In the past, advent calendars were modest affairs, designed to anticipate the birth of Jesus Christ. Yet, like most festive accoutrements, they have become increasingly elaborate (not to mention, expensive) in recent years. Here’s a selection of this year’s best calendars from the ostentatious to the simple…
Just in case we didn’t slather our skin with enough lotions and potions for the 11 months of the year building up to December, we can now embrace advent with a new beauty product every day. Calendars range from the ridiculous to the sublime. Go for Beauty Expert’s version (£100, pictured above) or Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty and Nice Magic Box (£150). Or, if you’d rather stick to a familiar brand, try Clarins (£95) or Diptyque (£300), which both make for wonderfully extravagant advent calendars (Diptyque’s offers candles, scents and skincare products).
Food & Drink
The first chocolate advent calendar is said to have been produced in 1958, a century after the first known advent calendar (a German invention that consisted of 24 candles). If a bog standard Dairy Milk (£2.19) calendar isn’t going to cut it, try the one from Charbonnel et Walker (£55), a truly tempting and incredibly pretty means of ticking off the days to December 25. If you’re not a chocolate person, or you’re on the wagon, Fortnum and Mason (£25) have created a calendar for tea-lovers – each day offering a leafy treat from a different country. If, on the other hand, you’re off the wagon, John Lewis (£100) has launched a gin advent calendar which will keep your alcohol levels nicely topped up throughout the festive season. Heroically, Asda has come up with a cheese calendar (£8), which is bound to be a success.
There are plenty of bizarre takes on the advent calendar out there to buy, with perhaps the silliest being Lily Kitchen’s one for dogs (£10). The pooch in your life gets a different edible treat each day. For humans looking for something a little different, give Ginger Ray’s make your own advent calendar (£6.99) a go or consider another Fortnum and Mason’s offering in the shape of their musical calendar (£150, pictured above), which will help put a spring in your step every December morning.
In among the quagmire of hysteria and tinsel, shopping and indulging, there is of course the Nativity itself. For those who want to focus on it, or just wish to keep things simple and traditional, there are still picture advent calendars out there, if you know where to look. Try the National Gallery shop for this Circular Raffaello del Garbo (£7.50) version. Also consider these interactive (£38, pictured above) and 3D (£8.99) options.