When I was growing up, we had a plain advent calendar made of car. Every day you opened a little window and behind it was a picture. Starting about ten years ago, I noticed advent calendars with little chocolate squares behind each window, or a little message. In recent years thought, the advent calendar market has exploded, particularly in the beauty industry. There are advent calendars with tea, coffee, booze, socks, ties, jewellery, scratch cards, candles. I guess it is a growing market.
With the growing market, a number of companies have been accused of ‘cash grabs’, with cheap filler items like makeup remover pads or emery boards padding out a pricey calendar full of tiny products.
I saw these ones yesterday as I was walking between meetings. One is full of pen and stationery items, and the other one is full of Diamine inks. I have no idea what is in them, but they are the only ones I have been remotely interested in this year.
I am not into advent calendars for the surprise factor, or to open a window every day. I have found that if you check the contents beforehand, you can find products you actually like and use for much cheaper than if you buy them individually. If I use and like at least 75% of a calender’s contents, then it is great value. And in the run-up to Christmas, there are often discounts offered on these calendars, in addition to the original saving. And if you have the ice in your veins to wait until after Christmas, prices are normally slashed to the bone.
Aw, I already have this year’s Inkvent ready & waiting (this will be my 3rd year), but that Pen Store advent is fantastic, though only available to the EU (no UK or US shipping, boo)! The Well Appointed Desk did a feature on stationery/nerdy Advent calendars that are widely available https://www.wellappointeddesk.com/2022/10/tis-the-season-for-advent-calendars-whats-your-catnip/ . Present & Correct in the UK do a pencil advent & an eraser one (not available yet, and usually sell out FAST, you can sign up for notification when they’re available. They used to be a collab with CW Pencil Enterprises in NYC before they closed. https://www.presentandcorrect.com/search?q=advent )
I will probably only do the Inkvent & maybe get a candle from Convivio Bookworks (https://conviviocatalog.conviviobookworks.com/collections/advent ) they’re a small printshop that go slow and take time to notice the seasons passing. They do things a little differently and in a very homey-community-feeling way. The newsletter (book of days) is exceptionally welcome year round but especially during the holidays.
I’ll also probably get a chocolate advent calendar when shopping for groceries. I do love those awful chocolates. Growing up we used to get them at Oktoberfest and/or to benefit the German-American society/school club, so they’re nostalgic, though not traditional for us.
Thank you so much for this amazing reply. I had no idea of all the goodies you could find in advent calendars! I am going to be reposting this as its own post, because it absolutely deserves it. Thank you!