There are a lot of ideas for advent calendars out there. I gathered a few sites here (I like the muffin pan one!) for your own inspiration. Click on the pictures to visit each site.
I think one of the major battles with calendars that have compartments is deciding what to put in each day besides a piece of candy. A friend shared her tradition to put a piece of paper with the activity for the day. Since December is such a busy month, it was easy to put reminders in for family parties, dinners, shopping trips or Santa visits.