'Tis the season for advent calendar shopping (we can't believe it either)! There are those who march to the beat of a different drummer boy – and that’s where these wild, weird and wonderful alternative advent calendars for 2023 come in.
Sure, the most common Christmas calendars are filled with chocolate, although beauty advent calendars are a trending holiday treat and many festive revellers appreciate the literal holiday spirit that comes with advent calendars filled with gin, whisky or beer.
But guess what? There’s also a novelty advent calendar for every unique personality in 2023: spooky advent calendars, music advent calendars, advent calendars for couples, and even if you’re into a certain unique food – crackling pork, cheese, popcorn or even Pringles – I've tracked down the perfect advent calendar for you.
How I picked the best weird advent calendars for 2023
I've been writing about advent calendar shopping for four Christmases now, and you can probably guess that this is the one I love the most – it's hard not to laugh while discovering some of the weirdest advent calendars out there to put this handy list together.
So the considerations for this advent calendar edit are pretty simple:
- The weirder the better. As much as I love beauty advent calendars (I buy one for myself every year), the ones that really keep my attention are those that are unusual and unexpected. Advent calendars are all about a surprise treat a day, and weird advent calendar gifts range from the hilarious to the bizarre.
- Fun factor: Every advent calendar on this list is guaranteed to get a reaction but there's nothing offensive and all of the picks are designed to be taken in good humour.
- Ratings and reviews: As much as I wish I'd been able to open all of these great advent calendars, I'm also relying on verified shoppers' opinions. I've gone through all of the reviews, and the pros and cons, to deterimine which you'll love based on my shopping expertise.
- Trusted brands and retailers: I don't want you to be disappointed when you shop these unusual gifts, so I've only selected advent calendars from names you trust.
- HELLO! readers' favourites: After numerous Christmas seasons studying exactly what our readers actually buy (and love), I've been sure to include past weird advent calendar hits, especially if they've been updated for 2023.
Shop the best weird advent calendars of 2023
So, are you ready for some off-the-wall Christmas surprises? Keep scrolling for my picks...
Ilchester Cheese advent calendar
Say cheese! This foodie-friendly advent calendar features 24 mini cheeses in flavours including Applewood, Ilchester Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries, and Ilchester Wensleydale Cheese and Gingerbread.
Gramophone musical advent calendar
For a musical treat over the festive season, this unusual Gramophone Musical Advent Calendar contains 24 mini vinyl records, each with a different Christmas song, and a mini-record player.
Shocking Science advent calendar
For fans of STEM projects and toys, this shocking science tricks advent calendar will keep you more than entertained in the run-up to Christmas.
'Merry Sewmas' sewing advent calendar,
This original sewing advent calendar, with 24 sewing treats from thread to 'Handmade' labels to fix to your creations, guarantees a crafty Christmas! Plus there's an eco-friendly bonus: the calendar also comes with flower seeds because the packaging, once emptied, can be filled with potting compost to be transformed into a mini flower bed for the spring.
Seed advent calendar for gardeners
If you'd like to start 2024 in a spirit of growth and renewal a seed advent calendar is for you. There are 24 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs inside small paper bags, with natural jute string and 24 wooden clothespins to display the calendar.
Lovehoney sexual wellness advent calendar
Want to keep things hot this Christmas? Sexual wellness brand Lovehoney are wishing you a steamy festive season with two different advent calendars filled with pleasure toys to choose from. The £150 / $199 Womanizer advent calendar (worth £426), or the £100 / $119 Rose advent calendar (worth £208).
Twelve Days Of Woofmas dog biscuit advent calendar
Dog lovers rejoice! Your favourite pup can also enjoy a weird but wonderful advent calendar. This Twelve Days Of Woofmas Biscuit Calendar includes 12 oat sprinkled carob biscuits for your fur baby.
'Christmask' beauty mask advent calendar
Can't get enough of beauty advent calendars? Maybe it's time to go more niche! This 'Christmask' advent calendar, worth £59.40 but priced £39.99, contains 12 nourishing sheet masks for at-home spa treatments for everything from your face to your feet.
Whittard Hot Chocolate advent calendar
Try 12 different hot chocolates from Whittard (milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white) in flavours from Salted Caramel and Sticky Toffee Pudding to Raspberry Ripple, Peanut Butter and Orange. The chic box includes 48 satchets of delicious hot chocolate powder, two per day in the run-up to Christmas, just for you or to share with a fellow chocolate lover.
Friends advent calendar 2023
Friends was one of the biggest TV hits in the '90s and its massive popularity continues today, even with the new generation. A true fan of the classic ensemble comedy will love this brand new 25-treat Friends stationery advent calendar.
Personalised 'Adventure' advent calendar
This Christmas we could all use a little positivity and hope for all the adventures we'll have together in 2024. This personalisable advent calendar does just that with a set of uplifting symbols and words, such as 'Hope' and 'Dream' engraved on 12 different pewter tokens, plus an additional 12 notes with messages such as: "The world is full of magic and wonder just waiting to be explored." An oak display block with the words 'Adventure Awaits' can be added with an additional cost.
24 Selfies to Christmas advent calendar
For the social media star who’s #readyforxmas, this selfie advent calendar is the ultimate Christmas countdown. There are 24 themed daily prompts to snap a Christmas selfie with the help of the contents of the box: a paddle with numbers for each day to hold up for your snap, and fun props from Santa hats to antlers and tinsel. Share your pics on social media each day to show off your Christmas spirit.
BrewDog beer advent calendar
Count down to Christmas with a beer advent calendar! This 24-day treat includes a mix of "stone cold classics, new brews, collaborations and festive one-offs" plus a glass.Last year BrewDog's calendar sold out - we recommend you pre-order right away so you don't miss out.
Retro Radio advent calendar
Dial up the fun with the Haynes Retro Radio Advent Calendar, which will help you build a working FM radio with throwback vibes. There are 24 parts included in the calendar for you to build the gadget one day at a time, meaning you'll have your radio up and running by Christmas Day.
Beard oil advent calendar
The most iconic man of the festive season rocks a beard – we're looking at you, Santa Claus! – and there's no doubt every guy, even Father Christmas, would appreciate
Nightmare Before Christmas Funko advent calendar
This unusual advent calendar filled with popular Funko Pocket Pops with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme is a fab choice for fans of film or Tim Burton – or just anyone who loves both Christmas AND anything scary 365 days a year.
Wedgewood Christmas 2023 advent calendar
This unusual advent calendar will also be a treasured family heirloom to pass down through the generations. Wedgwood has created this Christmas tree ornament advent calendar filled with 25 beautiful porcelain ornaments in signature Wedgwood blue. Inside you'll find such shapes as angels, presents and of course mini versions of iconic porcelain company's most famous creations, from teapots to vases.
25-Day Sock advent calendar
Keep your feet nice and cosy in the run-up to Christmas with a brand new pair of socks every day! Sockshop's 25-pair advent calendar is probably one of the most practical ones around. We love that it's available in men's version, too AND on top of everything, 10% goes to charity, benefitting Emmaus to find homes for men and women who have experienced homelessness.
Dr Who Tardis advent calendar
If you or someone on your gift list is a die-hard Doctor Who fan, check out this cool advent calendar! The Doctor Who Tardis Advent calendar, designed in the shape of the Doctor’s iconic time machine, contains 24 Doctor Who-themed collectibles.
Personalised 'A Date a Day' advent calendar
This unique advent calendar for couples features one date suggestion per day, such as ‘Phones off it’s board game time’ or ‘Dance wherever the music takes you’. Even better, you can personalise it with your names *heart emoji*.
Yankee Candle advent calendar
Smell your way to Christmas with this Yankee Candle advent calendar! The festive box contains 24 holiday scented tealight candles like Tree Farm Festival and Christmas Eve Cocoa – plus glass candle holder. It's an unusual countdown AND the perfect way to add a festive ambiance to your home.
Tool advent calendar
How about a little Xmas DIY? This advent calendar is the perfect buy for someone who is too tool for school – it's an advent calendar with screwdriving tools and accessories for two dozen screw profiles. For the tool savvy, here's what you get: 9x Hex-Plus L-keys in a smart tool rack, 5x blades with handle and 6x micro bits for screwdriving that comes with a matching handle, too.
Personalised Spotify Christmas advent calendar
Nothing sparks Christmas joy more than music – and this personalised Spotify advent calendar lines up the perfect festive soundtrack, a selection based on the most popular Christmas songs ever, for the days running up to 25 December. There's an iconic track behind each door – all you have to do is point your phone or iPad at the calendar to hear an Xmas tune to get you in the holiday mood each day.
Pringles advent calendar
Once you pop, the fun don't stop as they say – and that’s why it’s a good thing that this Pringles advent calendar has 12 days to enjoy! There's a tub of Pringles crisps behind every door in four top flavours.