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Your alternative advent calendar guide for 2020

Move over, chocolate. From gin to jewellery, and options for men and minis, here are the best alternative advent calendars to count down the festive season.

ALCOHOL FOODIE LIFESTYLE MENS KIDS

Looking for beauty advent calendars? Head this way for the best in skincare, makeup and haircare.

ALCOHOL

The Gin to my Tonic Advent Calendar, £49.99

The Gin to my Tonic advent calendar

Locally-produced, boozy and on sale? Sign us up for this 12-day gin advent calendar from Oxfordshire-based The Gin to My Tonic. Pre-order now to get £5 off 12 craft gins in generous 50ml measures and a variety of flavours (expect some festive notes in there). That’s certainly one way to kick off a Christmas morning.

Tiptree Fine English Spirits Advent Calendar, £80

Tiptree Alcohol Advent Calendar

Newsflash: Tiptree doesn’t just do jams! They also put fruit to good use in their delicious range of small batch craft English gins, vodkas, and rums. Pick up this 24-day advent calendar to sample classic tipples such as English Strawberry Gin Liqueur and Tawny Marmalade Vodka Liqueur, as well as holiday additions like Chocolate Mint Vodka Liqueur and Merry Christmas Spiced Rum Liqueur.

Virgin Wines Advent Calendars, £89.99

Virgin Wines Advent Calendar

If your cellar needs stocking up after a long, hard winter, then Virgin’s Wine Calendars could be just the thing you need to see you through to the New Year. You’ll get 24 days of world-class miniature bottles, with a full-sized bottle to crack open on Christmas Day – plus, it comes in red, white or mixed.

The World Whisky Advent Calendar, £149.95

Whisky Advent Calendar

Talk about getting into the festive spirit! Drinks by the Dram have a massive advent calendar offering this year, including various whiskies, gins and rums, but this World Whisky calendar is our top pick for exploring the globe without leaving your sofa.

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FOODIE

Biscuiteers Advent Luxe Biscuit Tin, £58

Biscuiteers Advent Biscuit Tin

If you can’t give up your Advent sweet treats but want to take it to the next level, then you can’t go far wrong with these adorable iced biscuits from Biscuiteers. They come in a festive biscuit tin, but we’re secretly hoping for the return of the cloth calendar with Sophie Conran for that extra Christmassy touch.

Yawn Coffee Advent Calendar, £29.99

Yawn Coffee Advent Calendar

This’ll put a pep in your December mornings! Coffee aficionados will appreciate that the Yawn 2020 Advent Calendar comes in Ground, Whole Bean and Espresso Grind options, with 24 speciality coffees sourced from around the world.

Joe & Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar, £25

Popcorn Advent Calendar

Popcorn might not feel like the most festive of foods, but that’ll all change once you see this whimsical advent calendar from Joe & Seph’s. Not only is the design straight off the front of a Christmas card, but the flavours include Brandy Butter, Gingerbread and Mint Chocolate. Yum.

The Chuckling Cheese Company Advent Calendar, £34.99

Cheese Advent Calendar

If savoury is more your style, then add to your cheese board with this Merry Cheesemas calendar. Expect 24 mini cheddar truckles in eight different flavours, ranging from the traditional (Applesmoked and Caramelised Red Onion) to the unusual (Orange and Whiskey and Christmas Pudding, anyone?).

The Naked Marshmallow Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar, £15

Naked Marshmallow Gourmet Advent Calendar

Cozy up by the fire and toast some of these bad boys for the ultimate hygge vibes. If you’re not blessed with an open fire, then there’s an option to add your own marshmallow toaster for an extra £3.95, so you can best enjoy these 25 gourmet sweets in 12 flavours.

Whittard Tea Advent Calendar, £60

Whittard Tea Advent Calendar

This design from Whittard is so beautiful we almost don’t want to break into it – almost. There are a whopping 94 teabags in here in a variety of different flavours, which means you can try up to four different cuppas a day. Two drawers also feature extra gifts to thoroughly improve your tea-drinking experience. Pinkies out!

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LIFESTYLE

Wedgwood Advent Calendar, £650

Wedgwood advent calendar

Give your Christmas tree a Wedgwood makeover with this splash-out advent calendar. Each of the 24 drawers contains a porcelain tree decoration in the signature blue and white colour scheme, from woodland creatures to miniature versions of Wedgwood’s most iconic pieces.

Yankee Candle Advent Calendar, £39.99

Yankee Candle Advent Calendar

Yankee Candle has not one, but three advent calendars to choose from in 2020. Our favourite is this snowy book calendar, which comes with a sparkling votive holder and 24 votive candles in seasonal scents – just the right size to burn through one a day.

Freedm Street Vegan Advent Calendar, £149

Vegan Advent Calendar

If you’ve been reassessing your carbon footprint in 2020, then this vegan and plastic-free advent calendar from Freedm Street is the perfect way to finish off the year with extra eco cred. Covering everything from beauty products to snacks and lifestyle, this calendar is packed with 17 full-sized, sustainable goodies.

Martha Brook 24 Days of Stationery Advent Calendar, £89

Stationery advent calendar

Not only is this stunning calendar from Martha Brook just the thing for revamping your WFH office, it can even be personalised for the ultimate stationery-lover’s gift. Includes 24 items from personalised notebooks to notecard sets and luxury pens – there’s even a gold envelope opener.

Johnny Loves Rosie Jewellery Advent Calendar, £40

Jewellery advent calendar

Deck yourself out in jewels thanks to Johnny Loves Rosie’s delicate designs. Expect chains, earrings and bracelets with interchangeable charms – this calendar also makes a great gift. 

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MENS

The Snaffling Pig Co Pork Crackling Advent Calendar, £17.50

Snaffling Pig Pork Scratching Advent Calendar

This A3-sized whopper of an advent calendar is practically guaranteed to sell out (it flew off virtual shelves last year), so if your other half is a salty snack fan then ditch the traditional chocolate for this pork scratching advent calendar.

Next Mens Grooming Advent Calendar, £69

Men's Grooming Advent Calendar

Why should women have all the fun when it comes to beauty advent calendars? This grooming calendar from Next includes skincare, bodycare and fragrance from brands such as Elemis, L’Occitane, Hugo Boss and Versace.

Brewdog Beer Advent Calendar, £49.95

Brewdog advent calendar

Craft beer fans could do much worse than finding this boozy advent calendar under their tree this Christmas. This year’s Brewdog edition contains 15 all new beers launched in 2020, 6 online exclusives and two tipples that you can only get your hands on in this advent calendar.

The Bearded Man Beard Oil Advent Calendar, £25

Beard Oil Advent Calendar

If every man you know took lockdown as an opportunity to grow a beard (*raises hand*), then this could make for an ideal gift. Containing 24 mini scented beard oils, this calendar would make St Nick himself happy (and considerably less bristly).

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KIDS

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar, £25

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

Lego are doing a roaring trade in advent calendars this year, with options including Lego Friends, Lego City and Harry Potter. Judging by how popular Disney’s The Mandalorian has been this year, we’re expecting this Star Wars edition to disappear quickly, so best get your hands on it now.

PlayDoh Advent Calendar, £16

PlayDoh advent calendar

Mini Muddies will love this, even if the parents aren’t as keen! It comes with 24 doors, with five colours of PlayDoh as well as stampers and rollers inside. Just try to keep it out of the carpet.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Advent Calendar, £40

Harry Potter advent calendar

Got any young HP fans in your life? This bath and body advent calendar will make them happier faster than you can say ‘Slytherin bath bomb’. Plus, you’ll get Boots points (bonus).

John Lewis City Vehicles Advent Calendar, £25

Car advent calendar

Let their imaginations flourish with this surprisingly stylish model car and accessories advent calendar from good old John Lewis.

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