Everything Advent Calendars: History, Today’s Best Picks, and More
All About Advent Calendars
What is an Advent Calendar and why are they so special?
Here at MSA, we’re pretty wild about advent calendars. Not only do we love a good countdown, but we also think the curations offer a fantastic value, and the concept is great for gifting. But let’s put our giddiness over today’s advent calendar offerings on pause for a moment, and rewind back to the beginning.
Advent Calendars have been around since the 19th century, originating with religious significance as a celebration of the Advent season. Over time the tradition has evolved to be enjoyed by all as a festive countdown to Christmas—or other holidays, like Hanukkah as in the case of these Sugarfina and craft beer calendars. Opening a new door each day to find candy, ornaments, cards, or other small treats inside has long been a way of building holiday excitement for children, but in recent years adults have joined in on the fun, too. Advent Calendars are even gaining popularity for year-round holidays such as Halloween, Mother’s Day, and even birthdays. Anyone who celebrates their full “birthday week” or month will easily understand the “why” behind this concept.
The beauty Advent Calendar concept began in the U.K. in 2014, when Liberty London released an Advent Calendar to coordinate with its beauty hall’s reopening. How did something so specific spread around the world so quickly? The answer: beauty influencers. Now they’re made and sold by hundreds of companies here in the U.S., with price points averaging from $50 to $200.
MSA joined the party in 2016, and this Look Fantastic announcement was one of our first posts about beauty Advent Calendars. Now, there are 170+ Advent Calendar announcements on our site for 2020 alone, and you can count on more being posted through December!
Our 2020 Advent Calendar focus has been on a few of our favorite topics: beauty, alcohol, and cute stuff for kids, but there are so many more options out there in a variety of categories. They come in a wide price range, too, so there’s definitely something out there to fit every budget. On our site alone, we feature everything from the $9.99 HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolates Holiday Advent Calendar, serving up 24 days of bite-size treats, to the $700 Wedgwood Advent Calendar, filled with 24 miniature blue-and-white porcelain ornaments. For those who really want an Advent Calendar experience that wows, Tiffany & Co is selling 4 of their $112,000 Very, Very Extraordinary Gifts Advent Calendar—filled with jewelry and objects in all their silver, gold, and diamond-studded glory, each wrapped in a Tiffany Blue box. (Yeah, we’d like to meet the fancy four who end up with those epic Advent Calendars, too!) Most of the Advent Calendars we feature fall into the $50-$200 price range, putting them right in that sweet spot of justifiable as a gift-to-self and just-as-reasonable as an exciting present for someone you love.
Take a stroll down memory lane with us to see how Advent Calendars have grown on MSA:
Our feed is continually being updated with info about Advent Calendars we think our readers will love, and here are a few of the most unique options we’ve recently found:
The Cost: $99.95
Available on: Available now!
Number of Doors: 10
About: Centered around self-care, this 10-day Advent Calendar offers a different Brazilian crystal paired with a ritual, so that you can explore new means to wellness this season.
The Cost: $28. Available now!
Number of Doors: 12
About: The twelve colored, numbered taper candles in this Advent Calendar set the tone for 12 evenings of quiet—of gratitude, meditation, or just a pleasant ambiance. Each has a burn time of 2 hours, so set a new candle in the single holder each night to bring peace as you herald the holidays.
The Cost: $79.99. Available now! Enter your zip code to see when the earliest arrival for your address might be.
Number of Doors: 25
About: This Advent Calendar features a new flavor of beef and exotic jerky—how’s that for festive snacking? From classic and black pepper to orange habanero and sarsaparilla, these jerkies range from classic to experimental, and all 0.5 oz packages are quality.
The Cost: $199.99. Available now!
Number of Doors: 23
About: Fans of this cult classic will agree that this kitschy resin house, with doors that open to reveal delightfully backlit Christmas scenes, is the perfect blend of “big-ticket score” and “total gag”—for the right person on your shopping list, nothing else will do!
The Cost: $24. Available now!
Number of Doors: 25
About: Papercutting artist Annie Howe has teamed up with Anthropologie to create this gorgeous paper Advent Calendar. Behind each door is a different, intricate papercut image to delight you as you count down to the holiday you’re celebrating.
Do you have your eye on an Advent Calendar? Which one do you like for yourself? Which one do you plan to gift?
Visit our lists of Advent Calendars by category to explore more of what you love: