When it comes to counting down the days to Christmas, nothing is more exciting than an Advent calendar. Although the practice of opening a door a day to reveal a festive picture or gift is a relatively modern one, dating back to the 1800s when German Lutherans came up with the idea, today’s Advent calendars are a world away from the traditional offerings.
Beauty, food, Lego, fragrances and the classic chocolate versions are all popular purchases, yielding treats to be eaten, played with or spritzed in the 24 days before Christmas Day.
Here are 12 Advent calendars to suit all styles, pockets, hobbies and tastes:
For fragrance fans
Tailor your scent so you smell different every day leading up to the big one. The box, in signature Jo Malone cream and black, has 24 drawers holding 24 products, including limited-edition items, miniature holiday favourites, exclusive products and a 30ml cologne.
For little scientists
Perfect for the inquisitive budding geologist in the house, the doors of this calendar open up to reveal a variety of different rocks, gems and minerals. It also includes a pouch to store all your finds.
For cheese lovers
The refrigerator aisle of the supermarket isn’t the most likely place to find an Advent calendar, but sat along with the cheddar and Camembert is where you’ll find the Ilchester Cheese Advent Calendar.
Find mini Jarlsberg, Applewood, Mexicana, cheddar, Double Gloucester and Ilchester Wensleydale cheeses, gingerbread and more mini mouthfuls of deliciousness along with, what else, but a cheesy joke behind each door. Just remember to keep it in the fridge.
Dh99.75; www.spinneys.com or available in store
For a calendar that doubles as decor
This Advent calendar is not to be tucked away on the kitchen shelf. Rather, the Tchibo Advent Calendar (in red/teal) is made to take centre stage amid your festive decor.
Twenty-four velvet-feel bags tied with satin ribbons hang from a length of rope waiting to be filled with whatever gifts you choose. Perfect for decorating fireplaces, balconies and balustrades.
Each day, Harry Potter fans will be able to build some of their favourite scenes, from a festive feast in the main hall at Hogwarts to mail delivery at Privet Drive.
Tables laid out with pumpkins, house flags, owls, Christmas trees and a Platform 9 ¾ sign are just a few of the Lego items to be put together. A must for the Harry Potter fan in your life.
For beauty queens
The skincare and make-up experts at Clarins have put together their 24 Days of Beauty Surprises, an online exclusive that will help you countdown to Christmas.
Open a soft pouch of the festive red calendar each day to receive a 4ml Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, a 15ml SOS Hydra Mask, a 50ml Cleansing Milk and a 100ml Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, along with a host of other goodies that’ll keep you moisturised, cleansed and toned for party season.
For sharing your own gifts
If you prefer to put together your own treats, the Lit Gnome Advent Calendar from Pottery Barn is the perfect receptacle.
Decorated with adorable, big-hatted gnomes, just add batteries and the wood and cardboard calendar lights up with tiny fairy lights for an extra touch of magic.
For fidget toy fans
They’re the toys that took over 2021, thanks to their ability to stretch, flip, pop and squelch, not to mention keep your children occupied for hours. And now there’s a whole calendar full of them.
The ToysInn Fidget Toy Advent Calendar boasts fidget spinners, popping sheets, pea poppers and all manner of things for children to pull, flick and swap.
For bathing beauties
If you like nothing better than to lay back, relax and soak in the tub after a long day, the Bubble T Advent Calendar is the one for you.
Budget-friendly and cutely presented in a giant Christmas cracker, open a window a day to reveal an array of bath time goodies, including bubble bath, scrubs, bombs and salts.
For luxury lovers
This year’s Dior Advent Calendar has been designed by artist Alice Shirley, so before you even open the doors, you’re treated to a gloriously festive scene in midnight blue and gold.
Open a door a day in December to reveal a miniature Dior product, including fragrances, lipstick, glosses and a candle.
For a calendar that turns into a toy
You get a two-for-one with the Hape Christmas Barn Advent Calendar.
Open a door a day to reveal a different farmyard toy, and when December 24 rolls around and the last toy is collected, the calendar opens up to become a two-storey barn that children can then put their pieces in to play with.
Gifts include a horse, two figurines, a picnic cloth, rabbit, felt fire and three fences to encourage creative play.
For the person who would love a Porsche
If there’s someone in your life whose been dropping hints about a sports car for Christmas, this advent calendar will fulfil that wish.
The Eight Innovation PAC019 Porsche Advent Calendar opens up each day to reveal a piece of kit to put together your own 911. Plus, there’s also a speaker to create, which features the roar of the classic car's engine, built to the scale of 1:43.