Advent calendar: our top picks for 2023

Calendrier de l'avent

Ah, the Christmas season with its festive atmosphere and warm lights. The smell of gingerbread in the house and the glittering garlands around the fireplace and the tree. The cupcakes, the Christmas tree and the carols that warm the hearts. Adults and children alike look forward to it. And there is plenty to look forward to. For one family, the whole family is gathered around a beautiful table sharing a lovingly prepared meal. And then there is the opening of the presents. What joy and happiness! But in the meantime, there is the advent calendar, which immerses us in this magical and fairytale atmosphere. Every day there is a new gift to discover. But do you know where the tradition of the advent calendar comes from?

What is Advent?

Advent is a general term for the period of preparation shortly before Christmas. This tradition has its origins in the Christian faith. From the Latin “adventus”, the word means among other things “coming” or “advent”. Advent therefore describes the time during which the faithful work on themselves to welcome and celebrate in faith and peace the coming of Christ into the world. This period also marks the entry into a new liturgical year and is organised in much the same way as Lent before Easter. Furthermore, it encourages every Christian to repent of his or her sins and to change his or her life to please the Lord. Through this conversion, he or she is invited to follow the teachings of Christ, including love, faith, charity and forgiveness.

Today, Advent is not just for Christians, it is for everyone. It means a lot to children because it is the magical season when everyone decorates their living rooms with their families, cooks gourmet food, plays games and shops for the holidays. It’s also a time to treat your loved ones and yourself by buying gifts. The Advent calendar is the perfect gift for the festive season with its many surprises.

What is an advent calendar?

The Advent calendar is a box or set of compartments containing a gift for each day during the four weeks before Christmas. It usually starts between 7 November and 3 December. Thus, the advent calendar usually contains 24 boxes. The concept originated in Germany and was originally intended to keep children waiting for Christmas Day. The tradition originated in the 19th century among Protestant families. Initially, it consisted of offering a pious photo to the children every morning before Christmas. Because it was not possible to obtain more than one picture per day, the advent calendar taught the youngest children the virtue of patience and resistance to temptation.

Over time, the religious significance was lost and the images were gradually replaced by sweets, biscuits, chocolate and toys. Soon, brands created their own advent calendars featuring their products. The covers were decorated with characters from cartoons, films and science fiction series. But from now on, this calendar is no longer reserved for children, as adults, both men and women, are also making it their own. Thus, many markets have seized upon this article to reinvent it in their own way.

What forms can the advent calendar take?

Advent calendars are available on the market in various forms. The boxes sold by the major brands are generally of varying shapes, with drawers or boxes that open and close easily to facilitate the storage of the boxes. The colours and themes given to the boxes depend on the personal visual style of each brand. In the case of handmade creations, manufactured by a third party, the calendar has greater flexibility in terms of shapes and materials. From packages arranged to form a tree to individually arranged surprises, the only limit to design is the imagination. We can create calendars in countless categories: alcoholic beverages, toys, chocolates, sweets, etc.

Why give an advent calendar?

Advent is the perfect time to spread joy and good cheer to those around you. During this time, you can choose to spread the magic of Christmas in advance. You can do this by bringing a smile to your friends and family by giving them gifts. But it is often difficult to choose between all the items on the supermarket shelves. Opting for an advent calendar allows you to give several products in one go, making it the perfect gift for your loved ones. It helps your loved ones to wait for the long-awaited day. And if you know what type of product they like the most, you can give them tailor-made surprises. Whether they like cosmetics or sweets, there is an advent calendar that will delight them. For younger children, calendars featuring their favourite cartoon stars can contain figurines and other toys that are as beautiful as they are entertaining.

Why give yourself an advent calendar?

All year round, we spend our time working non-stop. It is therefore only natural to take advantage of the festive season to relax and enjoy ourselves. Moreover, Advent is not only a time to share joy with others, it is also an opportunity to give joy to oneself. Moreover, the advent calendar can be bought for oneself according to one’s taste and desires. This little treasure makes it possible to start the festivities in advance and to receive gifts as early as 24 days before Christmas. In addition, instead of choosing between several items, the brands offer to let you discover several of their products through a single well-stocked shelf. This technique multiplies the euphoria and the festivities.

How to make your own advent calendar?

Yes, you can also make your own advent calendar for a unique and customised result. Depending on the type and shape of the calendar you want to make, the way you make it can vary. However, before you start your craft and art activities, you should first determine the tastes and needs of the recipient. If the recipient is a child, the content of the calendar will not be the same as that for adults. Once you have the right ideas for your present, you can proceed to make it.

As a first step, you should purchase all the items that will fit into the various compartments, so that you can better plan the size and shape of each compartment. It is important to note that not all compartments, drawers or pockets will be the same size and shape. Some may be wider than others if what they contain takes up more space. Just as some may be small. However, the boxes do not have to be huge either. You should also think beforehand about the shape you want your calendar to have. Whether it is tree-shaped or simply rectangular, the whole process requires special attention.

The materials used will vary depending on the type of calendar you are looking for. However, you will usually need a pair of scissors, glue, tape, cardboard, paper, stickers or other decorative elements. Once you have your tools, you can start creating your advent calendar.

To create an advent calendar in the shape of a Christmas tree, the boxes or drawers should be placed in a pyramid. The drawers can be placed in a cardboard box that is already shaped like a Christmas tree. Pockets made of fabric, cardboard or paper can also be placed on a suitable support to recreate the shape of a Christmas tree.

Many do-it-yourselfers opt for the traditional square or rectangular calendar. In this case, small drawers can be placed inside the cardboard or wooden stand to hold the gifts. Simply open the drawers one by one to discover the surprises inside. An alternative to this option is the house shape. All you have to do is add a roof to give this shape. Moreover, Christmas means spending time with loved ones in the family home. So the house-shaped calendar can give the gift a friendly spirit. Attach flaps that open and close to optimise the use and protection of the products once the calendar is open.

It is also possible to create pockets to hold the gifts and to hang them on the same support or a rod with a thread. Pockets can be made of various materials: fabric, cardboard, paper, etc. Envelopes can be used if the contents are flat and not too bulky. Packages can also be hung on a string with clothes pegs. Both the string and the pegs can be played with in terms of colour, depending on the theme you want to give to the packaging.

One of the most original shapes is the clock-shaped calendar. This option requires a round stand. If this is a box, drawers can be inserted instead of the clock hours. If the circle is flat, the packets are simply joined to the base with glue.

Some people prefer to create 24 independent containers, stack them on top of each other, place them side by side or put them in a bowl so that one can be removed each morning. The advantage of this shape is that you can make the pouches any shape, material and size you like without having to worry about whether they fit in the calendar or not. Embellish each package with stickers, bows, glitter or other decorative elements that recall the Christmas spirit.

How to choose your advent calendar?

The choice of an advent calendar depends mainly on the personal preferences of the buyer, but also on the tastes, age and occupation of those who will receive it as a gift. Although the choice may be based on a crush when you see the box, there are certain criteria that should be taken into account before you go to the cash register.

First of all, the price is a determining factor. It is true that Christmas is a time to treat yourself, but you should not break the bank. This factor also depends on the purchasing power of each individual. Moreover, brands are aware of the diversity of budgets. Therefore, most of them have created several versions of their calendars to make them accessible and to introduce their product ranges to a wider audience. The purchase then relates to what each person is prepared to pay for the calendar of their choice.

Secondly, the content of an advent calendar affects the buyer’s decision. Although the content should come as a surprise, the number of boxes in the article can vary from 12 to 24 and should therefore be indicated to make it easier for consumers to choose. With this indication, customers can determine whether the calendar represents a suitable price-quality ratio for them. Furthermore, it is important to know the product category of the calendar before taking the plunge: chocolate, beer, wine, beauty products, wellness, toys, etc. This way you can plan how much your box will hold.

What are the different types of advent calendars?

The advent calendar is usually defined according to the category of products it contains. Brands, often subscription box specialists, carefully select the items and samples they include in the surprise boxes. In addition, the design of the box depends on the products sold by the company. For example, there are several types of calendars.

Beer advent calendars

Thanks to a special beer advent calendar, discover a different bottle of beer every morning before Christmas. After all, why not enjoy the festivities before the big day? This item is the perfect gift for you or your beer-loving loved ones. Many brands are aware that beer is a must-have for some people and have decided to satisfy their loyal customers. They have therefore created calendars containing 24 boxes of beer in a variety of delicious flavours. The best products are carefully selected to ensure that fans of this fresh and aromatic drink will enjoy themselves. Take a tour of the tastiest beer products according to your preferences, budget and requirements. For a unique and unusual adventure, the beer calendar can be made up of amber, lager, brown, hopped, roasted beers, etc.

The beer calendar has several major advantages. Firstly, the beers are packed in a shock-proof box. This means that the drinks are completely safe. There is no risk of them colliding and breaking. Secondly, the box is specially designed for ease of use. At the top of each beer box there is a round cut-out, which can be opened to remove a bottle. So you can make room in your fridge now to put your discovery box to keep your drink cold.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can make your own beer calendar. To do this, you first need to obtain a cardboard box for this purpose. The beers can then be bought from local breweries or from a craftsman. The beers are placed in the boxes of the box and the box is closed. This option mainly allows you to choose only those beverages that you or the recipient of your gift is sure to enjoy. To make creating your personalised calendar even easier, you can simply wrap the bottles in numbered packages, decorate them and give them away separately.

Wine advent calendars

Wine lovers will certainly appreciate receiving a special wine advent calendar for the holidays. Especially since the drinks come from the best terroirs. The bottles contain various types and textures that will delight the taste buds of both wine novices and wine experts. The box can contain red, white or rosé wine. In terms of texture, we can talk about still and sparkling wine. Then there are also cooked wines which, as their name indicates, require cooking during their preparation, which brings sweetness and lightness. These drinks are often combined with chocolate or cheese to multiply the pleasures. Thus, the wine calendar is not only a most original gift for adults, but also an adventure full of flavours and aromas to make this period unforgettable.

Brands offer boxes that can contain 12 or 24 bottles of wine. The boxes also come in a variety of types and prices to make it easier for consumers to choose. In addition, each wine is accompanied by a sheet describing its origin and the conditions of its production so that you can order or buy the wine if you like it. In addition, this tasting is an effective strategy that the brand can use to encourage the consumer to return to it at a later date.

To create a wine advent calendar, you first need to define your preferences or those of the person to whom you wish to give this beautiful gift. Next, it is essential to select the bottles carefully to avoid disappointment during the festive season. You can also go directly to a famous vineyard in search of exquisite flavours. They will then be inserted in the boxes of a box that you will have chosen beforehand. You can also find prefabricated boxes in any shape or form, but you can also opt for a handmade one. However, in this case, you must ensure that the box is shock-resistant to avoid damaging the bottles. Add numbers or decorations of your choice to embellish your gift.

You also have other advent calendars around strong spirits, such as Rum and Whisky.

Beauty and wellness product calendars

There are now advent calendars specially designed to include cosmetic products. Beauty and wellness brands are constantly looking for ways to innovate their sales strategies. For example, supermarket shelves are flooded with “special cosmetics” advent calendars in the run-up to the holidays. These boxes not only allow brands to introduce and test their products to customers, but also to please them by selecting quality products that are relatively expensive in normal times. Generally, these surprise boxes contain perfume, soap, hair oils, body oils, creams and moisturisers, shower gels, nail polish, shampoos, make-up, make-up accessories, etc. The competition in the sector pushes brands to offer the best products to customers in order to keep their place among the best known.

The design of beauty boxes is becoming more and more innovative, always seeking to attract the attention and the envy of the customers. The shape, the colours, the glitter and every detail convince the consumer that this box will make them happy. In the trade, the calendar is usually presented in the form of a box with drawers, boxes or small cartons containing the surprises.

It is also possible to create an advent calendar full of beauty products for your loved ones to enjoy during the festive season. The first option is to salvage an old advent calendar, provided it is still in good enough condition to be reused. In this case, simply choose the right care products and accessories for the box and the recipient, and place them in the drawers or boxes of the calendar. The second alternative is to create a new calendar by hand. While most of the designs are made from boxes, it is also possible to present the gifts individually in pockets or small boxes.

Cheese advent calendars

Cheese is one of life’s great pleasures. We all have our preferences, and sometimes we can’t bring ourselves to try other varieties than the ones we usually buy. However, trying new kinds of cheese can be an extraordinary adventure. The special cheese advent calendar can help you take the plunge. Not only will you experience products from the world’s best terroirs, but you can share them with friends and family. The box usually contains 24 cheeses of different varieties and origins. It can contain cheeses made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. You can find pressed cooked cheese, soft cheese with a bloomy rind, uncooked pressed cheese, blue cheese, processed cheese or fresh cheese.

The box contains cheeses wrapped in paraffin paper which are vacuum packed. This type of paper ensures that the products keep perfectly well. Numbered from 1 to 24, the cheeses are accompanied by a tasting guide to tell their story and give an overall impression of their flavours. The boxes are tastefully decorated and will make you look forward to opening the next surprise.

Cheese is a guilty pleasure and a real passion for some people. Whether for breakfast with bread, as a snack or for dessert, it is an exceptional foodstuff that can also be combined with many savoury or sweet dishes. If you want to please a cheese lover, you can offer him or her a home-made advent calendar. To do this, it is necessary to sort and choose the best cheeses you can find. Don’t hesitate to visit the local producers to taste their products, you will surely discover some rare gems. Afterwards, wrap the products in wax paper for better conservation. Don’t forget to number each surprise and to indicate its name and origin.

Chocolate calendars

What child doesn’t like to receive a different chocolate every morning before Christmas? Go back to childhood and please your children, nephews and nieces by giving them a “special chocolate” advent calendar. All types of chocolate are included in the calendar: dark, white, milk, coconut, fruit, almond, liqueur, etc. There is something for everyone, young and old. In addition, each chocolate is usually accompanied by a card giving its name and description. The purpose of these references is to make it easier for consumers to buy if they have particularly appreciated the contents of the box.

Chocolate calendars often come in the traditional form of a square or rectangular box with wax paper and 24 pieces of chocolate inside. While many traditional brands choose conventional covers for their product, including images of a Christmas tree or Father Christmas, younger companies are trying to innovate by creating more modern and luxurious boxes. The design is designed to harmonise the package with the content, to enhance both the visual and sensory experience of the customer.

The process for creating homemade calendars is quite simple. You can prepare chocolate pieces with new and personalised flavours. However, you must first buy a mould for this purpose. Then, the melted chocolates mixed with flavours are placed in the moulds and decorated with the fruits or nuts of your choice. This technique allows you to create bespoke pieces that match the taste of the recipient. If you prefer to buy chocolates from chocolatiers, choose the right varieties. And why not try new adventures with new flavours? The chocolates can be placed inside an old calendar, making sure to replace the dates if they are indicated, or in a new box containing wax paper and decorated as you wish.

Tea and coffee calendars

Tea and coffee now have their own dedicated calendars. So you’ll want to take more tea breaks during this time of year. Each box contains different varieties of tea and coffee, each as tasty and flavourful as the next. For tea, you can choose from green tea, black tea, white tea, herbal tea, oolong tea, fruit infusions, etc. As for coffee, you can choose between classic coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lungo, mochaccino, con leche, vanilla coffee, caramel coffee, etc. So, the boxes contain different types of hot drinks to sip on every day with your loved ones without moderation.

The box contains 24 different kinds of tea or coffee surprises. The aesthetics of each tea bag and coffee capsule is a delicious and irresistible invitation. The warm and intoxicating scents of each tea and coffee are a tempting invitation to give in to temptation. In addition, each drink has a description of its flavour and preparation process. The description not only helps to reassure the consumer about the origin of the product, but also accompanies him on his fragrance adventure.

Alternatively, the tea or coffee advent calendar is a gift that you can make at home. If you have loved ones who are as passionate as you are, give them a personalised gift filled with new fragrances. You can create your own teas and infusions by selecting the right herbs and fruits. They will be dried and then placed in artisanal infusion bags. To reduce the number of steps involved in making the calendar, buy several types of tea directly from supermarkets to fill the boxes in your box. Similarly for coffee, choose different varieties of coffee from the supermarket. Number them and then present them in the form of a calendar.

Gastronomy calendars

To satisfy gourmet food lovers at the end of the year, advent calendars on the theme of gastronomy are multiplying. This box will accompany the great gourmets while waiting for the Christmas party. It generally contains small jars or preserves of foie gras, rillettes, fritons, vegetable preserves, fruit jams, terrines, mousses, sauces, peppers, compotes, spreads, biscuits, sweets, oils, honey, etc. Whether you want to discover new flavours with your family or to please a loved one who enjoys culinary adventures, the gastronomy advent calendar is the ideal gift.

Presented in a gourmet-looking box, each content has been carefully prepared to awaken your taste buds with powerful, ambrosial flavours. The presentation of the box and the products may differ depending on the brand. From verrines to tins, sachets, bottles and jars, the principle remains the same and aims at facilitating the use as well as the conservation of each product after opening. Similarly, the layout and nature of the compartments are designed to prevent the verrines from colliding and breaking.

Gourmet advent calendars can also be created at home. In particular, they allow you to choose the contents of the box and not to include certain dishes that are not to the taste of the recipient or to which he or she is allergic. But most of all, they allow you to obtain a completely personalised box. To do this, choose high-quality products and add homemade ones as well. Number each item and place them in a box, making sure they are properly separated. Choose a box that closes tightly to prevent them from falling out, or choose to put them individually in a basket or bowl.

Toy calendars

Christmas is a time for children. It is therefore only natural that they should be the focus of attention during this festive period. In fact, the advent calendar was intended to give presents to children each morning of the month before Christmas. Although the tradition has evolved, the substance remains the same. Many brands of children’s toys have created advent calendars to delight your little ones. However, the boxes are not standardised and their contents can vary depending on the age and gender of the child and their play preferences. Girls, for example, are more likely to like dolls, tea sets and jewellery or make-up kits. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to play with cars or construction sets.

The boxes on the market are decorated with the most beautiful princesses and cartoon heroes. In addition, brands usually choose to give an overview of the contents of the box through the cover of the box. This allows children, but also parents, to decide which calendar to choose.

Although the discovery of the contents of the box each morning should be a surprise for the whole family, some parents prefer to give their children handmade calendars. This is because they want to offer different types of toys to vary the fun. Moreover, this way they can control the contents of the box, as they know best what is suitable for their children’s age and taste. To do this, start by choosing the surprise toys that will make up the contents of the calendar: dolls, toys, figurines, legos, miniature vehicles, robots, etc. Wrap them individually in cardboard boxes or pockets, then put them together in a box. Decorate the box with glitter or stickers.

Naughty and sexy calendars for adults

Who said Advent was just for kids? At least that’s not entirely the case anymore. It’s also a holiday for adults, and since the introduction of naughty calendars for adults, it has become something of a celebration for couples. The boxed set promises a multitude of equally sexy gifts to spice up your evenings on these festive days. Enjoy various bondage accessories, sex toys, lubricating gels, candles, spicy pictures as well as products for the well-being and stimulation of the body. With this sensual kit, you can explore your body in a different way and start new couple experiences every day with a different accessory.

This erotic calendar often comes in a box large enough to hold all the accessories. From the most sober and discreet designs to the most glamorous and sensual, brands adopt different visual strategies to catch the eye of customers. The objects are selected from a wide range of quality to ensure the safety of the users. Some calendars may also include electronic accessories such as massagers. In this case, batteries, chargers and instructions are provided with the equipment.

You can also spice up your relationship by creating your own erotic calendar to please your partner. As always, the choice of accessories is the most crucial step. Indeed, it is best to go to a specialised shop and ask the experts for advice. If you are new to using erotic kits, don’t set the bar too high. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of these toys, don’t be afraid to be bold in your purchases. Pack your surprises for your partner to discover for 24 days… or 24 nights.

Geek calendars

The geek calendar is by far one of the most original. Fans of video games and science fiction films are also entitled to worthy gifts during the advent season. The special geek box is designed in collaboration with leading technology and video game companies. It includes toys and figurines featuring your favourite heroes, accessories for the figurines, robots, legos, miniature spaceships, jewellery inspired by films, practical accessories such as bowls, cups, cards, etc. Every day, discover a surprise to place on your shelf to complete the decoration of your universe.

All the pieces of the calendar are packaged in a cardboard box, fully covered with images of the characters and objects in the box. This playful advent calendar for children and adults contains various items of different types, including kits that may require some assembly work. Therefore, all instructions should be included with the gifts for optimal and safe use.

To create your own advent calendar for a geek in your life, first try to find out what they like in terms of films and video games. Next, find out where you can find the right items in specialist shops. If the recipient is still young, avoid buying toys or accessories that could choke or hurt them. If you are giving it to an adult, then the choice is less limited. Put each toy or hero in the surprise box. You can choose to number them or bring them separately each day if the person lives with you. Fun is guaranteed.

Animal calendars

Why not let your dog or cat enjoy the Christmas festivities? After all, they are an integral part of your family too. So, calendars have been created to cater for your faithful companions. For dogs, the boxes can contain toys, chew bones or even treats. Each treat is different and is mainly made of meat. For example, they can be beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, etc. For cats, the boxes contain meat and fish treats. To keep your pet healthy and safe, the brands have designed and perfected healthy and tasty foods that will delight your pet.

The boxes usually contain 24 surprises. However, each box can contain several treats. This is enough to keep your canine or feline friend happy and patient until Christmas Eve. Although the design of the boxes is not particularly important for the pet, it is important for owners who place great emphasis on the appearance and ease of use of the box. The box should be easy to open so that you can share a special moment with your pet without having to worry about opening the surprises.

If you want to create an advent calendar for your pet yourself, you can prepare the treats in your kitchen. For example, you can prepare beef or chicken skewers, diced meat, cook the skin of the head so that the dog can chew it and clean its teeth. Parts such as the lungs, liver or crest of beef can provide particularly tasty treats. For cats, too, homemade treats provide natural treats that are more suited to their tastes and health. In some of the calendar boxes, toys and accessories can be inserted. Your pets will be even happier to test their gifts with you.