The best advent calendars to make the most of the Christmas countdown

From luxury beauty to traditional wooden designs, there's an advent for everyone
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  • How is it almost that time of year again?! The Christmas countdown will be here before we know it. Stay ahead of the game by snapping up the best advent calendars out there right now!

    It may feel like a long time off but Christmas advents are already hitting the shops.

    Related: Primark’s Hogwarts Express advent calendar will count you down to a magical Christmas

    Gone are the days of cheap chocolate novelty advent calendars – thank goodness. These days, Christmas advent calendars are far more imaginative.

    We’ve been on the look out for the best advent calendars for this year, to make the Christmas countdown an even more enjoyable experience.

    The best advent calendars for Christmas 2019

    best advent calendars 2019

    Photo credit: Simon Whitmore

    One thing that has slightly perplexed us this year is the popularity of 12 day advent calendars. The 12 days of Christmas relates to the 25th December, until the 12th night which falls on Sunday 5th January 2020.

    This new thing is most likely due to the trend for gifting advent calendars – so you have something to look forward to post-Christmas. Of course you can choose to countdown from 12 days before, if you see a 12 day advent you simply have to have.

    But for those that wish to countdown the days until the big day there are still plenty of 24 days advents to build the anticipation.

    Best gin advent calendar – Fever-tree

    best advent calendars for gin lovers

    Fever-Tree, the premium mixer brand, has introduced the perfect gift for all gin-thusiasts – the Ultimate Gin & Tonic Advent Calendar. Not to judge, but the beauty of this particular gin advent is the mix of tonics and gin miniatures.  The beautifully decorated floral design houses 12 50ml bottles of craft and premium gin along with a variety of 12 150ml cans of Fever-Tree tonics, hidden behind each door.

    The handpicked gins include an array of award-winning brands, from botanical based The Botanist, to juniper-rich Sipsmith London Dry Gin, all of which are paired with a Fever-Tree tonic water selected to complement the signature flavours.

    This is the perfect calendar for G&T lovers, to enjoy twelve perfectly paired G&Ts in the countdown to the Christmas

    Buy now: Fever-Tree Gin & Tonic Advent Calendar, £60, Waitrose 

    Best chocolate advent calendar – Hotel Chocolat

    best advent calendars luxury chocolates

    If you’re going to stick with traditional and buy a chocolate advent calendar, you might as well treat yourself to exquisite chocs! For that there’s Hotel Chocolat.

    This epic double-fronted design is our favourite of all the chocolate offers this year. Whether you’re a couple opening the doors together, a parent and child duo or simply opening alone, having chocolate for breakfast and tea, during December only, it’s a winner. And it’s not just chocolate, so maybe don’t let young kids open it without supervision.

    Hidden behind each window you’ll find a delicious treat. Daily surprises include award-winning Salted Caramel Vodka Liqueur – World’s Best Vodka at the World Liqueur Awards 2019. Along with crackers filled with pecan praline, a meltingly smooth Hazelnut Bûche and Great Taste Award-winning Cocoa Gin. This is THE advent to make every day merry, bright and quite frankly delicious.

    Buy now: The Grand Advent Calendar, £68, Hotel Chocolat

    Best wine advent calendar – Laithwaite’s

    best advent calendar

    Booze and good times go hand-in-hand during the festive period. This advent is a great way to enjoy a tipple in moderation, with each day revealing mini bottles of fine wine behind ‘wine windows’. We’re not suggesting you have to drink a bottle a day, but it’s a nice way to sample and collect new wines and also they make great little gifts to re-gift.

    You’ll also enjoy a new and improved wine line-up, featuring top Sauvignon, delicious Rioja and so much more. And you’re guaranteed to love them – they’ve all earned stamped on ‘Bestseller’ status. And the cherry on top – there’s even a special surprise on the 24th of cracking Champagne!

    With a window opening on a new wine to try each day this is an ideal gift for yourself or a fellow wine lover.

    Buy now: Wine Advent Calendar, £69.99, Laithwaite’s

    Best sweet advent calendar – The Naked Marshmellow Co.

    best advent calendars 2019 marshmellows

    If sitting beside the fire, toasting marshmallows sounds like a little bit of heaven this is the calendar for you. The sell-out gourmet marshmallow calendar is back by popular demand – selling out in Christmas’ past.

    Behind each of the 25 doors, you’ll find a delicious piece of handmade gourmet marshmallow – in a selection of sumptuous flavours. On the reverse of said doors, you’ll discover a festive joke, fun fact or exclusive online discount code! Adding to the fun.

    The Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar features six sumptuous alternating flavours. Those are Salted Caramel; Butterscotch; Gingerbread; Mint Choc Chip; Milk & Cookies and S’mores.

    The door for the 25th reveals a spoon made of finest Belgian milk chocolate – ideal to whip up a delicious real hot chocolate drink.

    Buy now: Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar, £17.50, The Naked Marshmallow Company

    Best budget kids advent calendar – John Lewis & Partners

    This simple advent provides hours of fun for little ones (and some grown-ups, myself included) without all the gimmicks of toys and sweet treats. The 3D fold out tree challenges us to find Wally in the crowd of busy Santa figures as they dress the giant tree. The classic Where’s Wally fun is brought to life each and every day with this fun calendar, with 24 hidden doors – that are almost as hard to find as Wally himself.

    If you’re looking to keep it cost-effective and fuss free this Christmas, this could be the perfect choice for you. It will most certain awaken little brains first thing in the morning.

    Size dimensions: H46  W32.5cm

    Buy now: Where’s Wally 3D Advent Calendar, £10, John Lewis & Partners

    Best family fun advent calendar – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

    best advent calendar 12 family movies

    There’s truly no better way to get in to the spirit of Christmas than with a festive movie. Snuggling up in front of the box with the whole family is a great way to enjoy some downtime too, before the madness of Christmas leaves us all feeling frazzled. A good movie is the best way to keep the kids entertained too, if you need to get a few pre-Christmas jobs done. From 28th October film buffs can snap up this festive film box, offering 12 family movies on digital download.

    Behind every door is an enjoyable family film ready to download and keep on your chosen device to watch time and time again.

    The 12 Family Movies Nights retails for £25 from selected Argos, WHSmith and Tesco stores.

    Best unique advent calendar – B&M


    Be more Beyonce, keep hot sauce in your bag! Come to think of it with 24 doors that’s a lot of hot sauce, so maybe just keep them in a pantry – handy for cooking.

    The Hot Sauce Advent Calendar serves up fiery condiments to spice up the festive season. The advent includes 24 days’ worth of hot sauce sachets, with the spice levels ranging from spicy to extra hot n spicy (not for the faint hearted).

    Each day uncovers a different level of hotness, no one knows which spice is where – it’s luck of the draw which you get. The fiery flavours include; Thai-riffic Chilli Sauce, Hawaiian Lava Flow Chilli Sauce, Egyptian Fire Scarab Chilli Sauce, Death Valley Chilli Sauce, My Outback is Burning Chilli Sauce, Dragons Breathe Chilli Sauce, Indian Tigerblood Chilli Sauce and Thunder Downunder Chilli Sauce.

    Each sachet is a nifty 7g, making them the perfect burger topper – not to mention perfect to keep in your bag.

    In store only: Hot Sauce Advent Calendar, £4.99, B&M

    Best charity beauty advent calendar – Boots

    best advent calendars charity beauty selection from Boots

    Choosing a beauty charity advent calendar is a great all-round win for feel-good vibes. It helps you to give a little back this Christmas, while still enjoying the benefit of the beauty products inside. Every sale of this advent calendar, from Boots, donates £2 to charity.

    Containing 24 hero beauty products from brands such as No7,Liz Earle, Champneys, Botanics and Soap & Glory, the Macmillan beauty calendar is the perfect way to try out some lush new products this Christmas. These are all great brands stocked at Boots too, so if you do try a sample of one and fall in love – it won’t cost you the earth to replace it for future use.

    Stock coming soon: Beauty Advent Calendar in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, £40, Boots

    Best luxury beauty advent calendar – Cult Beauty

    best advent calendar luxury offering from Cult Beauty

    Beauty fans behold…Cult Beauty’s first ever Advent Calendar! The luxury gift’s contents is worth over £680, but it can be yours for far less. That may still sound steep to most but it contains some of the biggest names in the world of beauty. From Jo Loves to Laura Mercier, Ouai Haircare to Virtue all the cult beauty brands are included.

    This is the ultimate gift for the beauty enthusiast, with each of the 25 drawers revealing a new icon-a-day to ensure the recipient dazzles throughout the run up to Christmas. One of the Ideal Home team is in fact holding out for this advent!

    Buy now: Cult Beauty Advent Calendar, £195, Cult Beauty

    Best wooden advent calendar – National Trust

    Christmas advent calendars

    Wooden advent calendars are a popular choice. You can bring them out year after year, filling them with treats of your choice. It allows you to be more imaginative with what’s revealed each day. It could be as simple as a handwritten happy daily mantra or even cracker jokes. If you want to stick with the tradition of chocolate, another great idea is to buy a tin of Quality Street or Heroes and pop them in each day.

    This beautiful design is LED lit to enhance the 3D village scene with a gentle warm glow.

    Size dimensions: H29 W39.5 D7.5cm

    Buy now: Wooden Advent Calendar, £40, National Trust Shop

    Best novelty advent calendar – B&M


    All we’ll say is, once you pop you can’t stop. Until the 12 pops run out of course. Great to provide extra snacks during the festive eating competition, aka Christmas. This novelty advent features 12 different mini Pringle pots

    In store only: Pringle Advent Calendar, £7.99, B&M

    Related: John Lewis says that THIS will make your Christmas tree Instagram-worthy

    We’ll continue to add to this round-up as and when designs reach us. There’s still a long way off yet, so there should be plenty to come.

    Enjoy the countdown, whichever calendar you choose.


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