14 Modern Advent Calendars to Ring in the Holiday Season in Style

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One of the best ways to ring in the Christmas season is with an Advent calendar. Created in Germany in the 19th century, Advent calendars not only keep track of the month-long Advent season, which is the formal lead-up to Christmas, but also build anticipation for the holiday.

“People started creating homemade calendars, and by 1903 we have the first commercially produced Advent calendar in Germany,” says historian Jessica Storoschuk of AnHistorianAboutTown.com. “Within a decade, Germany was exporting Advent calendars worldwide, and they became a Christmas mainstay.”

And while Advent calendars started as more traditional time-keeping devices, they soon evolved to include little surprises inside. “German Advent calendars from the later 19th century would often have small pictures in them, and that style of ‘gift’ inside persists well into the 1970s,” says Storoschuk. “We don't see the first Advent calendars with chocolates until the early 1950s, and then it grew to include candy canes and other forms of candy.”

Today, Advent calendars can get a little over-the-top. On the edible side, they’ve evolved from candy to virtually all manner of treats: wine, coffee, and artisanal jams, to name a few. “Chocolate-filled Advent calendars do remain perennially popular, though, especially with children and families!” says Storoschuk.

But a new type of Advent calendar is on the rise: ones filled with luxury products. “In 2010, London department store Selfridges launched its first-ever beauty calendar with L’Oréal filled with luxury goodies from a variety of luxury beauty brands. This was thought to be one of the first modern luxurious versions of the calendar,” says Kristen Gall, Shopping & Retail Expert for Rakuten Rewards. “Every year since, other brands have launched advent calendars of their own, and have also become a more lavish and elevated experience over the years.”

If you’re looking to buy an Advent calendar this year, we’ve rounded up the best ones, from fill-it-yourself calendars that you can customize to your own taste to classic chocolate-laden ones.

Best Overall: Anthropologie Kringle Village Light-Up Advent Calendar

Kringle Village Light-Up Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: No

If you're looking for a classic Advent calendar that you can pass down through the years, look no further than this adorable light-up calendar from Anthropologie. Whimsical and full of tiny details, it features a snowy village scene complete with Santa and his reindeer delivering presents. There are 24 drawers for hiding goodies, and the entire thing lights up to really complete the festive vibe. It's sure to be a focal point of your holiday décor, as well as a hit with everyone who sees it.

Best Budget: M Mingle Wooden Advent Calendar

M Mingle Wooden Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: No

Because many traditional-style Advent calendars are artisan-made, they’re not always the most budget friendly. But the M Mingle Wooden Advent Calendar has that handcrafted look at an affordable price. The calendar is housed inside a hinged white box (great for storage from spring through fall!), which opens to reveal 24 little drawers numbered and decorated in gold patterns.

Above the drawers is a cut-out wintry landscape with a church, reindeer, and even Santa’s sleigh. It doesn't come with any gifts, so you can fill it with whatever strikes your fancy, like candy, chocolate, small toys, and more.

Best Splurge: Terrain Concordville Zinc Advent Calendar

Concordville Zinc Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: No

If you're willing to splurge a bit, consider this hand-crafted Advent calendar made from iron. While traditional Advent calendars are made from wood or paper, this heavy duty iron option is meant to last for many years to come. It features 24 numbered drawers and a village scene at the top—and while it's pretty simple in design, it can easily be dressed up with fake snow and fairy lights. It's on the expensive side, but it's heirloom-quality and is sure to handle many holiday seasons to come.

Best Hanging: Garnet Hill Hats and Mittens Fair Isle Advent Calendar

Garnet Hill Hats and Mittens Fair Isle Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: No

The key is to find an Advent calendar that also serves as standalone holiday décor, which is why Garnet Hill’s Hats and Mittens Fair Isle Advent Calendar is a fantastic option. The calendar itself comprises 24 mini wool mittens and hats, each embroidered with a number then strung together like garland. You can actually hang this right on your Christmas tree or mantel!

But best of all, you can tuck your own gifts inside each, allowing you to tailor your calendar to your gifting taste. Want a chocolate one day and a new nail polish another day? Anything is fair game, so long as it fits. Use it to give treats to your kids, or, if you live with a partner, alternate the days so you surprise each other throughout the month.

Best House: Pottery Barn Rustic Wooden House Advent Calendar

Rustic Wooden House Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 25 | Gifts Included: No

Looking for a traditional-meets-modern house-shaped Advent calendar? This find from Pottery Barn is one of the best options out there. Made of wood and featuring 25 small cubbies, this calendar is meant to take up a whole lot of attention. When it comes to displaying, use the included hardware to hang it on the wall, or place it on a table for easy use. Just take note that it doesn't come with drawers, so you'll have to individually wrap each gift—or just place each one in its cubby the night before so there will be a surprise waiting in the morning.

Best Wine: VINEBOX 12 Nights of Wine

Vinebox 12 Nights of Wine

Number of Days: 12 | Gifts Included: Yes

Riffing on the 12 Days of Christmas (which technically runs from Christmas Day through January 5), Vinebox’s 12 Nights of Wine is an oenophile’s delight. This year’s box, which comes in two different patterns, includes 12 individual glasses of white, rosé, and red wines all produced by female winemakers.

Though your Vinebox advent calendar won’t come with a sommelier to walk you through tasting notes, there’s a handy dandy notebook to provide you with a bit of background info for each wine. Buyer beware: It’s going to be hard to stick to the calendar and only drink one wine per day!

Best Liquor: Flaviar Whiskey Advent Calendar

Flaviar Whisky Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

Any whiskey lover will be thrilled with this out-of-this-world calendar. Each year Flaviar picks 24 different whiskeys stored in 1.7-ounce vials to sip and savor; this year, the theme is “Explore the Whiskyverse” with a fun outer space theme. (Although you won’t find any lunar or Martian whiskeys inside...not yet, anyway.) With your calendar, you'll also get a tasting glass, a coaster, and a booklet of tasting notes synced with online videos which will help further your exploration of all of the different options provided.

If you order the Advent calendar this year, you’ll also be gifted a year-long membership to Flaviar, with benefits including free shipping, online store discounts, exclusive tastings, and access to live events and distillery tours.

Best Tea: David's Tea 24 Days of Tea

24 Days of Tea

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

David's Tea’s 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar might look simple upfront—a folder-like case displays a festive drawing of a Christmas trees. But behind its cut-out doors are an array of 24 incredible teas, making it an ideal sampler for a tea drinker looking to expand their horizons.

Inside you'll find teas of all types, including herbal, green, black, and oolong teas. The majority of the teas have festive names, like Merry Mistletoe, Santa's Secret, and Jingle Bell Chai, although there are some classics (like David's Breakfast Blend) thrown in as well. Just take note that these are all loose leaf teas, so you'll need an infuser to use.

What Editors Say

"I love this Advent calendar! I tend to drink the same teas all the time, so this was a great way to try some new blends. All the teas taste fantastic, and I love that there's enough for two cups."—Nicole Lund, commerce editor

Best Coffee: Yawn Brew 2021 Coffee Advent Calendar

Yawn Brew 2021 Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

With Yawn Coffee’s 24 Christmas Countdown Selection, you get 24 sachets of different coffee blends from around the world, including Indian Monsooned, El Salvador Finca El Ingenio, and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Each comes with 18 grams of coffee, with brewing instructions included so you can make the perfect cup. This year, you can pick from four different grinds: full beans, French press grinds, fine grinds, and espresso grinds.

Best Chocolate: Godiva Holiday Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar

Godiva 2020 Holiday Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

As chocolate has become the go-to Advent calendar treat over the past 30 years, chocolatiers around the world are jumping in on the Christmas tradition. Belgian brand Godiva has put together a box of 24 chocolates ranging from classic medallion shapes to festive Santas and snowmen. Just note that the chocolates aren’t actually numbered, so you can pick which ones you want to eat when—do your best to stick to one a day!

Best Food: Williams Sonoma Chuck's Luxury Advent Calendar

Chuck's Luxury Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

Even if you missed out on Bonne Maman's iconic Advent calendar, you can still get some of the brand's most popular preserves with Williams Sonoma's Chuck's Luxury Advent Calendar. Filled with 24 seasonings, sweets, condiments, and cookware-inspired ornaments, this calendar is a food lover's dream come true. You'll find peppermint bark, olive oil, dijon mustard, and more, as well as three of Bonne Maman's famous preserves, so you're guaranteed a delicious treat every single day.

Best Candy: Sugarfina Advent Calendar

Sugarfina Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

Have a sweet tooth, but for something other than chocolate? Sugarfina has you covered with its candy Advent calendar filled with everything from caramels to sour gummies sourced from makers across Europe. The candies are sealed inside little white boxes designed to look like envelopes—or letters to Santa—which are nestled inside a larger box with a Santa’s Workshop theme. Get one while you can!

Best Candle: Apotheke 12-Piece Advent Calendar

Candle Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 12 | Gifts Included: Yes

Christmas calls for candles galore, whether long, slender candlesticks as part of a centerpiece atop your dinner table, a vignette of pillars upon your mantelpiece, or tea lights in the lanterns on your porch. So why not invest in a candle Advent calendar to round out your Christmas décor?

Apotheke has crafted a candle Advent calendar that includes all their best-selling scents, which you can enjoy all year round. There are 12 mini candles in the kit, including winter scents like Assam Tea, Black Cypress, and Charred Fig. Made of soy wax, these candles are hand-poured in Brooklyn.

Best Beauty: L’Occitane Signature Advent Calendar

L’Occitane Signature Advent Calendar

Number of Days: 24 | Gifts Included: Yes

If you’re a L’Occitane loyalist, you’ll be excited to learn that the French beauty brand has a pretty spectacular Advent calendar for sale. The calendar’s case features a whimsical illustration by French artist Édith Carron, who has drawn a festive holiday market.

Inside are 24 samples of some of L’Occitane’s most popular products, including the limited-edition fan-favorite Shea Butter Honey Harvest Hand Cream. You’ll also find quite a few hair products, including the Lustrous Hair Treatment and the Aromachologie Gentle & Balance Micellar Shampoo. Another favorite item: the Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum. (And one pro tip—you can use these samples for traveling!)

Final Verdict


Our top pick is the Kringle Village Light-Up Advent Calendar (view at Anthropologie), a traditional yet modern fill-it-yourself Advent calendar that is sure to be a hit for years to come. For something a little more budget-friendly, we recommend the M Mingle Wooden Advent Calendar (view at Amazon), a reusable Christmas display with wood drawers that you can fill yourself.

What to Look for in an Advent Calendar

Type

There are two types of Advent calendars: traditional calendars that you fill yourself, and treat-filled calendars that come with little presents for you to enjoy daily. Opt for the former if you’re more interested in the aesthetic of your calendar, and opt for the latter if you’re more interested in the goodies inside.

Reusability

Some advent calendars can be used from year to year, while all of the goods-filled ones are single-use only. If reusability interests you, look for Advent calendars made from more permanent materials like wood or fabric rather than disposable packaging. These have drawers or pockets for filling with your own treats, although there's no surprise element involved.

Filling

If you’ve decided to buy an Advent calendar filled with goods, you need to decide what type of gifts you want, from beauty products to candles to edibles like chocolate, wine, or cheese. The options are endless these days, so consider if you want something short-term (like food) or long-term (like skincare products). Think about who you're buying this for, whether it's your kids, your partner, or yourself, and go from there.

Packaging

Are you all about the surprise factor of Advent calendars? Make sure the one you pick has some sort of packaging that obscures the daily gifts; typically that’s a box with drawers or doors for each day. Some Advent calendars are less about the surprise and more about the products, so they’re not packaged with any secrecy—you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

Why Trust MyDomaine?

This article was written by Stefanie Waldek, a freelance writer specializing in design, home, and travel. For this roundup, Stefanie considered dozens of Advent calendars across all categories, from chocolate to beauty. She evaluated each calendar for the quality of its gifts, its aesthetic appeal, and its price. She also talked to experts about the history of Advent calendars and the best types to look out for.

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