Quirky advent calendars are definitely having a moment. We’ve all heard of chocolate advent calendars, and in recent years we’ve even become familiar with beauty calendars, but have you ever heard of a jam calendar?
Whilst a few years ago we’d just have to pick between our favourite confectionery brands, now, every brand seems to be releasing their own take on the traditional Christmas countdown. The options are endless!
So, we’ve compiled a list of 2019’s best advent calendars. Including everything from vegan, wine, cheese and even music calendars – as well as the traditional chocolate version – here are our top picks:
Tea and coffee calendars
© Bird and Blend
On a cold and frosty winter morning, there’s nothing better than a cup of steaming hot tea. This calendar from tea mixologists Bird & Blend has every variety you could imagine: black, green, rooibos, herbal, white, fruit and oolong, as well as wacky flavours from Bonfire Toffee to Chocolate Digestives. It’s the perfect calendar for a tea lover who wants to try new flavours without investing in a whole tin.
© Pact Coffee
Coffee enthusiasts will love the detailed tasting notes and farm information that come on all 25 of the sachets in this calendar, which contain a different pre-ground coffee from Africa, South America and beyond. Even better, the coffee is ready to suit cafetière, aeropress or drip brewing methods.
This personalised coffee calendar from Prezzybox comes packed with 25 Nespresso compatible coffee pods in a variety of flavours.
Advent calendars for cheese lovers
This luxury cheese calendar is available from Asda as of November, so keep an eye out as it’ll definitely go quick. Hidden behind each door is an individually-wrapped portion of a luxury French cheese – meaning you just need chutney and biscuits to enjoy a mini-feast every day!
Available at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Ocado, Waitrose, Lidl and Booths
This cheese advent calendar by So Wrong it’s Nom outsold all Chocolate advent variations last Christmas, according to Asda’s sales figures. And it’s no wonder – it’s perfect for cheese lovers, with 24 portions of Jarlsberg, Applewood, Cheddar, Red Leicester, Edam, Double Gloucester, Wensleydale and Mexicana cheese. Plus, there’s a cheesy joke inside every door!
Candle advent calendars
© Yankee Candle
This Yankee Candle tower is covered in beautiful alpine designs, and will look amazing displayed on a bookshelf or mantelpiece. It opens up concertina-style to reveal a mixture of tea lights, votive candles and small jar candles in Yankee Candle’s most famous festive scents. And if you don’t fancy splurging on an £80 calendar, why not try out the Christmas Wreath Calendar or the Christmas Book – they start at £24.99 and have the same amazing range of scents inside!
This luxury candle calendar fom Lidl is a brilliant budget alternative to the high-end brands. Inside are 24 mini candles in lavender, citrus and herb, pomegranate, frosted pine, frankincense, and apple and cinnamon scents – so you can burn the Christmas scents all through December and save the fresh ones ready for the new year!
Alcoholic advent calendars
There’s one word for this beer calendar from Menkind: impressive. This hefty box contains 24 full sized bottles of pale ales, craft lagers, beers, bitters and more, each from a different independent brewery. There’s a mixture of wacky and crowd pleasing flavours – inside you’ll find everything from a mint chocolate porter and alcoholic ginger beer to traditional Cornish lager. It comes at a price, but it’s a brilliant special Christmas gift for a beer lover.
© Jolly Gin
This Jolly Gin calendar, also from Menkind, is an essential for any G&T quaffer this festive season. Although it doesn’t actually contain any gin, behind each door you’ll find cocktail mixers, flavoured sugars, pearl garnishes and shimmers in flavours from watermelon and elderflower to coconut and blood orange. Its an amazing calendar for anyone who plans on entertaining this Christmas – you’ll keep your guests guessing like a top mixologist.
Alternative advent calendars
© Bonne Maman
Who wouldn’t want to open a different flavoured pot of jam for their toast every cold winter morning? This calendar from Bonne Maman contains 23 different 30g jars of jam or marmalade, and even has flavours not usually available in the UK… expect everything from raspberry and lychee, pineapple and passion fruit, mango peach and lime to orange and cinnamon.
Each door on this Spotify calendar reveals a new Christmas hit, simply hold your phone or tablet up to the calendar! After you’ve played the track, the rest of the album continues to play, and as you open new doors every day you build an ultimate Christmas playlist! It’s the perfect way to up the levels of Christmas spirit in your house, and you can even personalise it for friends and family members.
Some of us love the instant buzz of opening a treat-filled calendars every day in the run-up to Christmas, but if you want something that’s really going to make you think, this Haynes electronic games advent calendar is the perfect option. Each door reveals components for build-it-yourself electronic games like Code Breaker, Memory, Wire Maze, Whack a Mole. All you need is 3 AA batteries and a bit of technical savvy.
Advent calendars with a conscience
© Advent of Change
Christmas, after all, is the season of goodwill. When you purchase the Advent of Change calendar, you make a donation to 24 amazing different charities, and each advent door reveals where that day’s 50p contribution has gone.
© Chelsea Physic Garden
Hidden behind each door in this traditional advent calendar from Chelsea Physic garden is a charming and whimsical illustration from the renowned Helen Beard. Each image is inspired by the Physic garden in wintertime, and all proceeds go towards helping maintain the grounds.
Vegan and free-from advent calendars
This year, Prestat‘s 100% vegan calendar features a host of mythical and magical creatures, inspired by the legend that on Christmas Eve, the world’s animals talk to each other. Inside there’s different flavoured dark chocolate bon bons- from raspberry to pink Himalayan salt.
© Holland & Barrett
The free-from brand NOMO takes its name from the idea that those of us with food allergies and intolerances shouldn’t ever have to miss out. This year, their Christmas advent calendar is no exception. Every door on the impressively large calendar will reveal chocolate discs of different flavours – all dairy, gluten and nut free as well as vegan.
Also vegan, as well as gluten and dairy free, this ‘Indulgence with Bells On’ calendar from Livia’s features treats made from the most simple ingredients. In the countdown to Christmas, you’ll be able to enjoy Livia’s most well known sweet snacks – Nugglets, Million Squares and DUNX – without having to worry about allergies, or any unnecessary nasties.
© The White Company
Nothing says luxury more than the White Company, and fans of the brand should not miss this festive calendar. It features all the usual White Company favourites – award-winning skincare products, sleep essentials, votives and more – all in a host of bestselling scents.
Bristle & Smith’s 12-day calendar is designed with the dapper man in mind. The packaging features trendy vintage-style illustrations so it’s ideal to give as an early Christmas present, and contains all the essentials, such as shaving balm, beard wash, tweezers and nail clippers.
William Morris probably never expected his iconic textile designs to end up on an advent calendar, but we’re glad that they did. This advent calendar is extremely classy – it features high-quality packaging that opens up like a book to reveal 24 doors bearing different Morris prints, behind each of which is an assortment of mini toiletries from bath salts to body wash.
Superdrug’s Bloom Collection calendar is the budget answer to high-end beauty countdowns. Inside the beautiful, ribbon-fastened box there’s a range of good sized eau de toilettes with scents of Mandarin and Lime Basil, Orange Rose and Amber, Pink Peony and Cashmere, and Dark Berry and Jasmine fragrances, along with hand creams, body lotions and shower gels in the same scents – all great for travel.
And finally… traditional chocolate advent calendars
© Lily O'Brien's
This delicately decorated Christmas keepsake advent house makes a beautiful festive gift. From sticky toffee to chocolate orange treats, it’s full of Lily O’Brien’s most popular chocolate flavours – plus you can keep the box and refill it year after year.
Available at Wilko, Lidl and Tesco
This chocolate calendar from Kinder allows you to count down to Christmas with an assortment of treats – from filled milk chocolates to bitesize chocolate minis and chocolate filled with cereals.
In this festive Reese’s calendar there’s mix of milk chocolate and white chocolate peanut butter cup miniatures behind every door, plus a Christmas Eve surprise in door number 24.
Thornton‘s classic continental range – crafted by chocolate makers and inspired by travels across Europe – is a year-round favourite in many households. Behind the windows of this festive assortment, you’ll find 24 milk, dark and white chocolates, plus a Viennese bar waiting for the big day itself!