Forget powdery chocolates. These Advent calendars have gifts lurking behind their doors that will delight us for more than a mere moment.

Remember when Advent calendars used to contain a small chocolate to be wolfed down as a pre-breakfast appetizer? Or, perhaps your memory stretches back to before that time, when the countdown to Christmas was marked by tiny tableaux of festive joy revealed behind little doors? You can, of course, still celebrate the season in that way if you so wish (and thank goodness). Yet in recent years, the game has been considerably raised by the growing popularity of ever more lavish gifts, from jewels to wine to beauty products, all lurking tantalisingly behind each miniature portal to festivity. Do note though, they tend to be snapped up fast. These are just a few to get reserving now.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum’s Feasting Advent Calendar, £200

Kick off Christmas in the most delicious way possible with a Fortnum’s feast. Behind the doors you’ll find classic teas, biscuits, chocolates, confectionery, preserves, condiments and festive tipples. A gourmand’s dream. Buy it here.


Annual Edition 2021 Advent Calendar, £580

Who doesn’t fancy kicking off December with a little dazzle? Swarovski’s annual calendar is filled with 25 glittering designs, all exclusive and each designed to adorn the tree and festive tables alike. Buy it here.


Wine Advent Calendar, £69.99

What’s not to adore about this gloriously festive scene? We would delight in it even if it didn’t have quarter bottles of wine behind each door and, the icing on the cake, a half bottle of champagne hiding in the roof for Christmas Eve. Plus, you may even find a ‘winning window’, bagging you six free bottles in time for Christmas. Buy it here.


Dressmaker’s Advent Calendar, £34.99

Do you toy with the idea of dabbling in dressmaking? Dip a toe in the water with this charming calendar; behind each door, you’ll find all the kit the novice seamstress could need, from thimbles to Tailor's chalk. Buy it here.


Advent Deluxe, £89.90

Rituals’ raison d’etre is help its customers to unwind. And, much as we adore Christmas, it does have a habit of throwing up moments that necessitate said unwinding. We love its Alpine scene calendar for its sheer beauty alone – and even more so for the fact that behind each door is a prompt to relax. Heaven. Buy it here.

Bird & Blend

Tea Advent Calendar, £38

Hunkering down with a good cup of tea is highly necessary throughout December. This Bird & Blend calendar facilitates that impulse, while encouraging you to try new teas. There are two bags behind each door, featuring flavours such as Snowball and Hazelnut Rocher. Buy it here.

Borough Box

Gin Lover’s Advent Calendar, £124.99

‘Is it gin o’clock yet?’ That will be the perennial question on our lips throughout December this year, thanks to Borough Box’s collation of 24 artisan gins to try. As they say, ‘Every day of December is going to be bloody delicious. From raspberry and honey, to a navy strength kicker, these aren’t your regular gins.’ Indeed they are not. Buy it here.


007 James Bond, £199

Have you caught No Time Die fever yet? Why not amp up the obsession with this 12 Days of Bond paper-wrapped advent calendar? Smartly presented, behind its doors you’ll find various Bond-themed accoutrements, from a Casino Royale prop chip to ‘the agent’ 007 socks. Buy it here.


Harry Potter Advent Calendar, £45

Have you got a Potter head in the family? Delight them with this wizarding themed calendar, which comes packed full of figures of their favourite characters, from Harry and Dumbledore through to Crookshanks and Mad-Eye Moody. Fun. Buy it here.


LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar, £25

What if your Potter head also happens to be a LEGO nut? The answer is simple: the LEGO Harry Potter calendar. Ideal, plus it has the virtue of keeping them occupied for hours. Buy it here.


Horse Club Calendar, £25

We love a Schleich animal figure. They are, after all, the kinds of toys that tend to be handed down rather than thrown away. This pony-focused calendar is ideal for horse-mad kids. Plus, it’s better for them than chocolate. Buy it here.

Wagg n Bone Man

Doggy Advent Calendar 2021, £49.99

Do you have a pampered pooch? If so, chances are you’ll already be on board with the idea of a canine advent calendar – and why not? We like this one, which comes full of treats for good boys and girls. Buy it here.


Craft Beer Advent Calendar, £49.99

What better way of trying some new beers than with an Advent calendar devoted to showcasing craft ales? We like Brewdog’s example. As they say: ‘This year’s box features 24 different beers which range from vibrant IPAs and Pale Ales to decadent stouts and some amazing collaborations. Inside you’ll discover fourteen new beers for 2021, six new for this Christmas and four online exclusives.’ Be quick; it sold out fast last year. Buy it here.

The Naked Marshmallow

Gourmet Marshmallow Advent, £15.99

For those who have a sweet tooth but want to spice up their Advent with something other than chocolate, look no further than the Naked Marshmallow calendar. No one, but no one, would blame you if you cheated and ate the whole thing in a sitting. Buy it here.


Advent Calendar, £395

Who wouldn’t be thrilled to open a little drawer each day in the run up to Christmas to be rewarded with a heavenly little trinket, courtesy of Missoma? Any giver of this beauty can be assured of many, many brownie points. Buy it here.


A Fragrant Countdown, £375

Step into Christmas in the most fragrant of ways with this gorgeous calendar, which is full of Penhaligon’s classic scents. We adore the retro candy stripe exterior, too. Buy it here.


12 Days of Christmas, £45

Not quite a calendar, but certainly an ode to the countdown to Christmas, Biscuiteers – as usual – presents the most magical way to bite into the season. Buy it here.

Rowen & Wren

Claude Advent Candle Holder, £39

Advent calendars are becoming more and more lavish, year on year. If, however, what you really crave at this time of year is simplicity and a moment to reflect, why not light a candle for each day of Advent, courtesy of Rowen & Wren’s charming design? Buy it here.


Personalised Christmas Advent Decanter, £45

For those who like to round off each day of Advent with a warming nipperkin of something stronger than tea, this decanter is the perfect way of ensuring that you exactly that. Remember to leave a droplet for Santa, when the time comes. Buy it here.

By Nancy Alsop
October 2021

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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.