Like most children and fellow Christmas-lovers, this morning I eagerly opened the first door of my advent calendar. A Cadbury version, costing just £1.75 from Tesco, it was nevertheless an exciting sign that Christmas is coming.
This tantalising feeling of counting down the days began in the early 19th century when religious families would mark a line with chalk every day of December up to Christmas Eve. Printed picture versions were first believed to be established in 1903, followed by the chocolate version we all know and love in around 1958. The advent calendar clearly had humble religious beginnings, yet many producers of modern versions seem to have lost sight of the simplicity of the advent calendar, with more and more extravagant ones on offer every year.
The chocolate version remains the most popular, yet that isn’t always cheap and cheerful. Hotel Chocolat’s truffle calendar, for example, costs £26; it looks delightful, but is not student budget friendly. It is not just chocolate that fills the little squares of many advent calendars now either, but a surprising array of food and drink.
The beer calendar from bestofbritishbeer.co.uk sets you back a ridiculously expensive £95, and is rather immoral given the advent calendar’s religious beginnings. Similarly, there are an array of alcoholic versions: whiskey, wine, vodka… I may be an old lady trapped in the body of a student, but a far more attractive option in my opinion is the calendar available from posttea.co.uk that contains a variety of teabags, but at £35, this is still not cheap.
A long way from the simple beginnings of advent calendars these may be, but there is no denying their appeal
Food and drink advent calendars are now old hat, however, compared to some of the wackier options that are available. There appears to be something for everyone. Gone are the days when the most luxurious option for children was a Malteasers or Milky Way version; there is now a Lego calendar available for £29. Essentially they are receiving a multitude of presents before the big day itself.
For all the candle-lovers out there, the Yankee Candle calendar costs £29 but is relatively well-priced when the price of individual candles is taken into consideration. Another arguably value-for-money option is Freedom at Topshop’s £25 jewellery calendar, that is, quite frankly, amazing. A long way from the simple beginnings of advent calendars these may be, but there is no denying their appeal.
Another hugely popular category of advent calendars is beauty. These range from Primark’s £15 version to Liberty’s £149 masterpiece. With some containing a wide range of lotions and potions to get you through the winter months and others focusing on specific items such as nail varnish, all of them are devilishly tempting. Walking into Debenhams and seeing Benefit’s £60 creation is enough to make any girl long to have one in her life.
Porsche have created a calendar featuring, to name just a few of the treats, a rose gold watch, a personalised kitchen and a speedboat. All for just £618,000
However, all of the advent calendars mentioned above are small fry in comparison to the single most ridiculously extravagant version on offer. In 2010, Porsche created a calendar featuring, to name just a few of the treats, were a rose gold watch, a personalised kitchen and a speedboat. All for just £618,000. I think I’ll stick to my Cadbury one – after all, you can’t enjoy a speedboat with a cup of tea in the morning.