While I didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, I love that grownups can can countdown to the holiday season with fun advent calendars for adults.
So, if you thought that advent calendars were only for children, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover these very adult (but still PG rated) calendars with a gift each day.
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The origin of advent calendars for adults
It’s unclear which company first thought up an advent calendar for adults. However, here is what is clear: I’ve been hearing about them for years. Plus, marketers and retailers love the concept as a way of attracting new customers.
In this article about the history of the advent calendar, I wrote about how companies refer to them as anticipation calendars. Much like children look forward to opening a new window and getting a piece of chocolate, adults enjoy the activity, too.
Back in 2009, advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy set up a life-size advent calendar in a London shop window. Each day, they revealed a newly wrapped, life-sized gift, such as a bicycle or a waterproof snowman.
Considering Wieden and Kennedy are the brains behind the Nike slogan “Just Do It,” it’s also possible they’re the inspiration behind the grown-up advent calendar.
Not sure there are still life-sized adult calendars in London. However, if you’re visiting London with teens and tweens, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do.
Grown-ups love these calendars
Perhaps one of the reasons that advent calendars for adults have caught on is because of the popularity of subscription boxes. With these boxes, you get a surprise in your mailbox or on your doorstep each month. It’s like being able to enjoy Christmas all year long.
Therefore, you could extrapolate that there is a similarly enjoyable feeling about having a special present for adults to open in December.
“Why should the kids have all the fun in the countdown to the holiday? I get myself an advent calendar each year because I am still a kid at heart. I try to find one that is full of items I wouldn’t normally purchase for myself,” said Sarah Mock of Savoring the Good. “One year it was mini bottles of wine. Another year it was a LEGO calendar because who doesn’t love putting together LEGOs?”
Finally, because adult advent calendars tend to include more expensive or larger items, some may have only 12 windows to open versus the traditional 24 that you open between December 1 and December 24.
Alcoholic advent calendars at Costco
This past fall, my local Costco was selling two different kinds of boozy calendars for those of drinking age. They were:
- German beer advent calendar, with 24 different cans. Each of the windows contains a 16.9-ounce can of beer.
- Take a wine adventure advent calendar with 24 375 ml bottles of wine.
I was impressed with the size and heft of each of these advent boxes. Each included a good serving of either beer or wine. Plus, they give you the opportunity to try a new vintage or brew on each of the 24 days in December.
None of these were from Kirkland, the Costco brand. However, if you want to find them in your local Costco, you have to live in a state that allows Costco to carry alcohol. Not all states do.
The best deal on a Costco Membership right now is through Groupon. When you sign up, you’ll get your one-year membership plus a $40 Costco Digital Shop Card for free.
In case you didn’t know, the Costco Shop Card is the store’s gift card. You can use it in store or online.
This offer is for new Costco memberships only or for former Costco members whose membership expired more than 18 months ago. So, if you’ve moved, there wasn’t a Costco nearby and you let your membership lapse for more than 18 months, you’re good to go to sign up for this deal again!
Terms and Conditions
- After purchase you’ll receive an email from Costco confirming your membership details. To pick up your membership card, stop by the membership counter at any Costco location and bring a copy of that email with your photo ID. Incentive will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
- You’re receiving a One-Year Costco Gold Star Membership
- A membership card for the Primary Cardholder and one additional Household Card for anyone living at the same address, over the age of 16
- A $40 Digital Costco Shop Card (valid at Costco locations and Costco.com)
- Valid only for new members and those whose previous memberships (Primary and Household) have been expired for at least 18 months or more.
- Please allow up to two hours to receive your confirmation email from Costco. You must have either your Costco or Groupon confirmation email to receive your physical membership card at a Costco location.
- A physical membership card is not required to shop online or receive your incentives.
- Incentive includes a $40 Digital Costco Shop Card
- Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
- Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed to the email address provided by the Primary Member at time of sign-up.
- Not valid for the renewal of an existing Costco membership.
- All sales final.
- $40 Digital Costco Shop Card is not redeemable for cash, except as required by law. Digital Costco Shop Cards are not accepted at Costco Gas Stations, Car Washes, or Food Court Kiosks.
Again, this a Groupon-only deal for a Costco membership.
Mail order alcohol advent calendar
Another alcoholic advent calendar comes from GiveThemBeer.com. The company sells advent calendars with beer, wine, hard seltzer, whiskey, bourbon and more.
We got the red wine advent calendar to try out. They include, among other vintages:
- Cabernet sauvignon
- Pinot noir
Each advent window contains a half bottle of wine. Be careful when opening them and pulling out the bottles, though.
We didn’t realize that these would be twist-off wine tops. So, as we were pulling out the day one wine, we twisted off the cap of the first bottle and spilled it on the floor. Don’t worry — there was enough of the 2021 California pinot noir left to enjoy with dinner, which we did.
Another great wine advent calendar comes from In Good Taste. I love the little wine bottles that come with it.
For the self-proclaimed somms, the wine-curious, or that one friend or family member that makes gifting impossible, our 2023 Wine Advent Calendar is the perfect gift to give or get this holiday season. 24 nights. 24 mini bottles. 24 opportunities to sip and explore your way through the holiday season
DIY alcoholic advent calendar
On the other hand, you can always make your own adult beverage advent calendar like Susannah Brinkley Henry of Feast and West does.
“Each year I love putting together a boozy advent calendar for my husband and me. I stock up on a combination of mini bottles of brands we love and ones we haven’t tried yet,” she explained. “Sometimes I add bar items like bottle stoppers or whiskey stones. It’s fun to try new things each day or save them up for weekend cocktails. At the end, we usually have a list of new favorites.”
Other fun adult advent calendars
Beyond wine, beer and bar-oriented calendars, you can find plenty of different premade, store-bought, grown-up advent calendars online or in your favorite store. We treated ourselves to three of our favorite things: coffee, the TV show “Friends” and jam.
Keurig 24 Cups of Cheer
Not only does the calendar include K-cup coffee from well-known brands like Newman’s Own and Caribou Coffee, but there are also Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa K-cups. Some of the flavored coffees include:
- McCafe Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- Original Donut Shop Peppermint Bark
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Dark Chocolate Hazelnut
Start every morning with the Keurig® 24 Cups of Cheer K-Cup® Pod Advent Calendar! A warm and wonderfully delicious holiday countdown, this festive and flavorful collection of 24 K-Cup® pods helps you brew holiday magic all season long.
Friends 12 Days of Socks Calendar
I was stoked to discover the Friends 12 Days of Socks Calendar. The calendar includes 12 pairs of socks that say, among other “Friends” catchphrases:
- “Oh. My. God!”
- “We were on a break.”
Again, if you know, you know. Sizes are medium to large in women’s or small to medium in men’s, so it is practically unisex.
We’re big “Friends” fans. I mean, when my husband and I text hello, we’ll often send, “How YOU doin’?” IYKYK. So, this Friends Advent Calendar is the perfect present for people like me.
In addition to the Friends Advent Calendar, you can find other fun ones for adults based on TV shows and movies. Some of them include:
Die Hard Advent Calendar (because it is a Christmas movie)
Bonne Maman Jam and Honey Advent Calendar
In this Bonne Maman 2023 Limited Edition Advent Calendar, you get 23 mini jars of fruit spread plus one jar of honey. The jars are 28 grams or about one ounce.
Along with the traditional flavors, you’ll get new variations, including raspberry chocolate and pineapple with ginger. My breakfast toast never tasted so wonderful.
Make this holiday season truly special by indulging in the Bonne Maman 2023 Advent Calendar. It's the perfect gift for foodies, preserves lovers, and anyone who embraces the holiday spirit.
Beauty advent calendars
Another popular options for advent calendars for adults are makeup calendars. This includes legit makeup as well as pampering products.
Luxury advent calendars
One subset of beauty advent calendars are the luxury ones. These advent calendars often include fragrances or makeup from updscale brands like Jo Malone and Dior.
Start the beauty countdown with 24 days of fan-favorite beauty, best-selling body care and seasonal surprises in the Classic Advent Calendar.
I found examples of luxury advent calendars at the following stores.
Affordable beauty advent calendars
Here are our favorite beauty advent calendars for this year.
Every year, this Le Mini Macaron nail polish advent calendar sells out. It includes 12 mini bottles of high-quality nail polish that I think you'll love. I know I do.
This Ulta-exclusive beauty advent calendar includes all kinds of pampering products, including body lotion, foot cream and a lip scrub, among other delights.
If you can’t find one online, you can get one in person at Trader Joe’s like Gen La Rocca of Two Cloves Kitchen did.
“I received a beauty product advent calendar from Trader Joe’s last year that I just loved. It had samples of lotions, lip balms and facial products,” she recalled. “This was a great way to try several products without committing to the larger sizes.”
Interestingly, you can find this Trader Joe’s 12 Days of Beauty advent calendar on Amazon.
Also, on Amazon, you can find different lip balm advent calendars. This includes from Burt’s Bees and ChapStick.
$39.99 ($22.22 / Ounce)
Unlike other beauty advent calendars, which are available online only, you can buy this Sephora beauty advent calendar online and pick up in store. Or you can visit a Sephora store near you to pick one up. Quantities are limited.
This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.