It was the most magical time of year, tinged frost on tinted windows. A burrowing chill that made you reach for the nearest blanket, becoming at one with your bed. TV shows flickering on and off, a soothing cup of hot chocolate, that warmed your fingers. The snowflakes would twirl like they were auditioning for a part in The Greatest Dancer. Maybe they had been chatting to the ice skaters that moved with fluidity and grace. Axel jumps, on solid ice, how A longed to be one of them. Yet, the last time she had been ice skating was when she was 8, and look what happened there. Still, she wouldn’t ruin the gloriousness of Christmas cheer, conjuring up her countdown to do list, with glee. A vegan advent calendar, with all the must have beauty favourites. A new Christmas tree emblazoned with metallic baubles, and glitter tinsel.
She smiled, her chesnut brown eyes crinkling at the corners. This year, would be the greatest festive season of them all. She could feel it in her heart. For Santa came but once a year, Rudolph, Dasher, Prancer leading the way. Sleigh bells ringing merrily, the tempting rustle of presents being put under the tree. Friends and family in plushy dressing gowns, their feet in cozy slipper ovens. Yes, A was a lover of Christmas and all that it signified. She could take the snow or leave it. But when it came to celebrating Christmas, that was her version of winter self-care. So what could be more glorious than an advent calendar, treats tucked away in little windows begging to opened?
There were 73 days until Christmas, and December was drawing ever closer. With so much choice, how would she choose the calendar of her dreams? There would be vegan beauty treats imploring you to take a closer look. Eye creams, soft and velvety. Mini face scrubs for a glowing complexion. A golden elixir for shimmery sun-kissed skin. A scented lip balm, a salve to chapped lips. A mini perfume, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly. Then there were the others: the one for the makeup addict, the couples calendar that was deliciously naughty. The sustainable calendar for the eco-conscious, 24 days of toys for curious kids. Alternative calendars that weren’t just chocolate, as nice as that was.
A knew that advent calendars were a great way to countdown to Christmas, while adding holiday cheer to her home. But how could she help her readers find the calendar of their dreams? She nibbled her lip thoughtfully. It came to her, as though she was in a dream. Despite being October, she knew that getting an advent calendar was more difficult than it sounded. They were quick to sell out, and choosing the right advent calendar seemed impossible. And so the list began; she would chronicle the traditional calendars, and the out of the box. The kid-friendly, and the adults only. Whether you had a sweet tooth, was obsessed with tea, or a candle enthusiast, A had all the answers. With a magic puff, the countdown advent calendar guide was complete. From choosing a themed advent calendar, to DIY’ing your own, A was making dreams come true.
And so the story switched from lyrical prose, to educational, a smattering of festive synonyms that cradled the narrative. The tense would change, she would no longer write as though she was in a romanticized version of the present-meets future. Instead, there would be solid advice, based on her own experience of calendar shopping. The how-to’s, and the must-haves. The benefits of calendars in the festive season, and why it was a neccessity. It was shaping up to be a beautiful guide.
What are some of the different types of Advent calendars?
The Traditional Calendar
One of the most popular and well-known Advent calendar designs is the Advent wreath. It was a calendar that A knew well, often seeing it in her Aunty’s home. Next to the shrine of Mary and Joseph in the stables, the calendar was proudly presented. It would be a circular garland of evergreen branches with four candles in the center, representing the four weeks of Advent. And what a sight it was to behold. Even if you weren’t religious like A, you couldn’t help but be affected. Three of the candles would be violet, a liturgical color that would signify a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice. The other? A pink candle symbolizing joy, often nicknamed the “Shepard’s Candle”.
The other traditional calendar was the Advent House. It would be a cardboard or paper house with 24 windows, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas. A was familar with it, a popular design for chocolate calendars, which A would have often. She would alternate between Lindt, Hotel Chocolat, and Ferrero Rocher, with jubilation. It wasn’t just chocolate either. It would typically house sweets, toys, or even some quotes. It was usually family-friendly, and the most spectacular ones were 3D. Dimensional Christmas houses, made from wood, with windows that were home to endless possibilities. While traditional Advent Houses were religious, modern variations meant that there was something for everyone.
Speaking of spectacular, A knew that the arty-crafty people would love to make their own calendar. Whether it was an acts of kindness mantras, a self-care mindfulness calendar, or a drinks calendar, DIY never looked so fun. You had the freedom to choose your own design, and could think outside the box. A DIY wooden calendar in the shape of a Christmas tree, could be filled with sustainable gifts for children, for the planet conscious. Or, if you wanted to try something different, A loved the idea of ‘advent calendar homes’. You would lovingly craft individual numbered homes, and pack them with treats. Perhaps for your loved one, to show them you cared. A selection of personalized goodies, that would make their face light up with a smile.
The creative crafters would fashion the most unique of calendars. A calendar for your furry friend, hung off their version of a cat xmas tree. A mini bottle advent calendar with miniatures that were oh so adorable. One year A created advent calendar boxes, that she would hang up all over her room. In the Christmas tree, in the festive garlands. A stocking filler on Christmas day. A surprise to open with a celebratory meal. The cork popping off the champagne, as one last box was opened. Inside the most special of treats. A personalized mini photo, that was oh so cute.
The Adults Only Calendar
A was getting older, and though she loved traditional calendars, she also loved something different. Having been in a loving relationship for nearly four years, she craved an adult only affair, that would spice up their festive season. She would browse, coming across delicious delights like the Sinful Advent Calendar for sensual seduction and bondage fun. She wanted a calendar that would tease, and tantalize, and she knew her readers would feel the same. After all, relationship or not, sexual health and wellbeing, was always a must. As a proud advocate for sex and body positivity, A couldn’t stress its importance enough. After all, sex-positive advent calendars were mood boosting, increased self-esteem, and could improve sexual activity.
From vibrating and buzzing toys, to sexy accessories like handcuffs, masks, and faux feather dusters, Christmas just got naughtier. Calendars were usually rectangular, and each window had an adult-only treat to enjoy. Whether solo, or couple play, nothing said divinity quite like a sex toy. Granted, adult only calendars weren’t just for doing bits. There were food and drink calendars, hobby calendars, and self-care calendars too. Yet, A saw self-pleasure, and sex, as two important self-care rites that were good for the mind, body and soul.
The Beauty Calendar
Though the soul had been satisfied carnally, the ultimate advent calendar guide wouldn’t be complete without a beauty calendar or two. Skincare that made you feel like you were floating on air. Your cheeks felt velvety smooth, as you slathered lotion on naked skin. It felt like sunshine, creamy textured goodness, that made you radiate from within. There were no shortages of beauty calendars this Christmas, yet finding a vegan, cruelty version was another matter.
Enter A’s magic skills. She researched until her fingers cramped. She had found what she was looking for. Vegan beauty and skincare calendars that encompassed green living, sustainability, and animal welfare. Advent calendars that had makeup, skincare, and beauty must-haves. There was Upcircle Beauty, and their secretive range of eco-friendly vegan skincare, with 12 days of glorious beauty. For the celebrity enthusiasts, the Peace, Love, Florence Advent Calendar was pretty magical. A vegan makeup and skincare hybrid, champagne highlighter on carved cheekbones. De-puffing eye pads for brighter eyes, a charcoal face mask for that glow. As for affordable makeup? Nyx had that covered, with a 12 day beauty advent calendar.
The Foodie Calendar
As a big-time foodie, choosing the right calendar for food enthuiasts was a must. No matter whether you were a vegetarian (like A), a vegan, flexitarian or meat-lover, there was an advent calendar for us all. Of course, there would always be a huge emphasis on chocolate. After all, what could be more Christmassy than unwrapping day one, and finding your favourite chocolate inside? For vegans, H!P never failed to bring out the most delicious oat milk chocolate calendar. For vegetarians, iconic brands like Tony’s Chocolonely, and Cadburys Dairy Milk, were a must. Even kids could get in on the action with Playin Choc, who combined chocolate, toys, puzzles, and a fun facts card.
If you wanted to steer away from chocolate A had some pretty nifty ideas. A vegan or vegetarian cheese calendar, filled to the brim with all your favourite cheeses, as you channelled your inner mouse. A popcorn calendar for a festive movie night from Joe & Sephs. From luxury to affordable, the foodie in your life would have all their hungry dreams come true. As for A? She was at home with a cheese calendar or two, while a mixed variety calendar with snacks, and drinks always did the trick.
The Drink Calendar
A was a massive foodie, that much was true. But for some, their ultimate guilty pleasure was a drink or two. From beer, to wine, right through to cocktails, you could have the bar in your very own home. It goes without saying there would always be an abundance of beer advent calendars. Craft beer was a popular choice, with brands like Bier Company, Beavertown, and Brewdog at the forefront. For those who preferred something lighter, gin, vodka, and rum calendars were always a solid choice.
A personally loved the idea of the Craft Gin Club Advent, with miniature craft gins, alongside a reccomended video with tasting notes and serving suggestions. But what tickled her fancy even more was the Rum’s Revenge-12 Days of Rum. 12 rum samples nestled in a treasure box gift set, intended for sipping neat. Granted, alcohol wasn’t for everyone. A wasn’t someone who drank alot, so suggesting a non-alcoholic calendar like Wise Bartender seemed like an obvious choice. With 24 different 0-0.5% beers, you too could have fun in the holiday season without compromising your beliefs.
The Self-Care Calender
Mindfulness, and self-care was always a huge part of A’s lifestyle. While she hadn’t mastered the concept of slow living, she was heavily invested in the power of self. So what could be more refreshing than a holistic calendar centered around emotional and physical wellbeing? A’s version of self-care may have been different to others, but to her it centered around living well. It was a calendar that reminded you to be good to yourself, and nourish the mind, body, and soul. These were harder to come by, a rarity.
A loved calendars that had positive affirmations and gratitudes, alongside peaceful trinkets like candles, journals, and self-care rituals. Yet finding calendars like this was difficult. They were often centered around beauty, skincare, and food, which were some of her favourite self-care rites. However, it would be nice to see something different. Which is where Esty would always come to save the day. From pamper advent calendars, to a mindfulness family advent box, there was lots to choose from. A was all about self-love, and happiness so appreciated small brands who were taking mindfulness that step further.
What are some of the benefits of using an Advent calendar?
A knew it would take more than just a round up of some of her favourite advent calendars to convince people. Beyond aesthetic value, how would the advent calendar benefit them?
The Gift Of Giving
A loved receiving gifts, but what she enjoyed more was giving back to others. The thrill of seeing someone’s face light up, as they receive the gift of their dreams. So naturally, she collected advent calendars to give to her favourite people. It was in the spirit of Christmas, and she always found its true meaning was in being altruistic. Not just giving back to loved ones, but also to those who needed it most. She would regularly support charities such as Mind and Scruffy’s (a local dog and cat charity), and encouraged others to do the same.
Though there weren’t many charity calendars, advents like Unicef, Advent of Change, and Cancer Research, all give back to people in need. A knew that giving an advent calendar was a huge benefit, because it was an act of kindness. Being more mindful of others, and what they want, was oh so wholesome.
An Advent Calendar was mood-enhancing, and made you feel all warm, and fuzzy inside. A loved how advent calendars had a special treat each day to open. It made waking up in the morning that much more exciting, and gave it purpose. No matter whether you had a foodie calendar, a couples calendar, or a self-care advent, the simple act of opening a window, gave her all the happy feels. After all, you would associate it with joy, childhood nostalgia, and holiday positivity.
You would enter into a happiness circuit, your brain programmed to respond positively to advent calendars. Rarely would you feel disappointed, savouring each day, until Christmas came around. Then when the 25 days were up, you would feel a sense of melancholy. 365 days more, until your advent dreams could transpire once more.
Advent calendars wouldn’t be as popular as they are today without the help of Gerhard Lang from Germany. In the late nineteenth century he conjured up a novel idea. 24 cookies sewn into the lid of a box, allowing him to eat one each day. But in the early twentieth century he recalled the idea, and produced the first printed, and commercial advent calendar. However, there was no chocolate. That wouldn’t come about until 1926. Yet modern chocolate calendars wouldn’t appear until the late 1950’s, when they became popular.
Though many calendars started off as religious, modern variations were varied. A would see everything from Harry Potter, to Marvel, proving that tradition could keep up with the times. There were so many calendars to choose from, A could hardly believe it.
That’s all very well, A heard her readers ask. But any last-minute quick styling tips before she went?
Choose a theme
Advent calendars could be themed around anything from Animals, to gaming, fashion, hair, and even pets. A reccomended picking a theme that you think would look great in your home and run with it.
Incorporate your Advent calendar into your other holiday decorations
A loved adding advent calendars to Christmas trees, as a stocking filler, on mantlepieces, and even in tinsel. If she had a fireplace she would even hang her advent calendar above it. Tieing holiday decorations together, helped create a cohesive look.
Use different colors and textures to add interest
Last but not least. A loved quirky DIY calendars that were colourful. She would suggest using different colours and textures to add interest. For a traditional festive look, red and green always made an impact. Blue and silver was another powerful pairing for a winter wonderland feel. Or if you craved something different, bold brights like neon yellows, acid greens, and vibrant oranges, would make your themed advent calendar the talk of the day. She loved using decorations like ribbons, and bows too, for a whimsical aesthetic.
And so, her job here was done. The advent calenders were pre-empted, and the shoppers were already on their way. A bounty of calendars in their imaginary shopping baskets, filled with all the goodies they could possibly want. Lotions and potions, that did wonders for self-confidence. Sweet treats that sent people into sugary content stupor. A comforting glass of spiced rum, and plentiful cheese. All wrapped up, hidden behind windows, where an infinite number of possibilities awaited.
What Advent Calendar Would You Choose?