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Let the advent countdown begin!


With the festive season almost upon us, choosing an advent calendar has become just as exciting as unwrapping Christmas presents! Chocolate, toys, beauty and more – here’s our guide to the best of 2021.


For the ultimate pampering treat, Lush’s advent offering (£185) contains 25 vegan products – including four retro items from their past collections and six exclusive pieces – all packaged in a stunning reusable trunk designed by Sally Kelly. For the first time ever, the calendar is available to buy in Lush stores, and it’s also online at https://www.lush.com/uk/en.

ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s body, hair and home calendar retails at £60, but is crammed with premium contents worth over £140 – including soaps, shampoos, candles and a signature Eau de Parfum – in stunning green packaging inspired by the forests of the Isle of Arran. (www.arran.com)

L’Occitane are offering an affordable slice of premium treats with their classic advent calendar (£55), which features beloved hair, body, and skincare products, and there’s also a Luxury (£99) version and, for the eco-conscious, a stunning reusable calendar at £160. Available in store or online at https://uk.loccitane.com/.

Young beauty fans will enjoy the Disney Princess 12 Days of Royal Surprises Bath and Beauty Advent Calendar (£15, www.boots.com) and for even younger Disney fans, Shuffle have brought out a board game advent calendar featuring a new character every day – ending with a game the whole family can enjoy on Christmas Day (£29.99, John Lewis and Amazon)

Invisibobble are offering 24 days of hair accessories including ties, clips, a sprunchie and a wrapstar for £29.99 (www.boots.com and www.invisibobble.co.uk), while younger fashionistas will love Milledeux’s fun new penguin-themed addition to their hair accessory calendar collection (£90, www.milledeux.com ), with the festive clips inside echoing the cheery reusable box they’re housed in.

Know a Harry Potter fan? Just like Dobby, make their day with a sock (well, 12 pairs) and send them the Harry Potter Sock 2021 Advent Calendar (£40, https://lostuniverse.com/) . LEGO also have a ‘Harry Potter’-themed calendar (£24.99), as well as LEGO Friends, ‘Star Wars’, and others, all available at https://www.lego.com/en-gb/search?q=advent%20calendar.

‘Frozen’ fans won’t want to ‘Let It Go’ when it comes to Danilo’s musical advent calendar. Create a festive scene – and then watch the characters move to the music.(£19.99, https://www.danilo.com).

Fuel kids’ imaginations with Schleich’s selection of advent calendars. Create a festive equine playtime with the Horse Club calendar, or for younger ones, there’s Farm World and Wild-themed calendars. They’re all £24.99 and available from Schleich-s.com.

Arts and crafts fans of all ages will love the Merry Mischief Jigsaw Puzzle calendar (£30, Gibsons, Selfridges and Amazon), which has 22 festive shaped puzzles and the remaining doors offer puzzle glue and ribbon so they can all be built to last. And for a more specialist interest, www.iwantoneofthose.com are selling the Franzis Official Porsche Tractor advent calendar (£44.99), where a companion book will guide you through building an historic model with the parts you receive each day.

Marvel fans will love the Pocket Pop advent calendar, featuring a familiar collectable face behind each door. It’s a snip for £45 at https://www.bargainmax.co.uk.

Hero Collector are offering the ultimate advent gifts for dedicated ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Star Trek’ and Beatles fans. With themed packaging and crammed full of gifts including coasters, badges, tea towels and more, they’re more than worth their £110 price tag (Herocollector.com/advent).

For chocolate lovers, there’s no bigger treat than Hotel Chocolat’s Grand Advent calendar (£68) featuring truffles, chocolate slabs, beauty products and even gin. If that’s out of your price range, they’ve got smaller calendars for all tastes, including a vegan nutmilk option, at https://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/christmas/advent-calendars/.

Pierre Marcolini’s Italian ski-resort themed premium calendar will add festive cheer to your room while you tuck into a selection of their iconic chocolates. It’s £49 from https://eu.marcolini.com/en/.

Niederegger’s festive Santa design is built for sharing as there’s more than one treat for every day, and at £35 comes packed with marzipan, truffles, and pralines. Available in John Lewis.

And for an indulgent option that won’t break the bank, Divine’s Fairtrade Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar costs just £5 and features a chocolate heart for every day – and once the festive season is over, it can be reused to make a Christmas decoration. Available from Ocado, Divine Online, Traidcraft, Oxfam and Wholefoods.

Ideal for kids, PLAYin CHOC’s 24 and 12-drawer calendars are sustainable, plastic free and allergen free and not only is there a mini chocolate inside every day, there’s also a fact card and a cute puzzle toy to build. £55 or £27.50 from www.PLAYinCHOC.com

For a non-chocolatey taste of sweetness, try the Retro Sweet advent calendar (£12.99, https://www.iwantoneofthose.com) , which features 24 classic sweets including Tattoo Bubblegum, Love Hearts, Drumstick Lollies, Refresher Chews, Fruit Salads and Black Jacks, or Haribo’s glow-in-the-dark offering (£5), which offers a little bag of treats for every day.

Savoury fans haven’t been left out as they can enjoy Snaffling Pig’s Pork Crackling advent calendar – no explanation needed! – which is currently available for £14.99 at https://www.iwantoneofthose.com.

Who says sweets are just for kids? Smith and Sinclair want you to “eat your drink” with their Naughty or Nice calendar (£45) which features 24 cocktail gummies that taste just like your favourite tipples (www.ChocolatesDirect.co.uk or www.smithandsinclair.co.uk)

But if you’d rather just drink your drink, Virgin Wines have a selection of wine calendars for £89.99 (https://www.virginwines.co.uk/alcohol-advent-calendars) available in red, white, or mixed, with a mini bottle every day in the run up to Christmas and an extra special treat for 25 December. If gin is more your thing, Craft Gin Club are offering The Very Merry Gin Calendar (£99.95) and to guide you through the day’s selection, each mini bottle is accompanied by an exclusive online video from ambassador Phillip Schofield (https://club.craftginclub.co.uk/pages/advent)

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