gifts they might actually want

An Advent Calendar for Every Type of Person

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

In this article

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can’t wait to open the first door of my Advent calendar. And while I am a chocolate lover, this year I’ve noticed you can buy an Advent calendar filled with just about anything you can think of, from skin-care products to dog treats to itsy-bitsy toys. While tradition dictates that you start using an Advent calendar on the first day of December and return to it each day until December 25, the options below (and their goodies within) would be just as delightful to receive and open all at once. We’ve rounded up options for all kinds of people, from stationary aficionados to serious Lego collectors. Below, we’ve grouped the advent calendars for adults into subsections, but if you’re shopping for a calendar for the little one in your life, you can jump straight to kids. A note: December is almost here, so some of these calendars will fluctuate in stock. As such, I’ve also added a note where you can purchase your calendar on a preorder.

If you’re in need of other gift ideas, check out our roundup of every gift guide we’ve published this holiday season.

Food and drink

For the person with a toast habit

$30

This literally jam-packed Advent calendar from compote king Bonne Maman contains 24 wee jars of jelly and honey to zhuzh up your biscuits and toast all December long. “My family and I will open the calendar on December first. This is our third year in a row doing it — my husband even bakes a loaf of homemade bread for the start,” says Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio. “Once they are empty my kids use the mini jars for all kinds of craft projects. my older daughter also grabs one to put under her pillow any time she loses a tooth, to keep it safe for the tooth fairy.”

For the person who’s serious about their morning joe

Strategist contributor and coffee expert Sal Vaglica tested eight different coffee-subscription brands and made Bean Box his best simple-subscription pick. The company’s Advent calendar curates a similar experience with 12 limited-edition, holiday-inspired blends from roasters all over the U.S. Each sachet is labeled with a gradient scale indicating the intensity level (with a mix of lighter and darker blends in the box), and you can choose between ground coffee or whole beans — you’ll get enough of each blend to make a full pot.

For the person who just wants a classic

Of course, the Advent calendar that most people will spend their December opening is filled with chocolate. This fabulously festive one from Lindt has 24 treats from across the chocolatier’s signature range, from mini bunnies and Father Christmas figures, to chocolate baubles for the tree.

For the person with a Vivino account

For the person who knows their biodynamic reds from their skin-contact oranges, consider one of Vinebox’s advent calendars. They feature either 12 best-selling red or white wines, and sell out every year, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

For the person who loves one for the road

Here’s another mix of white, red, and roses, this time in canned form. The Maker wine advent calendar has 12 days of wine in December, to be decanted and enjoyed at home, or sipped while en route to a fabulous holiday party.

For the grandma who dreams of high tea

British brand Fortnum and Mason’s annual advent calendar contains a mixture of the best-selling teas from their London food hall (like Countess Grey and Moroccan mint), as well as some limited festive blends (including a Christmas green tea and gin-and-tonic tea.)

For the person who you don’t know that well

Walker’s advent calendar has 24 doors with six different varieties of shortbreads, shaped into thoughtful chocolate-chipped stars, buttery hearts, and salted-caramel squares. Perfect for the hardest-to-buy-fors.

For the person who hosts a holiday cookie party

For the baker in your life, this advent calendar has all of the essentials needed to make the perfect Christmas cookies. From a silicone spatula to piping bags to festively shaped cookie cutters, after the final door is opened on December 24, they’ll have everything that they need.

For the person who rewatches Marie Antoinette every year

Ladurée’s advent calendar somehow manages to get “even nicer” each year, says Strategist writer Ambar Pardilla. For 2023, both the calendar itself and the treats inside are luxurious — and you can count down the days until Christmas with caramels, pralines, jams, and special surprises.

For the person who loves to season

Behind each door of this 24-day Advent calendar is a new spice to elevate your cooking, from turmeric and cinnamon powder to Himalayan pink salt and Moringa leaf.

Beauty and jewelry

For the person whose jewelry never goes green

Mignonne Gavigan’s annual advent calendar includes a selection of earrings, charms, necklaces and rings, selected for those whose jewelry box resembles a rather vibrant fruit bowl.

For the person who thinks more is more

There are even more vibrant jewelry options inside this mushroom-bespeckled calendar from Local Eclectic. You get 12 cute-yet-fancy pieces, including necklaces, rings, and a particularly gorgeous pair of earrings. You can then use the calendar as a jewelry box.

[Editor’s note: This calendar is currently sold out.]

For the person who can’t sleep without a satin pillowcase

Evo’s fuss-free, nourishing products are great for hair that needs a little TLC. Inside this 12-day advent calendar are miniatures of the brand’s best-selling shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks as well as some very festive scrunchies and clips.

For the person who you go to for skin-care advice

It’s not cheap, but considering the worth of the items you get inside, the Dr. Barbara Sturm advent calendar is actually a great value. Included in the 24 treats are miniatures of the brand’s serums and creams, as well as its moisturizers and masks (which we’ve covered time and time again).

For the person who likes to match their socks to their underwear

Hands down, Hanky Panky makes our absolute favorite thong. Its advent calendar features 25 of its signature lacy pants in lots and lots of shades. Either gift them around or keep them for yourself (after all, you can never have enough pairs of undies, can you?)

For the person with a curated ear stack

Astrid & Miyu’s delightful Advent calendar contains just about every kind of earring, from huggies and studs to dangly earrings and ear cuffs. Once each door is opened, the gold-plated box acts as a great place for storing your existing jewels.

Pets

For the person who refers to their dog as their fur baby

Fido deserves a seasonal treat too. This calendar has 12 different chew treats, twists, and kabobs for their cute pup to enjoy.

For the person who always has a cat on their lap

This Advent calendar comes with 12 holiday-themed toys filled with catnip and crinkle paper for your kitty to nibble, bat, and pounce on.

Decor

For the person who’d rather FIY (fill it yourself)

This wooden calendar has 24 small boxes that will hold just about any tiny treat that comes to mind, from candy and coins to holiday trinkets and love notes. After the holidays, you can store it away to fill up again next year.

For the grandma who always hangs her Christmas cards

Made from entirely recycled paper, this pop-up advent calendar makes for a charming decoration for the mantel. Behind each door is a new, festive character to perch on the pop-up stand, and it can be reused as a decoration for Christmases to come. 

For the family that can build an Ikea cabinet without arguing

Ikea’s festive DIY advent calendar is easier to put together than a Kallax. Behind each of its 24 doors is a small box to either hide treats inside or display in the countdown to Christmas.

Hobbies and interests

For the amateur rockhound

Discover a new rock or gemstone every day leading up to Christmas with this National Geographic Advent calendar filled with 24 specimens, including black obsidian, blue quartz, jade, and a special “dig brick” that budding gemologists can chip away at to reveal a special crystal. The calendar also comes with five jewelry settings for those who’d like to transform their finds into wearable art.

Kids

For the person who’s a lifelong LEGO fan

$28

LEGO sets don’t have an age limit, and brickheads young and old can enjoy the brand’s widely beloved LEGO City Advent calendar, which features 24 small builds and mini-figs that all come together to create a wintry scene.

For the person who feels the force

LEGO also makes Harry Potter, Guardians of the Galaxy, LEGO Friends Advent calendars to appeal to builders of all stripes, but one particularly popular set is the LEGO Star Wars advent calendar (it sells out each year). Star Wars superfans recommended the set to us as it features exclusive builds not otherwise available in the LEGO Star Wars range.

For the person who’s gotta catch ’em all

If the words Charmander, Pikachu, and Squirtle mean anything to you, you’ll get a kick out of seeing the OG Pokémon dressed in their winter best. This Advent calendar includes 24 palm-size characters and seasonal accessories like sleds and Christmas trees, and the packaging doubles as a snowy backdrop that has lights and sounds to add to the holiday ambience.

For the toddler who cosplays as a mermaid

Refresh their collection of bath toys with this “just-add-water” Advent calendar from Playmobil. Once all 25 doors are opened, they’ll have a new flotilla of boats and marine life to play with in the tub.

For the person who wants to deck out their dollhouse

Recommended by Ali Mierzejewski, editor-in-chief of the Toy Insider, this Advent calendar has the same unboxing appeal as the best-selling 5 Surprise Mini Brands series — but with 24 teeny grocery and household items, including four that are exclusive to the calendar. Mierzejewski says they’re great “to display, trade with friends, and use as props for Barbie and other similar-size dolls.”

For the person whose Harry Potter fandom knows no limits

Funko Pop! figurines are made for collecting, and this magical Advent calendar is filled with 24 mini-versions of highly collectible Harry Potter toys. Perfect for fans who are still waiting for their letter to Hogwarts to arrive, they can display the Pocket Pop! items (with a maximum height of 1.87 inches) on their desk or around their home.

For the kid who’s a Bluey fiend

$24

“This is a great one for instant gratification,” says Trolio, whose kids love Bluey. Behind the 24 doors are miniature figures of the dog himself, as well as his many friends, and some festive decorations.

For the toddler who wants their own tree to decorate

This tree-shaped countdown calendar is a good choice for young kids who love to “help” hang holiday décor. It comes with 24 magnetic ornaments that will cling to the wood-backed tree, plus a bright-yellow star for the top. Not only can they rearrange the display to their heart’s delight, but the calendar is reusable year after year.

For the family that like to take turns

Tonies fabric advent calendar has 24 illustrated pouches that can be filled with little treats, trinkets, and toys. As it’s so highly customisable, it’s a great choice for families that gather round and take turns picking out a surprise on December mornings.

[Editor’s note: This calendar is currently sold out, but you can join the wait list by entering your email.]

For the tween starting their own collection …

If your tween is always rummaging around in your jewelry box, this advent calendar is a great way to gift them some treasures of their own. It has 12 days of rings and studs. And they can all be kept safe in the golden jewelry box that the calendar doubles as.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

An Advent Calendar for Every Type of Person