Advent Calendars

When I was a kid we had this Santa advent calendar. His legs and arms moved when you pulled a string. He had windows with festive pictures behind them, and my brother and I took turn about opening him in the countdown to Christmas.

We used him over and over again, every advent. I don’t remember any others. When we were kids in the 1970s chocolate advent calendars hadn’t been thought of yet by Mr Cadbury or anyone else. We used to make advent calendars at school – giant ones –  everyone drawing a picture that went behind a door. And then someone got to take it home, to use the following year if they wanted. I was that someone in Primary Two. It was a huge tree, if I remember rightly.

Now, of course, a picture advent calendar is the last thing a kid would want, but maybe hipsters are into them? I don’t know. I certainly love them and the beautiful Milano Duomo calendar from John Lewis (£10) is bound to have the loveliest pictures behind each door.

If I was a kid I’d probably want chocolate…or Lego, or Haribo, or a jigsaw, or this amazing Smiggle advent calendar (£25) that has all sorts of stationery goodies in it. I dunno. Would I still be content with just a picture?

I have to say the prospect of a jelly Rudolph is drawing me to the Haribo calendar every time! And my love of stationery as a kid would have made me crave the Smiggle one and all the goodies inside it.

I wrote a piece for the Daily Record a few weeks back on all sorts of advent calendars. From jigsaw, to pork scratchings, candles, to beauty, to toolkits, to booze, to … argh, it’s never-ending!

My brain hurts – but I love them. Why should we not indulge our passions every morning in the run-up to Christmas. My absolute favourite is the Paintbox Yarns advent calendar (£45) I am a crochet addict, and this one has a little ball of wool every morning to add to my stash. Yes, it’s expensive, and yes I was kindly sent mine, but I do love it, and I don’t care if the ball is a wee bit small and what will I really make with it.

If it just gives me a little bit of joy every December morning, what’s wrong with that?

In my main job as a beauty writer, I’ve been inundated with advent calendars. Clinique’s Advent Calendar (£75) is just delightful and if you are a Clinique fan I defy you not to love opening this one with a squeal every morning.

The John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar (£149) is their first venture into this territory and it’s fab. It has a simple design,  the products are great – and a mix of full size and mini – and each one is tailored to the door it sits behind.

“Each window has been carefully selected according to the day of the week, like the This Works pillow spray for the perfect Sunday night sleep, the Bobbi Brown mascara for that Thursday work night out and the Charlotte Tilbury magic cream for Christmas Eve so you wake up looking fabulous on Christmas day,” explains the John Lewis Beauty Buyer.

There are two Airpure calendars, at just £9.99 each, and they contain 24 cute candles to scent the house – cheap, cheerful and fun. The M&S advent calendar has lots of boxes to open and a gorgeous *SPOILER* makeup bag on the 25th. It’s not that expensive this one either – £35 when you spend £35 or more in-store on clothing or home.

But my favourite beauty one of all is from The Body Shop. This gorgeous green box  – the 25 Days of Game-changing Advent-ure Advent Calendar – contains 25 smaller boxes, but not just with a random Body Shop product in them – oh no. This calendar is SO much more. Every box also contains a task for the day – to spread kindness and happiness throughout the advent. I love it.


And that’s not it. Every box also has a trivia question on it. And box 25 holds a dice with shapes on it. Find the numbered box with the same shape as you throw, and answer the question. A Christmas Day game for all the family. The daily products are body, skincare, or makeup, and there are full-size products in there as well as minis. it is £65, but it’s a treat.

I have given my mum the Wentworth Wooden Puzzles Jigsaw Advent Calendar (£25) given to me by the PR  – it will look lovely on her little side table in the living room, and is fun for kids and adults alike.

My husband is over the moon with the Wera Tools Toolkit advent calendar! This beauty has a quality tool hidden behind each of the 24 windows. It’s as brilliant as it is, of course, ridiculous! Available at, £46.

Yes, it’s consumerism gone mad, but sometimes it’s too tiring to fight the world all the time. And I want to open a door on a cardboard box and find a different coloured ball of wool every morning. I am lucky that I can, so I choose to embrace that. Happy adventing everyone!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *