Aside from all the obvious stuff – the food, the gifts, the sparkly Christmas songs – there’s one thing we really love about the festive season: getting the best advent calendar.
As a child, being allowed to eat chocolate every single day for seemingly no reason was utterly thrilling – even better if we were getting something like Lego with it, too.
UPDATE: Sainsbury’s has released the UK’s first cheese Christmas cracker. This cracker includes two cheeses - a west country Cheddar cheese and a Ilchester Red - plus five mini oatcakes, a jar of Tiptree Tomato Chutney, and of course, a hat and cheesy joke. Available in store for £3 each, from 4 December. If you can’t wait that long, Sainsbury’s are also bringing back their sell-out Cheese Advent Calendar. Available from 13 November, this calendar will include 24 pieces of cheese including an Applewood, a mature Cheddar and a Wensleydale with Gingerbread for a festive treat.
And whilst the thrill of scoffing a chocolate at 8am is still just as good in adulthood, there are also more and more options out there if you’re looking for something a little bit more grown up.
From make-up to booze, there’s an ever-expanding variety of advent calendars designed to make every day of December a little bit more special.
Here’s our guide to the best of the bunch.
Best adult advent calendars
1. That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Advent Calendar
That Boutique-y Gin Company has teamed up with Drinks by the Dram to create this advent calendar. The box has a lovely hand-illustrated design by Grace J Ward and the drams inside feature, among others,Moonshot Gin, Spit-Roasted Pineapple Gin and Chocolate Orange Gin. Yum
2. Japanese whisky advent calendar
Many whisky connoisseurs are of the opinion that Japanese whisky is some of the best in the world – and if you agree with them, or simply want to find out what all the fuss is about, this one’s for you.
Containing twenty four different 30ml drams of Japanese whisky, the calendar has everything you’d want as a whisky fan – single malts, single grains, partial blends... the lot.
If you want a surprise, the company has hidden its offerings behind a ‘read more’ – but if you want to have a look, they’re on the website now.
3. Personalised dog treat advent calendar
Alright, so this one isn’t technically for you – it’s for your dog. But why should they be left out whilst you smother yourself in beauty products, light luxury candles or scoff food?
This contains everything your furry friend might want – 24 chews and a toy. All treats are made from rawhide and rice starch, and come in cute little shapes – chewy shoes, mini bones and so on. And you can even personalise the box.
4. Beer Hawk Craft Beer ADVENTure Calendar
If you love a pint down the pub, what better gift to receive just before Christmas than this beer advent calendar. We’ll admit the name is a little cheesy but it contains 24 beers from 14 different countries, so you can feel cultured and travel the world while being sat on your sofa watching Netflix - the perfect combination if you asked us.
This one’s a decent size, too - 67cm tall to be exact - so you know you’re getting a good amount of beer for the price. According to its makers, it contains more than £80 worth of beer so you’re essentially getting a round or two of pints for free.
5. Lush bath bomb advent calendar
Anyone who’s ever had a bath bomb from Lush will attest to their amazing smell and supremely relaxing qualities – how could you not feel calm in a hot bath full of those gorgeous scents?
Well, if you want to feel (and smell) good all year long, the Lush bath bomb advent calendar is almost certainly for you. Three drawers and twenty four compartments are packed with bath bombs, body washes, soaps, moisturisers, lipsticks, lip scrubs and more – and some of them are only available in the calendar, so you’re getting something exclusive, too.
And true to their eco credentials, the company also suggests that you keep the box for further use as storage for make-up, jewellery or other Lush products.
6. Cult Beauty advent calendar
If you’re a beauty maven, you’re going to want to get this Cult Beauty advent calendar. Stuffed full of make-up, skincare, hair care and more from brands including Nars, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Laura Mercier and more, this is a must have for anyone who wants to look and feel their best.
£195 may seem pretty steep, but the company promises that you’ll be making a whopping £485 worth of savings – so if you’re serious about beauty and want to stock up on some brilliant products, it might be worth the investment.
If you really want it, though, you should probably get on the waitlist now.
7. Fortnum and Mason feasting advent calendar
When you think of ‘luxury’, Fortnum and Mason certainly springs to mind – and their foodie advent calendar is proof of that.
It’s absolutely stuffed full of products – jams, honeys, chutneys and piccalillis, biscuits and chocolates, teas and coffees and gins, champagnes and vodkas are all included in the box.
All are the top quality you’d expect from Fortnum and Mason, and all are available in larger sizes, too, so if something really tickles your fancy you’ll be able to buy it again.
8. Snaffling Pig pork crackling advent calendar
Whilst we really don’t recommend you eat a packet of pork crackling every single day in December, this calendar could be a good way to ensure you always have a great pub snack.
It does what it says on the tin, really – 24 packets of pork crackling in various flavours – pigs in blankets, BBQ, maple, black pepper, salt and vinegar and salted. You can also get a gluten free version, and an ominously named ‘Pig of Doom’ version, which just contains 24 packets of incredibly spicy crackling. Not for the faint of heart.
9. Gourmet Popcorn Christmas Advent Calendar
There's 24 small bags of popcorn behind the doors of this advent calendar and six flavours to get you in the popping mood. So, if you are a fan of flavours such as pecan pie and chocolate then you are in luck
10. Virgin Wines advent calendar
If you’re more into wines than spirits, this Virgin wines advent calendar might just hit the spot. Available in red, white and mixed boxes, the calendar contains 24 wines, all in different styles, varieties and flavours.
They have a good track record, too, selected based on their accumulated customer ratings – one Shiraz featured in the calendar has been rated an average of 4.6 out of 5 by over 2,500 customers, for example.
There’s also bottles of Prosecco in the mix – just the thing to get you in the mood for Christmas.
11. Fortnum and Mason tea lovers advent calendar
Yes, it’s Fortnum and Mason. No, you’re not going to have to take a loan out to buy it. At £25, this is a steal – a great way to incorporate a little bit of luxury into your December without breaking the bank while you do it.
But while this tea lovers advent calendar might be affordable, it’s certainly not low quality. Taken from the shop’s own collections, there’s a huge range of teabags included – from classics like chais, mint teas, Earl Greys and classic breakfast blends to more exciting offerings – Camomile and Bee Pollen and Vanilla Nougat teas are the ones that jump out at us.
12. Diptyque candle advent calendar
Diptyque candles are widely considered to be the best you can buy – and the company’s advent calendar will make sure your house always smells great.
You’ll get 25 products in this – candles and perfumes. With such a wide variety of products, you’re unlikely not to find an aroma you like; whether you’re into deep, musky scents, something light and fruity, or prefer a floral bloom.
But however you like it, you’ll be smelling good long after December.