A good advent calendar can spark a little Christmas spirit in even the biggest grinches. This year there are so many creative and fun calendars to choose from that getting a standard chocolate one seems like a wasted opportunity. Whether you’re into Harry Potter or Star Wars lego, batch-roasted coffee or just a pretty picture that opens every day, there’s an alternative advent calendar out there for you.
Here is our pick of the best non-chocolate advent calendars for 2022.
Best non-chocolate advent calendars 2022
Snowtime White Wooden LED Light Up Christmas Xmas Advent Calendar Scene
Bring an extra touch of class to your mantelpiece or tabletop this December with this hand-painted set of advent drawers, topped with a wooden cut-out of a festive village scene. The LED lights bring a magical feel to the church and carol singers, while the unimposing little white drawers can be filled with your choice of treat – perhaps a wildlife-themed pin, a miniature hand cream, or a cheeky chocolate after all? It’s reusable of course, so you can feel good about refilling it year after year, and surprising the recipients anew.
Roger la Borde Christmas Conifer advent calendar
Preserve a little simplicity this Christmas with an old-fashioned window advent calendar. This charming scene created by artist Katie Vernon for Roger la Borde is one of our favourites.
Bird & Blend Tea advent calendar
Bring some variety to your daily brew with this advent calendar by independent brand Bird & Blend – the Willy Wonkas of the tea world. There are two teabags to enjoy each day with innovative flavours such as Chocolate Digestive Tea, Snowball, Rhubarb & Custard and Salted Caramel Lebkutchen. Don’t drink caffeine? Thoughtfully, they’ve made a decaf version as well so you can count down December with calm and ease.
- Buy now from Bird & Blend (RRP £32)
Snaffling Pig Co. Pork Crackling advent calendar 2022
Snaffling Pig’s hugely popular pork crackling advent calendar features six different flavours, including Marvellous Maple, Low & Slow BBQ and Black Pepper.
British-made, the calendars contain RSPCA-approved pork and, new for 2022, are completely free of plastic as well as being fully recyclable. There’s also a version with beer pairings if you want to start the festive boozing from day 1 of December.
Lush advent calendar
Enjoy a month-long programme of home spa treatments with a Lush advent calendar, which includes such treats as a ‘golden pudding’ bath bomb, ‘gingerbread house’ bubble bar, ‘elf shake’ shower gel and ‘sleeping’ body lotion. At £185, you may have to share it to justify it – or just gift yourself an early Christmas present. But think of it this way: any leftovers will help you get through January.
- Buy now from Lush (RRP £185)
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Usborne Advent Calendar Book Collection
Usborne stories are a staple of childhood for modern kids, and instantly recognisable. This collection of 24 classic and modern tales has been put together to inspire little would-be readers throughout the month of December – and what could be more exciting at bedtime than opening the window to see which book you’ll be reading tonight? A surefire hit with kids and parents for the festive season.
The Make Arcade Craftvent Calendar 2022
This craft-advent (‘craftvent’) calendar is made by a small Salisbury studio and is made up of 24 individual felting craft projects for your Christmas tree, each in its own colourful box. The Make Arcade doesn’t list all the final designs, to retain the element of surprise throughout the month. Of course, if you don’t fancy adding a craft marathon to your daily December commitments, why not save up a few decorations to make over a festive drink with friends?
- Buy now from The Make Arcade (RRP from £70)
Toucan box advent calendar
We love this crafty calendar for younger children. Comprising a mix of books, crafts, recipes and games, there are 24 surprises to keep children aged 2-8 entertained in the run-up to the big day. Parents can relax, too, as there is a useful ‘Grown Ups Guide’ with a schedule describing what each box includes, so you can make sure you’re well rested and on top of the washing-up before your child starts pulling out mixing bowls to make reindeer gingerbread in the middle of the floor.
- Buy now from Toucan (RRP £35)
Our colleagues over on Gathered have a range of great step-by-step guides for making your own DIY advent calendar kits and ideas.
Santa’s workshop – advent calendar puzzle
By Wentworth Puzzles
Wentworth puzzles are known for their exquisite laser-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles for adults, so it’s wonderful to see them create this jigsaw puzzle/3D advent calendar for children. Kids will love piecing together the jigsaw, with its irregular pieces and lovely seasonal shapes, before adding the stand-up characters on each day of the month. The result is a jolly scene from Santa’s workshop, which any child (and adult) will enjoy completing.
- Buy now from Wentworth Puzzles (RRP £25)
Roger la Borde Hollow Tree Pop & Slot 3D advent calendar
This rather magical pop-and-slot advent calendar brings together all the animals of the forest for a nighttime meeting. The pieces come separately and pop out of a cardboard sheet, so children and grown-ups can enjoy slowly building the display over the month of December.
Lily’s Kitchen advent calendars for cats and dogs
Are you a dog or cat ‘person’? Whichever you love most, you can include them in the festivities this year by giving them their own advent calendar. The folks at Lily’s Kitchen have created one for dogs and one for cats, made with herbs, botanicals and natural ingredients, with lovely illustrations that you’ll enjoy looking at for a month.
- Buy now for cats from Lily’s Kitchen (RRP £12)
- Buy now for dogs from Lily’s kitchen (RRP £12)
Personalised colouring canvas advent calendar
By James Ellis
This lovely decorative hanging colour-it-in advent calendar will pretty up any corner of a room and provide a mindful creative challenge for children and adults throughout December. It comes personalised with the recipient’s name at the top, is printed on canvas and has wooden bars at the top and the bottom to allow the calendar to hang elegantly down. The ribbon at the top is designed to hang on a hook or nail, so there’s no need to ruin the walls with sticky tape or blue-tack. It comes presented in an organic cotton drawstring bag.
James Ellis gives 1% turnover to environmental causes, particularly tree planting, through the organisation ‘1% for the Planet’. So you can feel good about your purchase, too.
- Buy now from James Ellis (RRP from £32)