I love a good advent calendar. I always have.

When I was little, my mom would buy one for my brothers and me to share. I would calculate the order we needed to go in so that I could open the last (and obviously best) door on Christmas Eve. Looking back on it, I am sure none of them cared one bit if they opened December 24, but I always felt like I had pulled off this huge, secret victory.

In the 80s, you didn’t have a huge amount of choices when it came to advent calendars. Your local grocery store or craft shop had a small selection of two-dimensional Christmas scenes with hidden, numbered doors, each leading to a tiny two-dimensional holiday picture.

I always hoped we would get one with enough glitter to be festive but not end up all over our hands and clothes. Yes, the fanciest advent calendars around were the ones with glitter. 

Fast forward 30 plus years: Things have changed in the advent calendar department!

Gone are the days of the simple, two-dimensional paper advent calendar. Those are nearly impossible to find and trust me, I tried when my oldest was teeny. Now you can find an advent calendar to fit every budget and every interest, no matter how obscure.

While I would love to say this is a comprehensive review of every advent calendar available in 2019, that is a nearly impossible task. Instead, I will go through some fun ones from the major categories. While you are shopping for yourself, think about how much fun it would be to send one of these as an early Christmas gift to someone you love!

Alcohol

A few years ago, Aldi offered a wine calendar, and I jumped at the chance to try it. While it did come with 24 small bottles of wine, I was disappointed to find that most were from the same maker and that there were several repeats in the box. Nonetheless, I didn’t waste a drop.

Now you can find calendars for craft brew, Prosecco, gin, whiskey, and more.

Aldi Wine Calendar 2017

Food

How can you go wrong with 24 days of food? There are lots of options in the food category. I bought a cheese advent calendar last year, again from Aldi, and loved it. The only problem was getting that big box in my tiny European fridge. I am the #1 fan of cheese out there so this was the calendar for me. If you love cheese, try this one from Amazon.

However, I realize cheese isn’t for everyone. Luckily, there seems to be a calendar for every type of foodie out there. My kids would love the popcorn calendar. There are calendars for tea and jam. If you are a jam person, Bonne Maman is so good. The Snaffling Pig Co. offers a pork crackling calendar, complete with a description saying that the product is “not suitable for those of a healthy disposition.” To be fair, that description probably belonged to my cheese calendar as well. You can even find 24 days of hot sauce and, one that my husband would love, a cereal calendar. [Warning: It is only the 12 days of cereal, not 24 delicious breakfasts or evening snacks!]

The Snaffling Pig Co. Pork Crackling Advent Calendar

Fancy Chocolate

Somewhat moving on from food is the chocolate category. I consider this to be an obvious choice for a calendar but there are so many to choose from. Basic ones are around $1 apiece. This is what I buy for my kids. Why waste good chocolate on them? Trader Joe’s offers a four-pack online for a few dollars per calendar.

If you are a serious chocolate lover, the options are nearly endless. Godiva has one with adorable packaging. There are a ton of options from Cadbury. As for one of my favorites and straight out of St. Louis, Missouri, Bissinger’s offers their own take on the advent calendar.

Bissinger’s

Beauty Products

This has become a very popular category in recent years. I am sure you have seen the videos of influencers opening beauty advent calendars early in the fall and giving a review. OK, I haven’t seen them either but I have heard that there are tons of videos on YouTube.

The good thing about this category is that you can find ones that are relatively inexpensive and give you the opportunity to try products you wouldn’t normally buy.

Both Ulta and Target have calendars. The Mac from Ulta is more than I would spend but if you are a makeup lover, it could be a great deal. The Body Shop has three levels of its calendar. L’Occitane has what I believe would be my favorite because I just love everything they offer. Don’t forget a beauty advent calendar for your favorite man!

L’Occitane.com

Kids

As I said above, my kids get the $1 chocolate calendars. They would just get the paper calendars if they weren’t so hard to find. However, there are numerous options for every age group and every interest.

For the younger crowd, try the Little People calendar. This comes with 24 figurines that you can use year after year because you know Little People toys will last for 2000 years. PlayMobil has a couple of options as well. We love PlayMobil in our house and like Little People, they last forever as long as you don’t lose the tiny pieces.

For the older children, Lego has several to choose from, including the Lego Friends line and a Lego Star Wars calendar. I found a couple of Harry Potter themed advent calendars. This one is made by Funko. From Hot Wheels to Paw Patrol to Disney, the options for kids are endless.

Lego Advent Calendar

Over The Top

Last but certainly not least is a category that oozes with indulgence and ridiculousness.

Let’s start with Tiffany’s advent calendar. As part of their Very, Very Extraordinary Tiffany Gifts, Tiffany is offering The Ultimate Advent Calendar full of a “diverse selection of 24 must-have Tiffany designs wrapped in Tiffany Blue® and housed in a custom-designed, keepsake replica” of their Fifth Avenue Store. Cost is $112,000 and there are four available, so don’t hesitate in contacting your Tiffany’s concierge.

If jewelry is not your style, Dior has a calendar filled with “24 surprises to immerse yourself in the magical world of Christmas in Dior.” This one is filled with perfumes, soaps, cremes, and candles for $520.

Iconic London department store, Harrods gets in on the indulgent fun as well. This is another calendar full of beauty products. This one is a little over $300 which includes shipping to the US. In case you are concerned about the price, don’t worry: it is “housed in a beautiful navy blue coffret which will serve as a keepsake for years to come.” I will agree with them on that, the box is very pretty.

UK based company, Fortnum & Mason, has the most indulgent calendar for the foodie out there. It is £200 but comes with everything from coffee to cheese to biscuits to gin. While you are on their site, check out their elaborate Christmas hampers. They are gorgeous and perfectly over the top.

I can’t end this article without this one. Love Honey makes The Best Sex of Your Life Couples Sex Toy Advent Calendar. Unfortunately, it has already sold out this year, but sign up for their email list, and I am sure they will let you know when next year’s version is available. There are a couple of other options in this category out there – yes, I did the internet search – so you can probably find one if this is the advent calendar genre for you.

As I said and as this last category shows, there is an advent calendar out there for every interest and budget. No matter what you are interested in or who may be using it, there are plenty of ways to countdown to Christmas. And hopefully, they have glitter, too.

Do you buy an advent calendar? What kind?

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Christy is the co-founder of Military Moms Blog. Originally from St. Louis, Christy moved to San Antonio, Texas, for college. She ended up meeting her Air Force husband there and has been on the move ever since. She has mostly lived in the Central Time Zone but also in Italy and England, and she currently calls the Mississippi Gulf Coast home. Christy has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, specializing in pediatrics, and although she teaches as an adjunct professor, most of her mad behavioral skills are used on her three small children. Christy loves to be active and spends her time running, swimming, and playing with her kids. She is an amateur DIY’er and will attempt any and all projects. She likes to stay up late and get up early, so you may find her running before the sun comes up, Internet shopping at midnight, and enjoying iced coffee in between!