There's no better way to get the Christmas season started than with a festive Advent calendar. Count down to the big day with a classic chocolate version, or discover one of our favourite alternatives.

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Advent calendars are becoming more inventive than ever, and we tested all the alternative buys for foodies to find our favourites. We tested the calendars based on taste, look, innovation, practicality and cost. We'll be adding plenty more calendars to this round-up as the season continues and we discover new launches.

We've split our round-up into categories: classic chocolate picks (with everything from budget-friendly options to luxurious truffles), tea, coffee and hot chocolate, sweet alternatives (think marshmallows, jam and more), savoury calendars, alcohol calendars and a luxury selection of up to £250 for anyone wanting to push the boat out this festive season. We also have a selection of calendars for under £10, to prove you don't always have to break the bank to get 24 days of treats. With Black Friday sales happening, lots of the most popular calendars are selling out fast, so it's time to grab a bargain when you can.

For more than 400 buyer's guides, visit our reviews section to find the ultimate foodie gift guide and our 4o budget Christmas gifts. Discover more Christmas gifting inspiration with our best Christmas hampers, gin gifts or best baking gifts.

Best alternative and unusual Advent calendars for foodies 2023

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Advent calendars under £10

Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar

CADBURY Advent Calendar Carton Front Right GB 2021-07

Kicking off with a classic, this simple Cadbury's calendar is surely what comes to mind when you think back to being a child at Christmas? It's a bargain, it's simple and it's a challenge to not tear open more than one window at a time. This year Cadbury have also launched a wider range of calendars including a Heroes calendar and Chunk Calendar for a bit more variety.

Available from:
Cadbury Gifts Direct (£2.74)
Ocado (£2.50)

Candy Kittens Advent Calendar

Candy Kittens 24 Days of Gourmet, £12 (1) copy

Swap chocolate for sweets in this new calendar from Candy Kittens. Each door contains two, so there's the possibility to share, plus on Christmas Eve there is a full-size bag to pass around. Flavours include Wild Strawberry, Eton Mess and the new sour Shox range.

Available from:
Ocado (£10)
WHSmith (£10)
Sainsbury's (£10)

M&S Colin the Caterpillar Advent calendar

Colin the Caterpillar calendar

The iconic Colin the Caterpillar has been transformed into an Advent calendar that's sure to be a hit with the kids. Open a Colin chocolate each day with a whole bag for Christmas Day. Plus, there are games on the back to keep them occupied.

Available from:
Ocado (£6)
M&S in-store

Reese's Gravity Advent calendar

Reese's Advent calendar

One of our favourite Advent calendar designs of 2023, this fun calendar has a built in wheel you spin each day to release your peanut butter cup down the slide and pop out at the bottom. There are two flavours inside.

Available from:
Ocado (£8)

Haribo Advent tree sweets calendar

Haribo advent tree calendar

A calendar and rainy afternoon crafting activity in one, this Haribo calendar requires some set up. Build the cardboard tree and miniature boxes to hide each mini packet of sweets in, including Tangfastics, Strawberries and Starmix.

Available from:
Ocado (£6)

M&S Choc Corn Advent calendar

M&S Choc Corn calendar

This chunky calendar has a unique offering of chocolate popcorn clusters behind each door – they're pretty moreish so opening one door at a time is a struggle! On the final day, you'll open a generous chocolate popcorn slab.

Available from:
Ocado (£9)
M&S in-store

Milkybar white chocolate Advent calendar

Milkybar Advent calendar

Keep it simple with this bargain white chocolate calendar. Open a creamy square of white chocolate each day and make a Santa decoration using the cut-out on the back.

Available from:
Ocado (£2.50)
Sainsbury's (£2.50)
Iceland (£2)

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme Advent calendar

Hershey's cookies n creme calendar

Most chocolate Advent calendars reveal the same behind every door, but this Hershey's calendar has three different styles of cookies 'n' creme chocolate to open, including a mini bar for Christmas Eve.

Available from:
Ocado (£6)
Iceland (£6)

Luxury Advent calendars

The Cartwright and Butler Advent calendar

Advent Calendar Open 300dpi

Instead of a Christmas hamper, splash out on this truly decadent Advent calendar to make all of December feel special. You’ll need plenty of space for this extra-large festive red box (54 x 43 x 23cm), with double doors opening to reveal 24 sliding drawers filled with indulgent full-size treats from across the Cartwright & Butler range. There are plenty of biscuits – including cranberry crumbles and demerara shortbread – but there’s lots more to discover, with hot chocolate, sweets, jam, cheesy crackers, prosecco and fudge all involved. An exceptional gift for someone who deserves a treat, or just enjoy with your family all month long. The struggle will be resisting opening all the drawers on day one.

Available from:
Cartwright and Butler (£210)

Paxton & Whitfield artisan cheese Advent calendar

Paxton and Whitfield

Blow the budget with the ultimate Advent calendar for cheese lovers. There's a 75g wedge of artisan cheese to enjoy each day, and it arrives in three separate deliveries throughout December for maximum freshness. The cheese is sent fully insulated via a carbon-neutral delivery service. From classic festive stilton and gruyère to unique British and European finds, make December the ultimate cheese discovery journey.

Available from:
Paxton & Whitfield (£150)

Hotel Chocolat The Grand Advent calendar

Hotel C grand calendar

For the chocoholic wanting to go all-out this Christmas, Hotel Chocolat has you sorted. £75 may seem a lot to pay for a chocolate Advent calendar, but this huge one offers a lot more than just a daily truffle. From mini bottles of cacao gin and chocolate liqueur to plenty of different flavours of chocolate batons, truffles, mini chocolate crackers and even a lip balm, this is a tour de force of the entire Hotel Chocolat range, where everything has been supersized for festive decadence.

Available from:
Hotel Chocolat (£75)

Fortnum & Mason Feasting Advent Calendar

Fortnum & Mason Advent calendar

Fortnum & Mason instantly signals luxury, and this calendar is certainly that. We love the design that makes a colourful statement all December long, and enjoyed discovering each of the different-sized drawers. Inside you'll find a selection of chutneys, jams, biscuits, teas and more – including several doors hiding miniature alcohol, from English cassis to Christmas gin, and an extra-special treat for Christmas Eve.

Available from:
Fortnum & Mason (£200)

Daylesford Organic farmshop Advent calendar

Daylesford Organic advent calendar

The most expensive calendar on our list this year, this is definitely a luxury, but it's a memorable treat from the beginning. The large calendar will be a centrepiece in front of the mantelpiece all month, and it can easily be reused next year. What stood out to us was the generous size of the contents within each of the 25 drawers (no miniatures here), plus the variety – from jam and chutney to tea, coffee, chocolates and even homewares with a candle and Christmas decorations.

Available from:
Daylesford Organic (£250) sold out

Honeywell Biscuit Co jar of Advent biscuits

Honeywell Jar of Advent Biscuits

A baked alternative to a classic Advent calendar, this jar is filled with buttery biscuits that are each intricately iced and numbered in festive designs, including penguins and baubles. Pricey, but it makes a lovely Christmas gift.

Available from:
Honeywell Bakes (£42.50)
Not on the High Street (£45)

Tea, coffee and hot chocolate Advent calendars

Bird & Blend tea Advent calendar

Bird & Blend Advent Calendar

Make a tea break more interesting with this calendar packed with fun unusual teas. Every colourful drawer contains two teabags, so you can share the fun, too. We loved that there are a whopping 24 flavours of tea within the calendar, so no repeats, with quirky flavours ranging from chocolate digestives to strawberry lemonade. The calendar is 100% plastic-free and there’s a caffeine-free option, too.

Available from:
Bird & Blend (£38)

Volcano Coffee Works Coffee Advent calendar

Volcano Coffee Works advent calendar

While not in traditional calendar form, this Advent gift box has a luxurious feel. Coffee connoisseurs will be in heaven as soon they open it with rich aromas filling the senses. It contains 12 generous 100g bags of Volcano coffee to enjoy (including limited edition festive blends), so plenty to keep you going all season. (You can choose between whole bean or ground coffee.)

Available from:
Volcano Coffee Works (£54.95)

Artisan Coffee Co. hanging coffee calendar

Artisan Hanging Advent Coffee Bag copy

This coffee calendar has an unusual fold-out design that divided opinion – there are no doors to open, so no mystery. However, we love the quality of the coffee. There are six different styles to try, from The Genius, which was rich and fruity, to The Heroine, with notes of caramel and hazelnut.

Available from:
Artisan Coffee Co. (£28.99)

English Tea Shop Christmas Night organic teabag Advent calendar

English Tea Shop

A tea calendar doesn’t have to break the bank. This compact version has minimal packaging and is great value at under £15. We liked the sweet ribbon on the door. You get one teabag a day but there’s an impressive range of styles in here, from seasonal Gingerbread Treat to classic rooibos, fruit and mint teas.

Available from:
Amazon (£13.19)

Bird & Blend matcha tea Advent calendar

Matcha Advent Calendar open copy

A twist on a classic tea calendar, this is dedicated to all things matcha. We love the vibrant green design (of course, it’s matcha) and the compact shape, containing over £60 worth of matcha. It’s not just plain matcha either – there’s peaches and cream matcha, toffee apple or Nordic berry. There’s enough for two cups in each mini tin and it’s all plastic-free.

Available from:
Bird & Blend (£52)

Blue Goose Coffee Pod Advent Calendar

Blue Goose advent calendar

A brilliant coffee option for those with a coffee pod machine, this contains 24 Nespresso-compatible, compostable pods that are all ethically-sourced and organic-certified – it was even the winner of the Soil Association’s 'Best of New Organic Food & Drink Products’ at the 2023 BOOM Awards. Each of the seven unique coffees has a strong sustainability story.

Available from:
Blue Goose (£24.99)

Sweet alternative Advent calendars

Tiptree Jam Advent calendar

Tiptree Advent Jam copy

Breakfast just got more interesting with this calendar. The affectionately named ‘Jam Bus’ has a fun design and contains eight different classic jams (including two marmalades). We love the Little Scarlet strawberry and sweet Morello cherry. The 42g jar sizes are also pleasingly bigger than we expected.

Available from:
Amazon (£29.90)

Pip & Nut Advent calendar

Pip & nut calendar

This large calendar is covered in gold-embossed illustrations that are fun and chic. There are a mixture of individually wrapped peanut butter and almond cups behind each door, all coated in dark chocolate and all impressively large – no tiny doors here.

Available from:
Ocado (£20)
Amazon (£19.80)

Maoam Advent calendar

Maoam advent calendar

For when 24 doors isn't enough (or even 25!), this sweets-filled calendar has a whopping 31 doors to open, taking you beyond Christmas and all the way up to New Year's Eve! There's a varied selection of Maoam sweets included inside, from the classic stripes, to chewy blocks and sour pinballs.

Available from:
Amazon (£17.99)

American sweets Advent calendar

American sweets advent calendar

This interesting calendar is ideal for a sweet tooth looking to try something new. We love the quirky design, but inside is the true fun – each door hides a different American sweet that may usually be hard to track down in the UK. Enjoy sour Nerds or Toxic Waste, chewy Laffy Taffy and much more.

Available from:
Amazon (£27.99)

Naked Marshmallow boozy gourmet marshmallow Advent calendar

Boozy naked marshmallow calendar

For the person who can’t get enough of s’mores in summer, this calendar is sure to please. We tried both the classic and boozy versions, and the latter is our favourite. Each door opens with an explanation of the flavour behind it and we enjoyed all six, with a balanced level of booze that’s not too strong. The raspberry and prosecco is standout. For £3.95 extra, you can get either calendar complete with a mini marshmallow toaster so you can get building s’mores every day – and this little extra also makes it a great gift.

Available from:
Naked Marshmallow (from £20)

SugarSin 24 Days of Assorted Sugarsin Treats

SugarSin copy

This compact sweets calendar was a surprise hit during our testing. The pretty double-door teal design has 24 drawers, altogether offering a wide variety of treats, including fudge, truffles and sweets, plus more unusual ones we hadn’t seen before from across the world. It is expensive but perfect for someone with a sweet tooth and a sense of adventure.

Available from:
SugarSin (from £30)

Joe & Seph's 'Find Joe & Seph' popcorn Advent calendar

Find Joe & Seph popcorn Advent calendar

A great one for sharing, this fun calendar contains 14 different flavours of popcorn in mini bags. There are classic flavours (such as caramel and double chocolate) and festive spins, including candy cane and buck's fizz. You also have the bonus of an illustrated puzzle where you'll have most of December to try and spot the company founders among a Christmas crowd scene...

Available from:
Joe & Seph's (£30) out of stock
John Lewis (£30) out of stock

Savoury alternative Advent calendars

Abel & Cole The 12 Days of Organic Christmas calendar

Abel & Cole 2023 advent calendar

This lifestyle calendar contains a wide range of food, drink and beauty products. We loved the vibrant yellow design, and despite the generously sized fillings, it still feels compact so won’t take over your whole kitchen. Contents include a Green People Intensive repair shampoo, chutney, teabags, shortbread and more. It is a more expensive option (for just 12 days, not 24) but it still felt good value for money, plus the price includes a £5 donation to charity.

Available from:
Abel & Cole (£45)

Just Spices large Advent calendar

Just Spices

Swap sweets for the joy of cooking over the Christmas period with this quirky calendar filled with unusual spice mixes. A full-size tin is hidden behind each door, including bolognese seasoning, pizza topping and banana bread seasoning, with a QR code on each door for recipe inspiration. Out of two options, the larger size comes with a cookbook. Admittedly, 24 new tins of spice mix will take up room in the storecupboard, but this is a fun way to inspire a novice cook or new homeowner, and there’s a smaller version, at £29.99, that contains sachets instead of tins.

Available from:
Just Spices (£99.99)

Alcohol Advent calendars

Freixenet and Friends Wine & Fizz Advent Calendar

Freixenet & Friends advent calendar

Make the most of party season with this decadent calendar filled with bottles, a collaboration between Freixenet, I Heart Wines, Mionetto and Mouton Cadet. Discover 12 still wines (red, white and rosé) and 12 sparkling, including four non-alcoholic bottles.

Available from:
Slurp (£94.95)
Not on the High Street (£110)

Fever-Tree Gin & Tonic calendar

Fever-Tree_advent_calendar-removebg-preview

A fun way to have a boozy Advent calendar without being overwhelmed with minis – this offering from tonic experts Fever Tree combines 12 miniature gins (from brands such as Sipsmith and Hayman's) with 12 miniature tonics in a range of flavours, so you can build your pairings across the 24 doors.

Available from:
John Lewis (£65)
Waitrose (£65)
Ocado (£65)

Laithwaites wine calendar

Laithwaites wine calendar

This pretty calendar has one of the most festive designs we've seen on an alcohol advent calendar. Selling fast, take your pick of an all-red, all-white or mixed wine Advent calendar and open the doors each day to a mini bottle of wine. On Christmas Eve, you'll find a full size bottle of something special...

Available from:
Laithwaites (£99.99)

Virgin Wines Advent calendar

Virgin Wines Advent 2023 - mixed wine copy

This is another one for the wine buff. Virgin Wines have three wine Advent calendars on offer – all-red, all-white or mixed – each containing 24 x 287ml bottles, with a full size bottle to open on Christmas Day. Discover new wines from across the world and learn more about your favourite styles.

Available from:
Virgin Wines (£89.99)

Craft Gin Advent Calendar

Craft Gin Club advent calendar copy

A luxury calendar for the gin lover in your life, this offering from Craft Gin Club contains a generous 25 50ml gins, including seven that are exclusive to Craft Gin Club. Festive offerings include Mince Pie Gin and Stollen Gin along with plenty of other flavoured and classic gins. A great way to discover a new favourite tipple or distillery. There's also the option to purchase a pairings bundle of mixers and garnishes, too.

Available from:
Craft Gin Club (£94.95)

Gin in a Tin, Twelve Days of Gin in a Tin Advent calendar

SousChef_GinInATin_3263

Now, it’s controversial whether this truly counts as an Advent calendar. The 12 miniature tins of gin are revealed at once within the cardboard box – no doors to open. We would have loved a little more mystery and excitement, but still, this calendar does deliver intrigue in new flavours of gin and we liked the smart stripy packaging. It would make a great gift for a gin connoisseur, although it is pricey.

Available from:
Sous Chef (£49.99)

Tapp'd Christmas cocktail countdown box

Tapp'd cocktail calendar

If you're dreaming of summer evenings in the park sipping a canned cocktail, this is the calendar for you. It only covers 12 days and the calendar itself is very large, but it would make a fun gift. Inside there's the ready-made cocktails you expect, along with some fun cocktail kit including a shaker and straw.

Available from:
Tapp'd (£40), QVC (£45)

That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent calendar

Boutique-y Gin calendar

The colourful house design of this calendar hides an exciting array of gins. There are 24 different flavours in 30ml wax-sealed drams. Our highlights were the novelty flavours that Boutique-y Gin Company is known for, with 13 new recipes this year including blood orange, bakewell tart and Christmas pudding gin. There are also plenty of plain gins from a variety of distilleries around the world, so there’s something for everyone.

Available from:
Drinks by the Dram (£69.95)

Brewdog beer advent calendar

Brewdog advent calendar

Alcohol advent calendars don't have to be all fine wine and fancy spirits. If beer is more your style, try this giant calendar from Brewdog, filled with 24 different beers and a little extra gift, too. There's no repeats in here, with a wide mix of Brewdog classics, fruit beers, festive limited-editions and unique collaborations.

Available from:
Brewdog (£49.95) sold out

Looking for more ideas? See more alcohol Advent calendars from our sister title, olive magazine.

The best chocolate Advent calendars for 2023

Tony's Chocolonely countdown calendar

Tony's Chocolonely Advent calendar

Feel good about your chocolate choice with this towering calendar. The ethical principles stack up quickly: Tony’s is committed to reducing slavery in chocolate production, the cocoa used is all Fairtrade, free from palm oil and has no plastic packaging. It’s filled with ‘Tiny Tonys’ in 10 signature flavours and the inside of each door bears a mission statement. You get an extra chocolate on one day, and another where it’s all about the mission.

Available from:
Ocado (£13)

Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate Advent calendar

Hotel Chocolat milk choc calendar

Here’s a classic filled with mini chocolates in fun festive shapes, and Hotel Chocolat also offers variations for dark, white or even unique caramel chocolate or nutmilk (made with hazelnuts) for vegans.

Available from:
Hotel Chocolat (£13)

Chococo Countdown Advent calendar

Chococo advent calendar

This luxury calendar is like no other. Looking like a chic box of chocolates, it offers milk, dark, gold and oat milk chocolates. The numbered box shows you the order to eat them in, with flavours getting progressively more boozy to get you in the party mood by Christmas. Flavours include festive spins as well as classics, such as fizzy pudding, chai spice, a rich molasses and brown butter caramel. A plant-based edition is also available.

Available from:
Chococo (£27.50)

Love Cocoa Luxury Chocolate Neapolitan Advent Calendar

Love Cocoa advent calendar

For a chocolate Advent calendar that feels special but won't break the bank, look to Love Cocoa. Behind each door is a chocolate square in one of four flavours: salted caramel, sea salt dark chocolate, Colombian milk or dark gingerbread chocolate. Plus, it is completely plastic-free, the chocolate is ethically sourced and one tree is planted for every calendar bought.

Available from:
Love Cocoa (£15)

Hotel Chocolat The Advent Calendar For Two

Hotel C truffles calendar

One for the romantics: every door of this calendar contains two Hotel Chocolat truffles made for sharing. The double-door design opens up wide and contains a range of flavours to try, from festive gingerbread praline to salted caramel cream or fruity raspberry rush.

Available from:
Hotel Chocolat (£27.50)

Lindt Lindor pick & mix Advent calendar

Lindt advent calendar

This is the only calendar we've seen that you can fully personalise – perfect if you know exactly what you want. For this pick & mix calendar from Lindt, you can choose from 24 truffle flavours (including some more unusual ones, such as mango white chocolate or popcorn milk chocolate) – meaning you can have no repeats if you'd like to try them all, or you can go big on your favourite flavours.

Available from:
Lindt (£15)

Salcombe Dairy butter caramel Advent calendar

Salcombe Dairy calendar

If you want to support an independent business this Christmas, we love this adorable chocolate caramel calendar from Salcombe Dairy. It has a pretty vintage design, and behind each door is a smooth butter caramel truffle coated in a milk chocolate shell. One for fans of classic flavours.

Available from:
Salcombe Dairy (£20)

Venchi Prestige Advent calendar

Venchi chocolate calendar

For a luxurious chocolate Advent calendar, treat yourself or a loved one to this Venchi version. We love the design with individual drawers revealing chocolate and there's plenty to discover in here – from creamy cremino chocolate stacks to caramelised hazelnut nougatine and crunchy-coated Chocoviar.

Available from:
Prestige (£42)

Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Advent calendar

Wickedly Welsh Chocolate - advent calendar 02 copy

This simple calendar feels more like a box of chocolates than a calendar. Each door tells you what chocolate is inside, with a wide variety of flavours to keep the intrigue going all month.

Available from:
Wickedly Welsh (£19.99)

PLAYin Choc 24-Day Advent calendar

PLAYin CHOC 24 window advent open copy 2

This charming calendar means no kid has to be left out: the chocolate inside is all dairy-, nut-, gluten- and soy-free, catering to allergies. Not only that, but the eco-friendly calendar has an extra-special design: the outer sleeve opens into a playmat, and every door contains a toy along with the chocolate, for hours of festive fun. A 12-day calendar is also available.

Available from:
PLAYin Choc (£49.95)

Melt London The 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar

Melt chocolate Advent calendar

We love the design of this open-book style calendar with pretty illustrated doors. Although there are only 12 doors inside, each one contains a 45g luxury bar so there's plenty to keep you going. Flavours include pistachio blonde chocolate, 70% chilli dark chocolate and gianduja chocolate, plus there's a vegan option.

Available from:
Melt London (£49.99)
Harvey Nichols (£65)

HAPPi Advent calendar

Happi advent calendar

A great pick for vegans, this colourful calendar contains oat milk chocolate made from single-origin Colombian cocoa and is sure to please kids and adults alike. The calendar is plastic-free too.

Available from:
HAPPi (£15)

Ombar Advent calendar

Ombar advent calendars

Another top vegan chocolate calendar pick. We love the tiny individually wrapped bars that lie behind each of the 25 doors of this colourful calendar, in five creative flavours including pistachio or raspberry and vanilla. The chocolate is organic and FairTrade, and the calendar is plastic-free.

Available from:
Ombar (£14.99)

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This review was last updated in November 2023. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk

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