Issue of the day: The rise of luxury Advent calendars

THEY were once simple affairs that involved opening a window and seeing a picture of Santa or the manger, but advent calendars are now incredibly big business and some are already selling out for 2021.

Luxury calendars are not ‘new’, though?

The advent of luxurious advent calendars is a good few years in the making, that’s true, but the cost is on the up, with the contents increasingly varied, from food and alcohol, to jewellery and ornaments.


When was the first one produced?

It’s thought the first modern luxurious version dates to around 2010, when London department store, Selfridges, launched its beauty calendar in conjunction with cosmetics giant, L’Oréal, full of samples of products from its variety of brands, including Lancôme.


It wasn’t that expensive?

At £60, it was cheaper than some of the advent calendars for sale now, although it was dwarfed by the Porsche 2010 advent calendar that retailed for a cool $1 million, giving away a pair of 18 carat gold sunglasses, aluminium fountain pens, a lambskin jacket, a limited edition chronograph watch, a customisable designer kitchen and a luxury eight-meter yacht, amongst other items.


What are the most expensive calendars this year?

There are plenty of costly calendars to choose from, none more so than the world’s first James Bond 007 advent calendar, a limited edition release that features “12 drawers of Bond-inspired gifts” to open in the run-up to Christmas, with the contents including a Casino Royale prop chip from the table in the 2006 movie, that comes with a certificate of authenticity.


Any others?

Famed Austrian jewellery, watches and crystal firm, Swarovski, has also released a limited edition calendar which promises to “brighten up your December”. Filled with 25 different, expertly crafted ornaments – of which 12 are exclusive to the calendar, it costs £580.


China in your hand?

T’Pau could indeed have been singing about historic fine China firm Wedgwood’s costly calendar, retailing for £650, offering buyers the chance to “open the door and step into a magical Wedgwood Christmas”. The limited edition release offers 24 “porcelain treasures” inspired by the firm’s rich heritage.


Beauty is big business?

There are plenty of beauty calendars on offer, from stores such as John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Liberty, retailing at £159, £40 – when you spend £30 on clothing, home and beauty – and £225 respectively, while Liberty also sells a men’s beauty calendar for £215.


It’s all a far cry from the original calendars?

They date back to 19th century Germany when families would count down to Christmas Eve with chalk lines, before printed calendars began appearing in the early 1900s and Chocolate versions took off in the 1970s. The term ‘Advent’ itself is derived from the Latin word for ‘coming’.


Isn’t it all…too much…?

Well, if you feel the whisky and cheese calendars are encouraging over-indulgence, there is also a fitness advent calendar offering 24 “fitness surprises”, including items such as protein snacks, a skipping rope and a vegan protein cookie, so yeah, “Happy Fitmas” when it comes.


The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992