Set 1

Best LEGO Christmas Sets holiday set 1
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Pieces: 97
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 1
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

This is a set that was released to be part of a pair.

It’s a pretty common sight for many. It has a tree with presents wrapped up underneath and a minifig man excited to open his gifts the following morning. I put this one so high because it has almost no exclusive pieces.

Aside from the walls themselves, everything in this set is made of standard LEGO bricks. One of the coolest flexes a LEGO set can do is to have its creations made up of almost nothing but regular bricks.

I also want to mention the little LEGO portrait of the ship because I think it’s cute as all hell. It also perfectly represents the generic maritime art many of our parents and grandparents had on the wall.

9. Holiday Set 2

Best LEGO Christmas Sets holiday set 2
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Pieces: 117
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 1
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

This is the other half of the set from above, and I’m just gonna be honest. This one blows that one out of the water.

This one features Santa, his milk and cookies, a Christmas wreath on the walls, and even a chimney, with almost nothing but standard bricks.

I absolutely love the color scheme they went with for the bricks! Red and black repeating patterns are some of my favorite designs that I ever see. Santa also looks like a wise and powerful old elf rather than some weird kind of Christmas monster, so it also gets some points for that.

I also utterly love they went ahead and used the same piece of artwork for this set as well.

8. Gingerbread House

Best LEGO Christmas Sets gingerbread house
  • Year Released: 2015
  • Pieces: 277
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

If the “Hobby Sets” LEGO used to make were still a thing, I feel like this would have been one.

Making Gingerbread houses are a classic staple for many at Christmastime. I’m unsure of the history of Gingerbread Houses, but I know that my grandmother used to actually bake the gingerbread herself. Then we would use homemade frosting to put it together. My mother was never quite as good a baker as my grandmother, so she just used to buy the kits, and we would do that.

Then my children were born gluten-intolerant, so I had to become a baker to make gluten-free gingerbread for houses.

They never tasted perfect, but the kids didn’t mind. One year, I bought this for them when I felt a little too sick to make the gingerbread. It wasn’t the same, so we baked later after I felt better. However, putting it together was still a TON of fun and a great way to tide them over.

7. Christmas Gift Box

Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas gift box
  • Year Released: 2018
  • Pieces: 301
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 2
  • Approximate Skill Level: Moderate

This is a small but surprisingly dense little set.

It’s the kind of thing that seems incredibly obvious after you see it done, but one that I never thought about until the first time I saw it.

It’s a traditional little Christmas scene with a chimney, bed, and Christmas tree. Two children are running around and doing Christmas things. There are also gifts that are wrapped and unwrapped. However, the cool thing is that when you’re done with it, you can fold it up and put the lid on top, and it looks like a Christmas present!

6. Christmas Set

Guide to the Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas set lego
  • Year Released: 2012
  • Pieces: 109
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 4
  • Approximate Skill Level: Beginner

This is a pretty small set, but it always makes me think of Christmastime at a glance.

There’s a one-horse open sleigh with a very well-dressed driver pushing the horse to dash through a landscape that I bet anyone would imagine is snowy. Meanwhile, a park bench and lamp are nearby, with a woman staring happily at the Christmas lovers in the back of the sleigh. It looks like a scene straight out of a cheesy Christmas rom-com.

I’ve always loved those. Films like A Christmas Knight, The Mistle-Tones, and 12 Dates of Christmas are a staple at my house around the holiday season.

5. Snowglobe

Best LEGO Christmas Sets snowglobe
  • Year Released: 2016
  • Pieces: 1
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 1
  • Approximate Skill Level: Expert

This set was almost exclusively available as a free gift if you bought a qualifying purchase on LEGO.com.

It was also one of the most innovative and cool LEGO sets that the company had released in decades. It’s utterly gorgeous! It has many tiny, standard bricks that get put together with a few exclusive ones to create a “snowglobe” entirely made of LEGO.

It couldn’t bear much shaking, and there was no liquid in the top for the snow pieces to settle slowly. However, to a LEGO builder, that doesn’t matter. This is something you put together with super glue and then stick on your mantle as a cute little novelty around the holidays, and I loved it.

4. Santa’s Workshop

Best LEGO Christmas Sets santa's workshop
  • Year Released: 2022
  • Pieces: 329
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 2
  • Approximate Skill Level: Advanced

Is there anything more “classically Christmas” than the image of Santa’s workshop?

It’s a trope in Christmas books and movies for a reason. Santa has happy little elves that help him in his workshop to make presents for all the good little boys and girls worldwide, and no one can tell me different!

This beautiful scene looks precisely like you would want it to. All the LEGO bricks are the right color scheme that comes to mind when you think of a “Santa’s Workshop” set. It even includes an elf minifig to work the shop with Santa! One of the few downsides is that there are SO many small pieces to put together that it’s really easy for them to get lost as you open the baggie.

3. Santa’s Sleigh

Best LEGO Christmas Sets santa's sleigh
  • Year Released: 2021
  • Pieces: 343
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: “1” (If you don’t count the four adorable reindeer minifigs)
  • Approximate Skill Level: Advanced

If there is another image of Christmas that’s as ubiquitous as the workshop, it’s Santa in his sleigh with the reindeer.

While reindeer were initially attached to Santa in 1821, it was just one picture and poem depicting Santa Claus with a single reindeer pulling his sleigh. Two years later, in Twas the Night Before Christmas, Santa’s sleigh was upgraded to the eight we think of now, with each reindeer getting their own name. Then it was another hundred years before Gene Autry added Rudolph.

Unfortunately, this set only has four reindeer, but that’s not so bad, given that the sleigh is SO beautiful. It’s also packed to bursting with toys for good little children.

2. Charles Dickens Tribute

Best LEGO Christmas Sets charles dickens tribute
  • Year Released: 2020
  • Pieces: 333
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 3
  • Approximate Skill Level: Advanced

I LOVE A Christmas Carol. I love it in almost every form it takes.

I loved it when Jim Belushi did his version. I loved it when the Flintstones made their version. I especially loved it when the Muppets made their version. As much as I love LEGO, it stands to reason I would love it when they did their version.

And I do!

This set is stunning. It looks like it’s built right on top of a copy of the book, featuring a scene where Ebenezer Scrooge walks into the Cratchit home to give them their gifts at the end of the story. If I have one complaint, I wish they had included some of the ghosts, but that’s a minor nitpick, and I don’t begrudge them, focusing instead on the happy ending.

Honorable Mentions

Normally, I don’t do Honorable Mentions. It’s usually enough just to make the list. However, this time, I couldn’t justify putting these two on the list, but I wanted to talk about them. Why couldn’t I put them on the list? Because they were both gifts given to employees in LEGO stores. It’s a great tradition that brings some holiday joy to LEGO’s staff, but I had to rule them out for the list proper because they’re not available to the general public.

B. A LEGO Christmas Tale

Best LEGO Christmas Sets a lego christmas tale
  • Year Released: 2013
  • Pieces: 435
  • Theme: Christmas Employee Gift
  • Minifigs: That’s… Complicated.
  • Approximate Skill Level: Advanced

This set is huge! It’s also kind of bizarre.

Typically, sets include minifigs. However, these include the heads of minifigs that attach to single-layer, single-stud tube bricks as a form of micro-fig. It provides everything one associates with Christmas, including Santa Claus, his elves, his reindeer, a snowman, and happy children around a tree.

However, a lot of the designs make it seem oddly sinister. The elves have a mean cast to their faces, while the children look happy but confused. The snowman also uses a skeleton head as a top piece. It’s really odd and makes me wonder if this story is meant to be like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A. Christmas X-Wing

Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas x-wing
  • Year Released: 2019
  • Pieces: 1038
  • Theme: Christmas Employee Gift
  • Minifigs: 3
  • Approximate Skill Level: Advanced

This set is UTTERLY Huge!

It’s got over a thousand bricks of both common and uncommon varieties. It’s also a Christmas and Star Wars Mash-Up. Luke and R2-D2 fly in an X-Wing starfighter that looks like it unlocked a seasonal DLC. In the background, a hanger waits for the X-Wing to return while Yoda Claus pulls his sleigh full of presents for the good younglings of a galaxy far, far away.

It’s different. It’s unique, and I DESPERATELY want to play with it.

1. Christmas Build-Up

Best LEGO Christmas Sets christmas build-up
  • Year Released: 2017
  • Pieces: 254
  • Theme: Christmas
  • Minifigs: 0
  • Approximate Skill Level: Varies

This is another “free gift with purchase” set from LEGO.com.

It included the pieces to make twenty-four previous LEGO Christmas builds in this one box. However, those came in the form of very standard bricks that could be used to make almost anything.

I’ll be honest. This was a hard choice for me to make between putting this at number one or two. I ultimately chose this as the winner because even if you had to make a purchase, it was a gift. It represented a perfect, symbolic fusion of LEGO and Christmas.

A gift that you could earn that lets you put together a BUNCH of different LEGO sets. That’s why this one earned my choice as the top LEGO Christmas set ever made.

Conclusion

Best LEGO Christmas Sets lego santa's visit

Christmas is a time of giving. Any holiday movie will tell you that. What many won’t tell you, or they’ll leave very abstract, is that LEGO is a time for joy and inspiring children to be the creative, extraordinary individuals that they were always meant to be. It’s when we reach out to one another and try to build or rebuild communities.

To my mind, there’s no better gift to inspire a love of building than LEGO.

Now, you have many ideas for gifts this year and plenty of time to hunt some up. Just call that my gift to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What’s your Favorite Christmas-themed LEGO Set?

Answer: Number Two, without a doubt. I absolutely LOVE A Christmas Carol.

Question: What are your Favorite and Least Favorite versions of A Christmas Carol?

Answer: My Favorite version is a toss-up between Doctor Who’s Christmas Carol episode or the Flintstone’s Christmas Carol. My least favorite is the Jim Carrey Version. Although I also love most of the old Christmas Carol movies!

Question: What was the first Christmas-themed LEGO set released?

Answer: That was Two Santas, released in 1977.

Question: Are there any currently available in retail stores?

Answer: There are not currently any at the time of this writing. They’re seasonal items, and LEGO usually has them in stock between October to December. So just look for them around the irritatingly-early time of “Before Halloween.”

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