Ah, Advent calendars. We love the sweet tradition they’re rooted in, with families of yore lighting candles one at a time to mark each day in the four weeks running up to Christmas. We cherish our childhood memories of cardboard calendars concealing Santa-shaped chocolates that we begged our moms for at the drugstore.
But in 2021? My goodness, we are obsessed. No matter what you’re into (Scented candles? Jewelry? Ross and Rachel?), you’ll find a calendar to keep you entranced during the countdown to Christmas Day. Even the cat can join in the festivities…er, feastivities.
December is just sooo busy, but that makes it extra important to stop once a day to take a breath and savor a minute of joy. Advent calendars are made for this. But a word to the wise: Grab the ones you want right now. The most coveted sell out fast, and that goes double this year with all the shipping and supply issues going on.
Chocolate and sweets Advent calendars
Godiva Holiday Chocolate Luxury Advent Calendar ($39.95; godiva.com)
Godiva needs no introduction. Raspberry stars. Milk ganache bliss. Dark mint medallions. Enough said.
McCrea’s Caramels Advent Calendar ($38; uncommongoods.com)
Handmade in small batches, the delights nestled in this adorable calendar are far from ordinary. Fun idea: Grab an extra for a long-distance loved one and bond every day of the season via unique flavors like coffee bean, anisette and cinnamon clove.
Bonne Maman Advent Calendar ($34.99; amazon.com)
Elevate December breakfasts with a mini jar of one of Bonne Maman’s iconic jams and honeys. New flavors for this year’s calendar include cherry with hibiscus flower, sweet orange and passion fruit, and raspberry with rose.
Harry & David Chocolate Advent Calendar Duo ($34.99; harryanddavid.com)
For all you traditionalists, these are just like the classic Advent calendar — except with way better chocolate. You get two, perfect if you have two kids or just want one for yourself.
Wooden Advent calendars
Annie Howe Tannenbaum Light-Up Advent Calendar ($88; anthropologie.com)
At the ready to be a treasured heirloom, this light-up wooden Advent calendar has 24 tiny, but impeccably crafted, drawers to fill with whatever wee surprises you dream up. It would look stunning on a fireplace mantle or even as a table centerpiece.
The Holiday Aisle Wooden Christmas Truck Countdown ($42.99; wayfair.com)
Disguised as a jaunty decoration, this old-timey truck has 24 drawers built into it, 12 on each side. Each one is festooned with a classic holiday design. Plus, it lights up to become even more eye-catching.
Mackenzie-Childs Jolly Snowman Advent Calendar ($92; neimanmarcus.com)
Here’s a perfect option if you’re looking for a customizable wooden Advent calendar that your kids can rediscover year after year. We see this frosty fellow presiding over the Christmas morning brunch buffet.
Beauty Advent calendars
Mazzi and Erez Peled Advent Shower Steamer Set ($98; uncommongoods.com)
We finally found the shower-takers’ version of bath bombs! Place a sparkly cube in the corner of your shower to turn your daily wash-down into a spa experience. The beguiling seasonal scents (think fir tree, peppermint and clove) come from high-quality essential oils. Handmade in Texas, the 24 steamers are embedded with gentle exfoliating salts, so they can also serve as fizzy body buffers.
Rituals The Ritual of Advent Countdown to Christmas ($112; amazon.com)
Rituals’ Advent calendars are always standouts due to their striking packaging. This year we have a snowy 3D village. Each ruby red house and evergreen tree encloses a mini candle or bath and body favorite, in scents such as jade vine and rose. You’ll even discover two products not otherwise available in the US: oudh and serendipity shower foams.
Spotlight Oral Care 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Calendar ($190; spotlightoralcare.com)
Who doesn’t want whiter teeth during party season? A dozen tooth whitening and personal care winners will help the lucky recipient of this new Advent calendar countdown to a dazzling Christmas Day smile. Among the loot is a sonic toothbrush, whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, lip masks and a whitening pen.
Kiehl’s Limited Edition Holiday Advent Calendar ($99; kiehls.com)
You know that skincare maven whose bathroom is brimming with Kiehl’s gold standard goodies? Oh…that’s you? Consider your Christmas made. Travel-size cleansers, face masks, moisturizers and more await. For the first time, the calendar is made with 100% recycled paper and zero plastic, so it’s a gift to the environment too.
Friends 15 Days of Socks Advent Calendar ($15; target.com)
How you doin’? Fans of the beloved sitcom will be doing just great, showing off tributes to the best-loved episodes (pivot!) on their feet. And at a buck a pair, no less.
Enfusia 25 Days of Fizzy Bath Treats ($34.99; amazon.com)
Equipping ourselves for a nightly stress-busting soak? We’re here for it. These bath treats are handmade in Texas with natural ingredients and essential oils. And the scents (gingerbread! frankincense and myrrh!) may help you forget your in-laws are staying an extra day this year. The artisans even include a “soothing detox” treat, just in case.
Voluspa Mini Candle Advent Calendar ($75; sephora.com)
This may just be the best-smelling way to pass the time until Christmas. Tucked into this chic calendar are 12 of Voluspa’s bestselling votives. Each embossed candle is imbued with an indulgent fragrance. Will it be Baltic Amber or Panjore Lychee today?
Benefit Cosmetics The More The Merrier Beauty Advent Calendar ($65; urbanoutfitters.com)
Benefit beauties, you know who you are. Your calling card is perfectly primed skin, gorgeous brows and great lashes. Nab all you need in this calendar, stocked with pretty much all the cult faves. You’ll stock up on purse-size Gimme Brow+, 24-Hour Brow Setter, The POREfessional, Roller Lash and others.
Missoma Advent Calendar ($511; missoma.com)
Holy moly! Spoil yourself (or your mom) with 18-karat gold treasures, unveiled one at a time over the 12 days of Christmas. This stunning collection of supremely wearable jewelry is priced at half of what the individual pieces would add up to.
Coffee and tea Advent calendars
Nespresso Advent Calendar ($49.99; amazon.com)
None of us are getting very far at this time of year without a little caffeine. This lovely reusable calendar features organic, fair trade espresso and lungo in assorted flavors. They even sneak a few hot chocolates in there. Each drawer contains two capsules. (You’re probably going to need them both.)
Palais des Thés 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar ($32; uncommongoods.com)
The soothing sachets in this dramatically designed calendar (it’s made in France) will end hectic days on a relaxing note. You’ll be sampling many different varieties, from Chinese black to Scandinavian cranberry elderflower. All you need is a cozy couch throw and festive mug.
Yawn Coffee Advent Calendar (starting at $64.05; etsy.com)
Be bright-eyed faster with a new coffee to discover each morning. You can choose a calendar filled with whole beans, fine grind, French press grind or espresso grind. The craft coffees, roasted and packaged fresh every week, come from all over the globe. Among the unusual brews are medium roast Peru Tapir Andino and a tasty light-medium roast from Myanmar.
Advent calendars for dogs
Purina 24 Days of Treats ($21.99; chewy.com)
Who’s been a very good boy all year? He’ll be feeling the love for sure as he chows down on three yummy treats — Beggin’ Fun Size With Bacon and Cheese, Beggin’ Fun Size Original With Bacon and Busy Bone Minis — throughout the season. The Busy treats have a pork center; the Beggin’ strips are made with real bacon.
Merry & Bright Deck the Howls with Biscuits 25-Day Advent Calendar ($7.99; petsmart.com)
Classic dog biscuits, as well as an extra scrumptious truffle-style treat on Christmas Eve, are stashed in a tree-shaped box. They’ll make perfect, budget-friendly daily rewards for Santapaws’s little helper.
Williams Sonoma Dog Advent Calendar ($50.95; williams-sonoma.com)
If you’re a doting parent of two pooches, this attractive calendar is calling your name. It includes two treats per day, so nobody feels left out. The all-natural chicken- and bacon-flavored soft, heart-shaped nibbles are individually wrapped for freshness.
Advent calendars for cats
Purina Fancy Feast Feastivities Advent Calendar ($24.99; amazon.com)
This veritable breakfast buffet contains 24 full-size cans of Fancy Feast, all protein-rich formulas. They’ll be grazing on gravy-covered turkey, tuna, chicken and beef. Expect daily leg circling.
Feline So Festive with Cat Toys Advent Calendar ($16.99; petsmart.com)
A toy a day keeps holiday mischief away! With any luck, this colorful collection of 25 playthings to bat, swat, roll and nudge will distract them from your Christmas tree and roll of curling ribbon.
Home decor Christmas Advent calendars
Gulnara Kydyrmyshova 25 Days of Christmas Pillow ($48; uncommongoods.com)
This vibrant throw pillow adds holiday cheer to a couch or chair. Move the attached wreath from day to day to count down to Christmas. If you like, add to the ritual by filling each of the pockets with a tiny treat. It’s handmade in Kyrgyzstan of wool felt.
Hearth & Hand With Magnolia Tree Bells Advent Calendar ($36.99; target.com)
As the excitement builds leading up to Christmas, family members can take turns draping a numbered silver bell onto the minimalist wooden frame. This elegant decor piece, designed by Chip and Joanna Gaines, can be trotted out year after year to adorn your space.
Uncommon Goods 25 Days Until Christmas Candle ($22; uncommongoods.com)
This splendidly aromatic orange and cinnamon soy candle represents the pared-down essence of the Advent spirit. Simply cross off the date each night as you reflect on the progression of this special season. Handcrafted in the United Kingdom, the candle will burn — how apropos — for 25 hours.
Rifle Paper Co. Christmas Tree Advent Calendar ($18; riflepaperco.com)
Sweetly pretty, this sturdy gilded tree is made of heavy-duty, glossy cardboard. It will continue to adorn your coffee table or shelf for many Christmases to come. Surprise pictures await discovery behind each flap. There’s a The Night Before Christmas version too. Tip: either makes a nice hostess gift.
Amanda Watson Stitch a Day Advent Embroidery Calendar ($45; uncommongoods.com)
Savor quiet time amid the hubbub of the holidays with this clever, crafty take on an Advent calendar. You can stitch a new design every day. (No worries; they include easy directions for newbies.) The final finished piece will be a merry homespun decoration.
Advent calendars for kids
Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar ($39.99; target.com)
For 24 days, your kid will feel like a Jedi building 11 detailed vehicles, seven posable characters, and other accessories from “Star Wars: The Mandalorian.” The Force will be with your family all season.
Abenow Fidget Advent Calendar ($31.99; amazon.com)
Kids are loving fidget toys. This fun calendar yields 24 of them, including colorful pop-its, spinners and movable cubes to keep little hands busy (while you wrap, host and shop).
Harry Potter: Holiday Magic: The Official Advent Calendar ($20.05, originally $29.99; walmart.com)
Harry and Hermione fans will be agog over this book-style Advent Calendar. It houses 25 keepsakes and activity starters, from buttons and recipe cards to teeny-tiny books and ornaments.
Lovepop Play Nativity Advent Calendar ($39; lovepop.com)
The cute box contains 25 numbered pouches with pieces that, as they’re assembled day by day, teach the story of the birth of Jesus as a playset. The end result can easily be saved to display next year.
L.O.L. Surprise! Outfit of the Day Advent Calendar ($30.99; target.com)
That little fashionista will be giddy over this three-tiered, 25-day calendar. It’s stuffed with tons of options for styling any L.O.L. doll. They’ll find dresses, purses, shoes and more.