Like many of the popular Christmas practices we engage in today, the tradition of counting down the days until Christmas is of German origin. Prior to the early 1850s, this was simply done by lighting candles or marking walls. By the early 20th century, advent calendars had the small doors that are now known worldwide.
While advent calendars filled with chocolate are both common and fun, there are so many other options worth considering - including cheese, gin and sweets. These days you can get beauty calendars full of lovely scented perfume and lotions in advent calendars for adults, or pieces of railway or lego which you build as you go in advent calendars for kids.
We've picked what we believe are some of the best advent calendars of 2019. This list is full of variety so there's something for everyone. Hopefully you'll enjoy the 24 days before Christmas as much as we will.
Chocolate Advent Calendars
1. Chocolate Advent Calendar for Two
Perfect for couples, or just two best friends, this indulgent advent calendar has two delicious truffles behind every door. Or eat them all yourself. No judgement here.
2. Harrods Truffle Selection Advent Calendar
We absolutely can't wait to indulge in these milk, white, and dark chocolate truffles. They range from salted caramel praline to strawberries and cream and pistachio. Yum.
3. Frostbite Bakery Gourmet Advent Calendar
There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than with advent calendar full of slices of wonderful treats. And, the cakes, biscuits brownies are big enough to share!
4. Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar
What's Christmas without some Cadbury's chocolate? And this is not only delicious but a very affordable way to treat the little ones or big kids in the run up to the big day.
5. Ferrero Kinder Mini Mix Advent Calendar
Kinder chocolate is a favourite with children and big kids alike. Just don't be surprised if you find all the doors opened at once and all the chocolate mysteriously disappeared.
Best Advent Calendars For Kids
6. Advent of Change Children's Advent Calendar
Get the young'uns in the habit of giving back from and early age by getting them a children's advent calendar from Advent of Change. Each day, they'll open a door to find a new charity that the purchase of this calendar has contributed to. Child-friendly language is used throughout.
7. LEGO Harry Potter Advent Calendar with Minifigures
If they're in love with all things magic, then they'll absolutely adore this Harry Potter themed LEGO advent calendar. Models include a micro Hogwarts Express train, buildable fireplace with Christmas decoration, and Great Hall table with accessories.
8. LEGO 60201 City Advent Calendar
Now a Christmas legend, the yearly search for the LEGO advent calendar can be fraught, so get ahead of the game and buy yours now to avoid having to look at disappointed little faces.
9. Meri Meri Railway Advent Calendar
This one is a gift for the whole family as we believe all ages will enjoy this chocolate-free advent calendar. Each day you're given a wooden piece. As the days go by, you'll slowly construct an entire North Pole railway. Fun!
10. Peppa Pig Advent Calendar
Fans of Peppa Pig (so that's all toddlers...) will be delighted to find their favourite characters from the cartoon behind the doors of this advent calendar.
11. Swizzels Matlow Advent Calendar
Refreshers, Drumsticks and Love Hearts; you'll find them all in this fun and purse-friendly calendar. Beware: they may be bouncing off the walls by Christmas day!
12. Playmobil 9264 Advent Calendar Santa's Workshop
How can they fail to start feeling festive when they're building Santa's Workshop with this Playmobil advent calendar? There's a reindeer, a sleigh, elves, toys and of course old Saint Nick himself. The box says it's suitable for ages four to ten but to be honest we think the upper age limit should be scrapped...
Beauty Advent Calendars
13. John Lewis & Partners Beauty Advent Calendar
This has got to be one of the best beauty advent calendars on the market. A new beauty treat each day couldn't be a more perfect gift, with products worth £255. From skincare to make-up must-haves and fragrance favourites, there's something for everyone from brands including Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and Elemis.
14. Penhaligons Advent Calendar 2019
Fragrance lovers will be thrilled with this calendar by Penhaligons. They'll find a selection of mini scent bottles, body & hand washes and lotions, a maduro leaf candle, lip balms and much more. This is one extra special surprise. Eek.
15. Elemis 25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar
This luxurious advent calendar is better than a Christmas gift. Filled with 25 Elemis face and beauty favourites, they'll be excited for each day. There's also a 12 days of Christmas version, for £89 at John Lewis.
16. Clinique 24 Days of Clinique Advent Calendar
This advent calendar is bursting with the brand's skincare, fragrance and make-up must-haves. This is guaranteed to get beauty fanatics into the festive spirit.
17. The Body Shop 'Dream Big This Christmas' Deluxe Advent Calendar
This deluxe advent calendar is made to inspire. Each day you will be gifted with the achievement of brilliant women who made history. As this is a beauty advent calendar, you can expect loads of Body Shop treats in there too, from face masks to shower gel and and bath bombs.
18. Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar 2019
The Amazon beauty advent calendar is here. Let your favourite place to purchase everything and anything also inspire you with some new brands this Christmas. And it's at a steal of a price because if you bought the items in this calendar individually, you'd spend a whopping £220.
Read our guide, for more inspiration on beauty advent calendars.
Alternative Advent Calendars for adults
19. Advent of Change Braille Advent Calendar
This accessible version of an advent calendar is supported by Braille and provided by the Royal National Institute of Blind People. With the purchase of this calendar, you'll be donating to 24 charities and each day you'll learn about one of these organisations.
20. Ilchester Limited Edition Cheese Advent Calendar
For those who prefer cheese to chocolate, popular cheese brand Ilchesters is back and better than ever with this advent calendar. The calendar features 24 cheeses from eight different cheese varieties, as well as cheesy jokes. Merry Cheesemas!
21. That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar
The 24 doors of this advent calendar hide 24 wax-sealed drams. Sure to make the manic period before Christmas a little less stressful.
22. Joe & Seph’s Popcorn Advent Calendar
Ring the changes this year with a tempting advent calendar from posh popcorn makers Joe & Seph. With 24 bags of seasonally flavoured popcorn including salted caramel, toffee apple and cinnamon to indulge in, Christmas really will have come early.
23. Paperchase Stationery Advent Calendar
With pens, pencils, diaries, notepads, a voucher and other essentials hidden in this festive looking calendar, stationery obsessives (hands up, we know you're out there) will think they've died and gone to heaven.
24. The Naked Marshmallow Co Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar
Those with a sweet tooth will love indulging in this marshmallow advent calendar which is filled with gourmet flavours including salted caramel, butterscotch, gingerbread, mint choc chip, milk & cookies and s’mores.
25. Honest Brew Beer Advent Calendar
Fans of real ale will be very excited to open the doors on Honest Brew's advent calendar. They'll find 24 beers and exclusive collaborations with Cloudwater and Northern Monk.
26. Bonne Maman Advent Calendar
While an advent calendar full of preserves is not any obvious choice, this one actually sold out pretty quickly last year. So order yours quickly!
Best Traditional and 'Fill Your Own' Advent Calendars
27. Fortnum & Mason Musical Advent Calendar
This wonderfully designed advent calendar is one you can use for years to come. Fill it with your own treats and each time someone goes to open a door you'll be gifted with a little jingle.
28. Caspari Home for Christmas Advent Calendar
Now this has got us feeling festive. The magic of coming home for Christmas is captured in this gorgeous advent calendar by Caspari. No chocolates, no toys, just a good old fashioned Yuletide.
29. LED Wooden House Advent Calendar
Dark mornings and darker afternoons will be brightened by the glow of LED lights in this wooden design and you'll have as much fun filling the drawers as your children will opening them.
30. Little Cherub Design Spotty Advent Bags And Stickers
A contemporary take on the advent calendar, you can fill these pretty paper bags with whatever you fancy and then string them up around the house.
31. Hide and Seek Textiles Personalised Fabric Advent Calendar
This fabric wall-hanging advent calendar can be personalised with the names of your mini mes and will become part of a tradition they come to cherish.
For more Christmas features and gift guides, see www.telegraph.co.uk/christmas
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