'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 2021 come in.
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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.
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But guess what? There’s also a novelty advent calendar for every unique personality in 2021: 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 – we’ve tracked down the perfect advent calendar for you.
Shop the best weird advent calendars of 2021
Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar for Two, £60/$78, Whittard
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, £17.29/$29.99, Amazon
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 advent calendar that's new for 2021.
Lovehoney advent calendars, from £60/$75, Lovehoney
Want to keep things hot this Christmas? Sexual wellness brand Lovehoney are wishing you a steamy festive season with FOUR different advent calendars to choose from: 12-day calendars for him or for her, a 24-day calendar for couples, as well as a £60 ($75) lingerie calendar that's also available in plus size.
Joe & Seph's Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar, £19.99/$29.99
Get your Christmas celebrations poppin' with Joe & Seph's Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar. Behind each of the 24 doors is a packet of popcorn in unusual flavours like Orange Chocolate, Gingerbread, Pumpkin Pie and Salted Caramel.
12 Days of Christmasks Advent Calendar, £39/$53.90, Lookfantastic
Can't get enough of beauty advent calendars? Maybe it's time to go more niche! This 'Christmask' advent calendar contains 12 nourishing sheet masks for at-home spa treatments for everything from your face to your feet.
BrewDog 24-beer advent calendar, was £49.95/$89.99, BrewDog
Count down to Christmas with a beer advent calendar! This 24-day treat includes 14 new beers for 2021, 6 new for this Christmas and 4 online exclusives. Last year BrewDog's calendar sold out in November - we recommend you pre-order right away so you don't miss out.
Festive mini mince pie advent calendar, £34.99/$46.50, Selfridges
Mince pies are a quintessential British Christmas tradition - and now you can celebrate with 24 mini-pastries including not just the classic mince pie but also flavours like citrus, almond or chocolate. There's even a mini hand-baked iced Christmas cake for 25th December.
12 Days Chilli Lovers Advent Calendar, £12.99/$24.99, Amazon
And speaking of spicy... you can also spice up your life (or at least your Christmas) with a chilli sauce advent calendar that will heat things up in the 12 days until 25 December. Caliente!
Retro Radio Advent Calendar, £22/$21.24
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.
Glow-in-the-dark Candy Advent Calendar, £20/$24, Harrods
This Harrods advent calendar is filled with treats from candy canes to sherbet pips, but what sets it apart is that it glows in the dark! And if you're more about chocolate than fizzy baubles or white jazzies, the light-up-your-life (and the night) Christmas countdown comes in a £14 ($14) chocolate-only version, too.
Beard Oil Advent Calendar, £30/$35.99
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 this advent calendar dedicated to facial hair. Inside, you'll find 24 2ml glass bottles filled with a different scented beard oil each day, ensuring that his beard will be looking great during the countdown to Christmas.
Harry Potter 12-Day Sock Advent Calendar, £40/$29.99
For the Harry Potter fan who has everything – this sock advent calendar will provide a magical touch to your footwear for the 12 days in the run-up to Christmas.
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Nightmare Before Christmas Funko Pocket Pop! Advent Calendar, £59/$87.94
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.
A Magical Wedgwood Christmas Ornament Advent Calendar, £650/$896, Amara
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, £59.99/$89.99, Sockshop
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.
Harrods Coffee Advent Calendar, £20/$28, Harrods
Have a special cup of coffee every morning the run-up to Christmas! Inside this festive red box you'll find 24 Nespresso compatible coffee capsules contaning six different delicous blends.
Doctor Who TARDIS Advent Calendar, £109.99 / $139.95, Eaglemoss.com
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 gifts. And each surprise comes along with a note detailing the trivia behind it.
Personalised ‘A date a day’ advent calendar, £35/$47.95, Etsy
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*.
The Snaffling Pig Co Pork Crackling Advent Calendar, £16.95/$20
We all have that one person in our lives who would truly appreciate this pork crackling advent calendar with 24 bags of The Snaffling Pig’s most popular flavours of crispy crackling.
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Personalised 'Adventure Awaits' Keepsake Advent Calendar, from £90/$127.59, Not on the High Street
This Christmas we could all use a little positivity and hope for all the adventures we'll have together in 2022. 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.
007 Advent Calendar, £199/$235, Selfridges
Fans of James Bond will be so thrilled to open each of the 12 hand-wrapped gifts – from a shaken-not-stirred martini jig to 007 socks – in this advent calendar which has just been unveiled with the release of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die.
24 Selfies to Christmas Advent Calendar, £45/$63.80, Not on the High Street
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.
The Child / Baby Yoda Advent Calendar, £13.99, Amazon
For those who can't get enough of The Child – a.k.a. Baby Yoda – this advent calendar is for you! This Baby Yoda advent calendar contains 24 days of The Child-themed treats, from keyrings and stationery gifts to jewellery. While it's not available in the US, American readers can shop the candy version.
Personalised Dog Biscuit Advent Calendar, £29.95/$42.46, Not on the High Street
Dog lovers rejoice! Your favourite pup can also enjoy a weird but wonderful advent calendar. This pet countdown includes baked dog biscuits with natural ingredients and a personalised keepsake: a ceramic bone with your dog’s name to decorate your tree. The advent calendar itself is a keepsake too since you can refill it yourself year after year.
Screwdriver tool advent calendar, £53.95/$69.95, Amazon
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 two tool hand-holders for sockets and bits to create a mini-screwdriver kit that fits 17 different screw profiles.
Shop more weird advent calendars - UK
Plant Advent Calendar, £174.95, Selfridges
"The World’s First Plant Advent Calendar" is the perfect Christmas treat for all the green-fingered gardeners out there. This wildly unique calendar comes with Christmas succulents, potted Christmas cacti, fairy lights and more gifts - it's worth over £250! The advent calendar is available in the UK only.
Swizzels Tea Light Scented Candles & Holder Advent Calendar, £34.99, Amazon
Let's say you love sweets... but you also love candles! Get the best of both worlds with this Swizzels Tea Light Advent calendar with a candle holder and tea lights that smell like some of your favourite candy treats.
RELATED: Cheese advent calendars are a major trend and we think they’re brie-lient
Cheese advent calendar, £28.99, Amazon UK
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. In the US, if you're looking for a cheese advent calendar, Aldi's version will be available in-store starting on 3 November.
Gardener Advent Calendar, £36, Not on the High Street
Plant some seeds of positivity and growth with a handmade gardening advent calendar filled with ‘seeds and garden wisdoms for the year ahead’ There are 25 mini pegs and two and a half metres of cotton twine to display 24 envelopes, inside of which you’ll find 18 individual seed packets, with varieties that may include Cornflower, Bluebell and Forget-me-not, along with growing instructions and six fact cards.
Foodspring Fitness Advent Calendar, £54.99, Foodspring
Okay now hear us out – how about getting more fit in the run-up to Christmas? If you want to maintain or support your fitness routine, we have the advent calendar for you. The Foodspring 24-day fitness calendar, valued at over £100 is full of healthy snacks from protein snacks to shakes as well as a skipping rope and Foodspring beanie. This fab healthy advent calendar comes in two versions, regular or vegan.
Yankee Candle advent calendar, Amazon,
Smell your way to Christmas with this Yankee Candle advent calendar! The festive box contains 24 holiday scented tealight candles like Candy Cane Forest and Fruit & Spice Pudding – an unusual countdown AND the perfect way to add a festive ambiance to your home.
Merry Pringles Advent Calendar, £24.99, Amazon
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.
Personalised Spotify Advent Christmas Calendar, £19.99, Prezzybox
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.
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