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A photo of the interior of Tiffany & Co.'s advent calendar.
Photograph: Tiffany & Co.

The 12 best advent calendars for 2021

Because 24 gifts are better than one, here are the best advent calendars to buy this year

Written by
Emilee Lindner
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Advent calendars: the gifts that keep on giving. These holiday contraptions, filled with 24 little doors that are pried open each corresponding day leading up to Christmas, date back to the 19th century. Back then, each door revealed an image, poem, Bible verse or piece of the nativity story. What do they offer now? Well, it’s 2021, which means advent calendars dole out all sorts of commercial delights: hot sauce, skincare, Tiffany diamonds and even, ahem, dildos.

Forget your grandma’s milk chocolate-stuffed advent calendar (although, who are we to turn down chocolate?) and opt for something extra this year. These 12 unique advent calendars will make Christmas last all month.

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Best advent calendars for 2021

Perfect for: anyone with a sweet tooth

The wildly popular Bonne Maman advent calendar allows you to spread jam as you spread holiday joy. But don’t wait to get your sticky fingers on these tiny pots of pectin—the calendar sells out every year, and there’s no surprise why. With seasonal flavor (like cherry mixed with Christmas spice or peach with mint), the 24 mini jars (filled with spreads and honey) count down to Christmas one tasty ounce at a time. Oh, and this is also a reminder to add yourself to Bonne Maman’s mailing list so you can prepare yourself for 2022 (no, seriously, it’s really that popular).

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Perfect for: the non-coffee drinker in your family

We think December mornings should look like an Instagram filter: twinkly white landscapes, crackling fires, oversized scarves, and steaming mugs of tea. Thanks to the David’s Tea advent calendar, Christmas cravers can get at least one of those things. Each day, pluck a new flavor from the box and sip your way into a cozy, wintery state of mind. Surprising flavors like peanut butter cup, candy cane crush, and gingerbread blondie are ready-made for December weather.

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Perfect for: whoever’s Christmas tree you’re climbing

Looking to add some spice to your holiday season? No, we’re not talking about nutmeg. Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas just as Santa intended: with sex toys. While we’re fairly certain that Santa’s elves don’t make these types of toys in their workshop, Lovehoney can help you jingle those bells and explore the North Pole. The company has advent calendars for all genders—whether you’re looking for a sexy treat for yourself, your partner, or both of you. After all, it’s the season of giving. Or is it the season of receiving? Depends on what you’re into, we guess!

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Perfect for: the candle hoarder inside all of us

Forget that basic candle you keep regifting to your sister (only to get it right back on your birthday). These little, luxurious wax pods will literally light up your holiday—plus, it’s the best-smelling advent calendar on this list. Fill your home with the scent of Spiced Pumpkin Latte, Apple Blue Clover, Forbidden Fig, and more. Each coconut blend candle burns for 25 hours, so the joy will go well beyond the 12 days of Christmas (a wick trimmer is also included to top it all off).

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Perfect for: the adventurous eater who likes it hot

Any hot sauce connoisseur knows: one bottle of Frank’s Red Hot (although delicious, especially on mac ‘n cheese) just isn’t enough. Hot sauce is like fine wine, each with a unique bouquet that pairs well with certain foods. And that’s what makes this advent calendar such a perfect gift for a saucy sibling or a thrill-seeking pal; the 12 delicious flavors span from sweet to garlicky and just plain hot. There’s a bottle in here for every meal—go wild!

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Perfect for: the fresh-faced holiday traveler

Holiday travel can take a physical toll, and bringing your entire skincare regimen with you isn’t always the easiest task. Enter: the Kiehl’s advent calendar, loaded with 24 items coveted by your dewy-faced cousin or glowy gal pal. Serums, creams, and masks will rehydrate your skin after that flight home, and cleansers can make sure those holiday stress breakouts don’t show up in family photos. And, of course, it includes the most important winter accessory: lip balm, to keep you mistletoe ready. Mwah!

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Perfect for: the budding sommelier

The real star of the holiday season (and all seasons, if we’re being honest) is wine. In Good Taste’s genius wine advent calendar offers the chance to indulge your inner sommelier even if you’re still a wine newbie. Crack open the doors to reveal 24 mini bottles that’ll take your palette through France, Italy, and California with reliable favorites like Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, and Rosé. Plus, you can test out lesser-known varieties while you’re at it. You may even end up with a new favorite wine to bring to your next New Year's Eve party (if you’re feeling generous).

Perfect for: the begrudging early morning riser

Anyone else struggle to get out of bed before remembering that coffee exists? This caffeinated calendar promises at least twelve cozy-and-energized mornings. What lies behind those doors? The twelve flavors are a surprise, but the box promises notes like cranberry and roasted chestnut for that holiday flair. Options include whole bean or freshly ground coffee, depending on your coffee setup, and it’s guaranteed fresh for peak flavor.

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Purrrfect for: the pickiest family member of all...the cat!

Advent calendars aren’t just for humans. Fancy Feast makes one with 24 cans of cat food (including limited edition seasonal flavors) so feline friends can get in on the action, too. Just picture it: your cat eagerly looking up at you, just dying to know what flavor is behind that day’s door. Or maybe your cat will just completely ignore you until they hear the can crack open from wherever they’re napping—could go either way, but it’s still fun for you!

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Perfect for: anyone who considers diamonds their best friend

If you’re really looking to go all out, Tiffany & Co. released perhaps the most expensive advent calendar on the market. The giant four-foot oak cabinet, complete with Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork, contains 24 of their trademark blue boxes. Each box—as well as the gift inside—is completely customized via a private appointment with a Tiffany advisor, so the price varies. It’s like a choose-your-own adventure, but with diamonds. If you have the money, it would definitely be a present remembered for a lifetime.
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Perfect for: the serious choco-holic

If you’re still not sold on an unconventional advent calendar, chocolate is always appreciated. But don’t settle for a disappointing discount set—treat yourself to something schmancy! Godiva’s advent calendar has a delectable confection hidden behind each of the 24 windows. Treats like Midnight Swirl, Milk Caramel Embrace, and Coffee Feather will have your mouth watering with anticipation every single day.

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