Tired of necking Cadbury chocolate squares every December morning?
Okay, the answer is of course no, we love Cadburys. But then there are days when we wish our advent calendar gift was a little more of, well, a surprise.
Luckily, we’re not the only ones that feel this way. In recent years more and more alternative advent calendars have sprung up for sale. And, much to our delight, the array of fillers on offer is getting better and better with each festive season.
From our favourite beauty product minis and boozy treats, to kids’ toys and seasonal decorations, there really is something for everyone behind those little paper doors. These are the best non-chocolate advent calendars for 2019
Food and drink advent calendars
Bailey’s Advent Calendar
£20 from Asda
Head to your local Asda to pick up this delicious Bailey’s Advent Calendar, packed with mini treats that make the perfect winter warmers. The £20 calendar comes complete with three different flavours, including coffee and orange truffle – plus the classic Bailey’s flavour, too. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it!
Iceland’s Gin Advent Calendar
£58 from Iceland
This delicious advent calendar is packed full of gin flavours, from Valencia Orange to London Dry, with more unusual options like rhubarb and rose also making an appearance. Perfect for the gin lover in your life!
B&M 12 Gins & Tonics Advent Calendar
£34.99 from B&M
Who doesn’t enjoy a daily tipple in the days leading up to Christmas? GoodtoKnow favourites B&M are offering shoppers 12 G&Ts (yes, 12!) to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes for a purse-friendly price of £34.99. That’s a lot less than what you’d spend at the pub!
Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar
£17.50 from The Naked Marshmallow Co
Back for its third year, the Gourmet Marshmallow advent calendar is the perfect alternative to a traditional chocolate calendar for those with a sweet tooth. Behind every door is one of six delicious flavours including salted caramel, butterscotch, gingerbread and mint choc chip. Create the full campfire experience by adding a marshmallow toaster and skewers set for only £3.75 at the checkout.
Joe & Sephs Popcorn Advent Calendar
£25 at Joe & Sephs
Enjoy a crunchy Christmas treat in the form of Joe & Seph’s delicious popcorn calendar. Inside each door, you’ll find one of 12 different Joe & Seph’s popcorn flavours, such as salted caramel, and banoffee pie.
Jelly Belly Bean Boozled Advent Calendar
£16.07 from Amazon
Will you daily treat be naughty or nice? Behind each of the 24 doors is a pack containing flavoured sweets. All flavours are suitable for vegetarians.
Haribo Advent Calendar
£9.99 from Amazon
Featuring all your Haribo favourites – Tropifrutti, Goldbears and MAOAM, this calendar is perfect for the chocolate averse, or those looking for a break from the norm!
Curry Legend Advent Calendar
£29 at The Spicery
Each door contains a recipe for a Christmas dish, which can be made using the Curry Legend spice blends that come with it! Deliciousness and ideas for Christmas entertaining… what’s not to love?
Prosecco O Clock Advent Calendar
£109.95 from Not on the High Street
This indulgent adult advent calendar is perfect for those who love a glass of fizz. Inside you’ll find bottles of sparkling rosé prosecco, Cava, Brut and much more. It can be refilled time and time again, which makes a great addition to big Christmas parties.
Drinks by the Dram Tequila Advent Calendar
£109.91 from Amazon
From complex barrel-aged anejos to small-batch blancos, this calendar contains some of Mexico’s finest tequilas. With 30ml offerings for each day, this is the seasonal must-have for any serious tequila lover…
Munchkings Christmas Advent Calendar
£29.99 from Amazon
For an advent calendar that’ll go down well with those who aren’t big on chocolate, MunchKing’s nutty version is ideal. From smoked paprika-coated nuts to wasabi peanuts, there’s a delicious offering to suit every taste.
Snaffling Pig Merry Piggin’ Christmas Pork Crackling Advent Calendar
£17.50 from Snaffling Pig
If you love pork scratchings but don’t want the booze, Snaffling Pig have this A3 advent calendar with 24 mini bags of pork crackling available. Each calendar comes with a variety of flavours so you’ll never be bored, plus there’s a gluten free version – bonus!
Pukka Herbal Tea Advent Calendar
£9.99 from Amazon
There are 24 carefully selected organic, herbal, fruit and green teas in this advent calendar, perfect for those who have to start the day with a cuppa. You might also discover a new favourite brew…
Ginvent Advent Calendar
£119.95 from Amazon
Yet another gin advent calendar for the gin fanatics out there. This calendar boasts a 30ml dram of different delicious gins behind each of the 24 doors. It was created in collaboration with the Gin Foundry and offers a snapshot of what gin can offer… Get the tonics chilling!
The Protein Ball Co. Advent Calendar
£12.99 from The Protein Ball Co. (available to order soon)
If you’re trying to keep in shape in the run up to Christmas and want to keep topped up on your protein, this advent calendar is perfect. Packed with 24 different protein balls, you’ll be fuelled up for the day ahead, guilt-free and still get to enjoy the fun of opening an advent calendar! Flavours include: Peanut Butter + Jam, Raspberry Brownie, Lemon + Pistachio and Goji + Coconut, Peanut Butter, Cacao + Orange, Coconut + Macadamia and Cherry Bakewell. Plus, behind door no.24 is a special Christmas-flavoured protein ball…
Tipsy Advent Tree Calendar
£85 from First4Hampers
The Tipsy tree is the perfect yuletide treat for wine lovers, featuring 24 mini bottles of red, white, rosé and mulled wine to see you through to Christmas day. It can be reused next Christmas or throughout the year to stock your favourite tipples.
Beauty advent calendars
Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar
£50 from Amazon
The online retailing giant had shoppers delighted with the news that it was releasing its very own beauty advent calendar worth over £220 but priced at a reasonable price of £50. The full unveil will be on October 3, but the company has teased that the calendar will feature samples of their best loved beauty brands. We’re getting our pre-orders in now as it’s sure to be a sellout hit!
Freixenet Advent Calendar
£75 from Freixenet
Bottles of bubbly AND beauty products? We could hardly believe it ourselves when we read the description for the Freixenet advent calendar! Featuring mini prosecco bottles, candles, nail polishes and other goodies, this countdown calendar offers all the luxurious treats we need to relax over the holidays.
Harry Potter Advent Calendar
£35 from Boots
Potterheads rejoice – the Harry Potter advent calendar is finally here! With 24 mini Harry Potter-themed beauty treats including hand creams, bath fizzers and even colour changing lipsticks (!), this is the perfect seasonal treat for Hogwarts fans out there.
L’Occitane Beauty Advent Calendar
£49 at L’Occitane
From body lotions and oils to sugar bath cubes, L’Occitane’s calendar contains all the products you need for a very pampered Christmas season.
Lookfantastic Advent Calendar
£79 at Lookfantastic
Priced at an amazing £79 for £420 worth of products including Elemis, Molten Brown and Morphe, it’s no wonder Lookfantastic’s calendar has sold out 4 years in a row. Move fast if you want one!
Holland and Barrett 25 Days of Clean Beauty Advent Calendar
£35 from Holland and Barrett
Stocked with some of the nation’s favourite beauty products, Holland and Barrett’s calendar is a clean beauty Christmas dream.
No7 Beauty Advent Calendar
£42 from Boots
It’s the one everyone goes crazy for – with £173.50 worth of products for just £42. Plus, this year there are seven golden tickets up for grabs, each worth £700 in No7 goodies. Last year, the waiting list clocked up a huge 90K, but we predict it’s going to be even bigger for 2019.
The Body Shop Advent Calendar
£49, £69 and £99 from The Body Shop
Last year’s calendar was so popular, one sold every 30 seconds! And 2019’s offering looks bigger and better than ever before. The purse-friendly option retails at £49, with products worth £81. If you’re looking to spend a little more, you’ll find a £69 advent calendar filled with £122 of goodies, including a full size body butter. Body Shop are selling their Deluxe advent calendar for £99, worth a staggering £249. We’d love all three!
Ciaté London Mini Mani Month Advent Calendar
£50 from Look Fantastic
There’ll be no excuse for lacklustre nails this Christmas with this jam-packed advent calendar. It features 10 mini polishes, one full size, one topcoat, one mini treatment and one limited edition surprise. The only trouble with this calendar will be choosing a shade wear on the 25th!
Hair Accessories Advent Calendar
£29.95 (pre-order price) from Tether and Float
This adorable assortment of hair accessories offers a cosmetic-free alternative to your usual beauty advent calendar, making it ideal for the little ones to dress up over the holidays.
Cath Kidston Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar
£40 from Amazon
The hotly anticipated Cath Kidston beauty advent calendar is back for 2019 and boasts 24 travel-sized beauty vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. Its contents haven’t been revealed, but last year’s version had soaps, hand creams, body scrubs and much more, so we’re very excited indeed!
Balmain Limited Edition White Advent Calendar
£125 from Terence Paul Online
Treat the fashion fans in your life to this luxurious 10-door Balmain beauty advent calendar. You won’t regret splashing out on this designer treat as you’ll be getting it for more than half the RRP (valued at £175). Features nail polish, shampoo, hair perfume and much more.
If you’re keen to part with tradition and are a sucker for novelty, you might want to have a look at our round-up of the best Christmas crackers because they’ve experience a big makeover in recent years too…
Toy advent calendars
Peppa Pig Advent Calendar
£20 from Argos
Everyone’s favourite cartoon pig gets a seasonal makeover with this adorable advent calendar. The little ones can countdown to the 25th with Christmas versions of Peppa, George and their friends, not to mention yuletide touches including a toy Christmas tree!
Harrods Boxes Advent Calendar
£49 at Harrods
Stacked boxes form the shape of a stylish Christmas tree, and contain various toys and treats for little kids.
Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar
£24.99 at John Lewis
Star Wars fans, kids and adults alike, will love this Lego calendar. Behind every door is a buildable starship, collectible or figure, creating a fun and interactive Christmas countdown!
Thomas and Friends Advent Calendar
£24.99 at Amazon
Little Thomas the Tank Engine fans will love this one. Each door contains 24 Thomas mini figurines, all with their own special design!
Paw Patrol Advent Calendar
£20 from Asda
Does your little one love Paw Patrol? Then they’ll adore this advent calendar! Behind each of the 24 doors is an exciting little figure for the kids to play with. In fact, they’ll find six main Paw Patrol characters plus mini sleds and figures which are a brilliant stimulant for imaginative play.
Hatchimals Advent Calendar
£29.89 from Amazon
This is sure to be on lots of children’s wish lists, as the Hatchimals-craze shows no signs of slowing down! The advent calendar is packed with exclusive characters and nests for your little one’s to discover – there are over 50 surprises to discover in total.
Playmobil Advent Calendar
£19.99 from Ocado
Kids have 24 doors to open in this fun calendar, which includes gadgets, car pieces and the evil Dr. Drone to defeat! Featuring 117 pieces, this advent calendar will keep the little ones entertained over the festive period.
Harry Potter Pop! Vinyl Advent Calendar
£49.99 from Zavvi
Following their 2018 sell-out version, Funko Pop! are back with another Harry Potter advent calendar that’s sure to be a hit with kids. Behind every door is a miniature version of one of your favourite witches, wizards or magical creatures.
Gibsons 12 Days of Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle Advent Calendar
£19.99 from Jigsaw Puzzles Direct
This advent calendar from puzzle makers Gibsons is the perfect little treat to keep you busy. Behind each door is an 80-piece jigsaw and the 12 puzzles eventually create one gorgeous Christmas scene.
Play-Doh Advent Calendar
£17.03 from Amazon
If you know a little one who loves Play-Doh, then why not let them get creative with a surprise behind each of this advent calendar’s 24 secret doors? Set includes five Play-Doh cans plus two Sparkle cans for some Christmas dazzle.
Hama Advent Calendar
£17 from Amazon
The popular craft toy now offers a complete advent set, with all of the beads to create a different design for each day leading up to Christmas!
Disney Storybook Advent Calendar
£19.99 from Amazon (available 30th August)
Your little one will enjoy unwrapping a special storybook featuring some of their favourite Disney friends, every day in the run up to Christmas. The magical tales are a brilliant way to settle their excitement before bed!
Homeware and craft advent calendars
Paperchase 2019 Stationery Advent Calendar
£35 from Paperchase
If you prefer fountain pens to fruit and nut, you’ll adore Paperchase’s stationery advent calendar. Filled with notebooks, pens and pencils worth £50, the calendar is the perfect choice for stationery connoisseurs and older children who want to jot down their thoughts.
Sainsbury’s Home Christmas Spice Advent Calendar
£12 from Argos
Add a Christmassy aroma to your living room or kitchen table with Sainsbury’s very affordable tealight advent calendar. If you’re forgoing mulled wine this year, the candles in this advent calendar mean you can still get a hit of seasonal spice each day without indulging in alcohol!
A Mindful Advent Calendar Set
£15 from Modo Creative
Fans of mindfulness and pared down aesthetics needn’t miss out on the joys of advent. This set of 25 beeswax candles are designed to be burned every day in the lead up to Christmas as a reminder to pause and slow down. Sounds good to us!
Advent of Change Advent Calendar
£16.95 from Advent of Change
Want to make a difference this Christmas? Here’s an advent calendar that allows you to donate to 24 charities! For less than £20, you’ll be contributing to worthy causes such as feeding the homeless and protecting endangered animals each day in the run up to the 25th.
Scandi Fabric Play Town Advent Calendar
£98 at Not On The High Street
Each pocket on this wall hanging calendar reveals a different element of a cute little Christmassy Copenhagen, which will only be complete once you have opened all 24. A sweet adventure for the whole family!
Craftvent Advent Calendar
£69 from Not On The High Street
Craft-lovers among you will ADORE this craft advent calendar, featuring 24 individual felt kits to creature cute Christmas decorations. Designs include food, drink, animals and much more. Ships from mid November.
Gold Modern Craft Advent Calendar Kit
£19.95 from Trouva
If you’re in the mood to craft this Christmas but not quite up to the challenge of stitching your own decorations, this is the advent calendar of you. The kit comes with envelopes, packets and boxes for you to fill with anything you desire – try sweet treats, mini cosmetics or a heartwarming note for your loved ones to open in the run-up to the 25th.
Air Wick Candle Advent Calendar
£8.95 from Amazon
If you thought advent calendars couldn’t get any more quirky, you were mistaken – the sell-out Air Wicks candle advent calendar is back for another year. Costing under a tenner, it contains 24 scented candles that come in festive fragrances including Mulled Wine, Winter Berries and Winter Wonderland.
Yankee Advent Calendars
Yankee Tower Advent Calendar
£79.99 from Yankee Candle
Treat yourself to this indulgent advent calendar that includes gorgeous smelling candles and wax melts, not to mention a host of accessories to prolong your candles’ burning time.
Schmincke Watercolour Advent Calendar
£52.70 from SAA
Try your hand at watercolour painting with this artistic advent calendar. With 24 watercolour paints behind each door, the calendar is the perfect gift for art-lovers or those wishing to try a new hobby.
Alison Gardiner Holly and Ivy Advent Candle
£5.19 from Amazon
We love a seasonal candle, and there’s nothing more Christmassy than an advent calendar to countdown to the big day. Set it on the mantelpiece or dining table and burn a little each day to create plenty of Christmas magic.
Christmas Treehouse Pop and Slot Advent Calendar
£12.95 from Amazon
Tired of watching re-runs and playing board games to pass the time over Christmas? Round up the family to construct this adorable treehouse advent calendar, which may require a few extra pairs of hands to build!
Which of the alternative advent calendars will you be trying to get your hands on?
Do you have a favourite non-chocolate advent calendar that you get every year? Head over to our Facebook page join the conversation and share your ideas!