Best Advent calendars to celebrate the festive season 2023

Time to treat yourself.

Yours advent calendars

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated on

There's nothing better to celebrate the run-up to Christmas than with the best Advent calendar. Pulling out chocolate each day of December has been a tradition for families all over the UK. And it's not stopping 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.

Best Advent calendars at a glance:

• Best chocolate calendar: Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar – view on Boots
• Best beauty calendar: Boots 24 Days of Premium Beauty Treats Calendar – view on Boots
Best luxury calendar: The White Company Advent Calendar - View now on The White Company

Whether you're gifting a chocolate Advent calendar to kids or grandchildren, splashing out on a luxury Advent calendar for yourself or DIY-ing an Advent calendar, we've found the best festive calendars on the market this year. After all - they're not just for the children...

The best Advent calendars UK 2023

Best sweet food Advent calendar

British hamper legends Cartwright & Butler have brought out a delicious advent calendar full of their bestselling treats. The 12 drawers are filled with yummy foods including sweet and savoury biscuits, preserves, hot drinks, and confectionery. Yes, please!

Customer review: "Haven’t started to open it yet but I am sure it will be delicious."

Best wooden reusable Advent calendar

Sometimes you want a more traditional and crafty advent calendar to open at Christmas. This amazing Clever Creations advent calendar is hand-crafted from sturdy, high-quality wood, and includes 24 boxes for you to fill with your own treats. It also features two festive scenes; deer in a forest and a snowy Christmas night.

Customer review: "I bought this as a Christmas keepsake for my daughter... which I know she will enjoy for years. It looks gorgeous unlit but when you flick the switch it’s the most wonderful Christmas centrepiece which gives a magical glow as nighttime falls. I know she’s going to love it."

Best cheese Advent calendar

For any cheese lovers, this is a match made in heaven. Available to pre-order soon, sign up for the waiting list now for this giant advent calendar packed with a whopping 4.2kg of cheese. Featuring 24 individual truckles of artisan Welsh cheese from seven different cheesemakers.

Customer review: "A lovely selection of Welsh cheeses. The box and hamper selections make great gifts for special occasions. Delivery is on time and well packaged. Highly recommended."

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.

Customer review: "Had these for a few years in a row and they are very much looked forward to by my dog, who gets too excited when its time for 'what’s behind today’s door?'"

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 different varieties of Ferrero chocolates. It's bound to make anyone smile - and not just because of the chocolate**.**

Best gin advent calendar

The Premium Pink Gin CalendarThe Bottle Club

This premium pink gin advent calendar is perfect for anyone who loves a tipple. Inside, you'll find twelve delightful pink gins from renowned brands; Whitley Neil, Bombay, and Gordon's to name a few. Each bottle measures 5cl, the perfect amount for a glass at the end of each day.

Customer review: "My wife loves it, it made a perfect surprise for her."

Best sock Advent calendar

Sock shop
Price: £48 (was £59.99)

If you're a sock-lover and enjoy the cosiness of warm feet, this sock advent calendar for couples may be the one for you and your other half. No two pairs are the same and you get 25 pairs of high-quality socks. Behind the first day window, you both get a pair of socks to wear then after that, every day is either “yours” or “mine”, taking turns to open a window and get a pair of socks made from soft, skin-friendly bamboo.

Customer review: "I thought the socks were excellent."

Best Advent calendar for home cooks

Experiment with a world of flavours this December with Just Spices' unique Advent calendar. It's the perfect treat for those who love to cook more than they love to eat. From banana bread seasoning to avocado delight, discover a new spice mix every day.

Customer review: "Great spices and recipe suggestions."

Best Advent calendar for scent lovers

Notorious candle makers, Diptyque really know how to set the ambience. You can bring these gorgeous scents to your home with Diptyque's luxurious Advent calendar. This Parisian gem comes with beautiful scented treats, from candles to balms. You can pre-order and let your home bask in heavenly fragrances this season.

Best beauty Advent calendar

From body lotions to serums, enjoy 24 days of pampering. These L’OCCITANE products include their latest novelties. This advent calendar features their most popular body, hair and skincare products – what’s not to love?

Best non-dairy chocolate Advent calendar

Celebrate the festive season with Nomo's vegan chocolate Advent calendar. Perfect for those seeking a dairy-free delight, it promises chocolaty milky-tasting treats every day without compromising on taste.

Our review: "After being dairy-free for years, this is by far the best milk-free chocolate I've tasted."


What is the Advent calendar tradition?

Advent calendars have been found to date back to the 19th and 20th centuries from German Lutherans. That means they've been around for a pretty 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 25 December to celebrate the season. Most Advent calendars nowadays start from the 1 December, but some traditional calendars start from the first day of Advent, which can range from the 27 of November to the 3 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 instead.

What do Advent calendars go on sale?

While the festive season may seem like forever away, you'll find that some Advent calendars begin to go on sale from the end of August. From this time, those sought-after beauty calendars that are top of everyone's Christmas wishlist will begin to open their waiting lists too.

If you want to be in with a chance of getting those more luxurious options, we'd recommend keeping your eyes peeled throughout September to bag your favourites.

However, if you're in no rush, just make sure to buy yours in advance of 1 December. Usually, as soon as December hits, most Advent calendars go out of stock. You don't want to be left without one!

How do I create my own?

If you're a particularly crafty soul, you may want to make your own Advent calendar to make this Christmas 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.

Chocolate Advent calendars are undoubtedly the most popular; they're affordable and easy to pick up in the local supermarket. Not to mention, always a welcome treat in the run-up to Christmas. You can even find plenty of vegan ones now too.

That being said, there are so many other types of Advent calendars. Perfect for treating yourself or your nearest and dearest. For kids or stationery lovers, you can buy stationery Advent calendars. Beauty Advent calendars are always popular, packed with mini and full-size products that last well beyond the Christmas countdown. And if you want to get your furry friend involved in all the festive fun, you can buy pet Advent calendars filled with treats and toys.

Features & Reviews Editor Emily Gilberthas been a journalist since 2016 and has worked across a variety of specialist and lifestyle brands both in print and online. Specialising in travel content and product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases, her favourite being gadgets for the home.

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