Advent calendars have come a long way: when I was little, a Galaxy milk chocolate Advent calendar was the height of sophistication. Now, the mind boggles: whatever your hobby, interest or palate, there’s an Advent calendar for you. This year, there’s all the usual stuff on offer – beauty, booze, chocolate – as well as some more unusual themes, from marshmallows to pork scratchings. We’ve rounded up some of the best 2020 Advent calendars, with a selection to suit all budgets and tastes.
Charbonnel & Walker truffle Advent calendar (John Lewis, £35)
The supermarkets are groaning with chocolate-based Advent calendars for every brand and variety of confectionary you can imagine. But if you’re looking for something fancy, you might like the Charbonnel & Walker truffle Advent calendar.
Divine Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar (Ocado, £4)
The Divine milk chocolate Advent calendar is a simple but delightful collection of fairtrade chocolate hearts behind every door made from cocoa from a Fairtrade family cocoa farm in Ghana.
Montzeuma’s vegan Advent calendar (Milk chocolate, £8.99 Dark chocolate, £9.99)
Vegans shouldn’t miss out on the traditional chocolate Advent calendar: Montezuma’s have created milk or dark chocolate Advent calendars ‘like no udder’, made without dairy.
Naked Marshmallow Co Advent Calendar (from £15)
If you have a sweet tooth, but fancy something different to the usual chocolate offerings then the Naked Marshmallow Co’s Gourmet Marhsmallow Advent Calendar might be right up your street. The calendar is filled with 25 fat, luxury mashshamllows, in twelve alternating flavours including, candy floss, rhubarb & custard, choc & honeycomb and s’mores. For an extra £3.85, you can add their toasting tin and skewer set.
Fortnum’s Feasting Advent Calendar (Fortnum & Mason, £200)
For the epicure there can surely be no better Advent gift than the Fortnum & Mason feasting Advent calendar. It’s at the expensive end of Advent calendars, but it’s packed full of some pretty wonderful stuff: loose leaf teas in beautiful tins, booze (a quarter champagne bottle), biscuits (shortbread, florentines) and preserves (marmalade, jams, curds and honey).
Lily’s Kitchen Christmas Spectacular Advent Calendar for Adult Dogs and Lily’s Kitchen Christmas Spectacular Advent Calendar for Adult Cats (Pets at Home, £10)
It’s not just the human members of a household who should be allowed to enjoy Advent. If you’re looking to spoil the furry friend in your life, there’s an Advent calendar for that: Lily’s Kitchen have created a feline-friendly calendar filled with festive cat treats, and one for man’s best friend, which includes cheese and apple training treats, calming chamomile bedtime biscuits and some offaly delicious beef liver treats.
Whisky Advent calendar (Masters of Malt, £99.95)
If whisky is your preferred tipple, then the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Explorer Advent calendar is a must: 24 wax-sealed 30ml measures of whisky from 22 distilleries from 4 countries. This is a genuinely exciting and wide-ranging Adventure for the whisky lover.
Pork crackling and beer Advent calendar(The Snaffling Pig Co, £75)
Missing the pub? Us too. The Snaffling Pig Co have an Advent calendar which will transport you straight to your local boozer from the comfort of your own home: mixing their specially brewed beer (12 cans: a pale ale, a pilsner and a lager) and packets of 3 differently flavoured pork scratchings (12 packets: salted, maple and BBQ). If you’re not a drinker, there’s also a scratching-only calendar for £17.50
Stationery Advent Calendar (Paperchase, £28)
If you fancy something more long-lasting than an edible Advent calendar, Paperchase have released a stationery Advent calendar, which contains everything you could think of for your desk or pencil case: tape, tabs, notebooks, pens, clips, and vouchers.
The Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar (Liberty of London, £215)
The Liberty of London beauty-filled Advent calendar is iconic: with 25 drawers in distinctive Liberty print, it’s one of the most sought-after beauty Advent calendars around. So popular is this Advent calendar that at the time of writing (we haven’t even hit November), the calendar is sold out on pre-orders, but more are being produced as quickly as possible, so if you haven’t nabbed yours yet, you needn’t miss out. It’s not a budget option at £215 but featuring brands including Diptyque, Hourglass and Le Labo, with an overall value of £789 and containing 18 full-size products, it’s easy to see its appeal.
If you’re in the market for something a little simpler (and cheaper), Boots’ own brand Soap & Glory have their own Advent calendar, featuring shampoos, eye gel patches, facial scrubs, and every kind of moisturiser you can imagine.
For the kid (or big kid) in your life, it has to be the LEGO City 60268 Advent Calendar, featuring 24 Lego gifts made up of festive builds, mini figures and a play mat.
Something a little different…a Food bank advent calendar
If you’re looking to give as well as receive, you might like to consider a food bank Advent calendar, where each day you add an item of food or toiletries every day. The important thing for food banks is that you do this Advent calendar during November rather than December, and deliver to your foodbank at the very beginning of December so they have time to distribute items to those in need. Check out your local food bank to see what they can accept and what they’re particularly in need of at this time of year.