There's nothing better to celebrate the run-up to Christmas than with a festive advent calendar. Pulling out chocolate each day of December has been a tradition for families all over the UK - and it's not stopping it now!
This tradition which dates back to the 19th century is usually experienced by opening flaps or 'windows' on a tray, revealing a present behind every day of the month up to Christmas eve. You'll usually find chocolate hidden behind these little doors, but nowadays you can get everything from chocolate to cheese and even alcohol in advent calendars!
Whether you're gifting a cheeky chocolate advent calendar to kids or grandchildren, splashing out on a luxury advent calendar for yourself or DIY-ing a crafty advent calendar, we've found the best festive calendars on the market this year. After all - they're not just for the children...
What is the advent calendar tradition?
As we said before, advent calendars have been found to date back to the 19th and 20th century from German Lutherans. That means they've been around for a very long time...
The tradition comes from counting the days literally like a calendar up to the day of Christmas. It's used as anticipation up to the 25th December to celebrate the season. Most advent calendars nowadays start from the 1st December, but some traditional calendars started from the first day of advent, which can range from the 27th of November to the 3rd of December.
In some more classic advent calendars, you can find images, poetry or verses related to advent and Christianity behind the windows of a calendar. Now, though, many advent calendars have little gifts and treats as part of the advent calendar.
The best advent calendars UK 2021
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Cadbury Dairy Milk Chunk Advent Calendar
Best Cadbury advent calendar
Cadbury's chocolate is a classic and this calendar is filled with individually wrapped Dairy Milk Chunks, Caramel Chunks and Whole Nut Dairy Milk Chunks.
Shooting Star Snowy Village 24 Day Advent Calendar by Clever Creations
Best DIY advent calendar
Sometimes you want a more traditional and crafty advent calendar to open at Christmas. This amazing Clever Creations advent calendar is hand-painted and includes 24 boxes for you to fill with your own creative crafts. Super impressive for a DIY family.
Cartwright & Butler Advent Calendar
Best British advent calendar
New for 2021, British hamper legends Cartwright & Butler have brought out a huge advent calendar full of their bestselling treats including biscuits, preserves, hot drinks, cakes and confectionery. Delicious!
Ilchester The Cheese Advent Calendar
Best cheese advent calendar
Featuring 9 different cheese varieties including Red Leicester, Double Gloucester and Cheddar Cheese with Apple, Onion and Sage, this advent calendar from Ilchester is a must for cheese lovers everywhere.
Fortnum's Beauty Advent Calendar 2021
Best luxury advent calendar
Looking to splash out this Christmas? Look no further because this Fortnum's Beauty Advent Calendar is the ultimate luxury advent calendar, with cult beauty favourites worth over £750... For just £225 get the beautiful Christmas you always wanted.
Boux Avenue 12 Days Sock Advent Calendar
Best sock advent calendar
Boux Avenue doesn't just do underwear and lingerie, they also do fantastic cosy socks - and now, wait for it... You can get your hands on their sock advent calendar in time for the festive season. For just £20 there are 12 super soft socks inside this advent to keep those toes toasty.
Advent Calendar with Ferrero Chocolate
Best personalised advent calendar
We love how you can add your favourite photos to the front of this CEWE advent calendar which is filled with three varieties of Ferrero Chocolate. It's bound to make anyone smile - and not just because of the chocolate!
The Premium Pink Gin Advent Calendar
Best gin advent calendar
Available for pre-order ahead of December, this premium pink gin advent calendar is perfect for anyone who loves a tipple. Twelve treats of amazing pink gin.
Mankind 12 Days Advent Calendar
Best advent calendar for men
If you're looking to treat a family man or Dad this Christmas, this Mankind 12 Days advent calendar is full of male care products for any man to indulge themselves in. Worth over £380.
Pukka Herbs Tea Advent Calendar
Best tea advent calendar
Celebrate the 'days of Christmas' with tea instead of chocolate. This Pukka Herbs calendar comes with 24 different delicious organic herbal teas to revive you this festive season. Teas include flavours such as Liquorice & Cinnamon, Three Chamomile and Blackcurrant Beauty.
Montezuma Alternative Chocolate Advent Calendar
Best milk chocolate alternative advent calendar
This Montezuma Alternative Chocolate advent calendar is perfect if you're looking for a vegan, organic option that hasn't been near a cow or milk. Also free from gluten for any of those gluten-free diets out there. Award-winning chocolate for the festive season.
Cath Kidston Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar
Best beauty advent calendar
There are 24 mini beauty treats such as hand creams, body lotions and lip balms in this Cath Kidston advent calendar, enriched with ingredients like shea butter and infused with an assortment of fresh, floral, enticing and delicious, Cath Kidston fragrances.
Essential Oils Lab Christmas Advent Calendar
Best skincare advent calendar
If you're looking to treat your skin this Christmas, grab this Essential Oils Lab Declu00e9or advent calendar with complete full-sized skincare gifts, worth £417.
BeautyPro 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMASK ADVENT CALENDAR
Best face mask advent calendar
Worth £60, the BeautyPro '12 days of Christmask' advent calendar is made for the woman who loves a face mask. With twelve different face masks to indulge yourselves in, perfect for every type of skin.
Tony's Chocolonely Fairtrade Countdown Calendar
Best Fairtrade advent calendar
Tonyu2019s first ever advent calendar features 25 Tiny Tonyu2019s in their popular and classic flavours. Every chocolate is accompanied by a tiny mission to help spread festive joy, but also learn about the bitter truth about the chocolate industry.
Lily's Kitchen Christmas Spectacular Advent Calendar
Best pet advent calendar
Your beloved pet doesn't need to be left out of the fun this Christmas with their very own advent calendar from Lily's Kitchen. Available in both dog and cat advent calendar options, each window of this magical theatre is generously filled with Lily's Kitchen treats.
Sockshop 25 Pair Christmas Advent Calendar
Best sock advent calendar
If you're a sock-lover and enjoy the cosiness of warm feet, this sock advent calendar may be the one for you. No two pairs are the same and you get 25 pairs of high-quality socks. Ultimate Christmas cosiness.
Macmillan 24 Beauty Treasures Advent Calendar
Best charitable advent calendar
We love that £2 from every one of these beauty calendars goes to Macmillan Cancer Support. As well as doing good, you'll also look good too as it includes 24 beauty treats for you to enjoy including Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Sleek MakeUP i-Divine Palette.
Lush Advent Calendar
Best bath time advent calendar
Beautifully presented in a reusable trunk made from 100 per cent recycled materials, the Lush Advent Calendar contains 25 vegan products for you to discover and use every day and night in the lead up to Christmas day.
How do I create my own advent calendar?
If you're a particularly crafty soul, you may want to make your own advent calendar to make Christmas 2021 extra special. We've found this Youtube tutorial below for an advent calendar book that is easily made out of cardboard - a great gift for the festive season.