Best alternative advent calendars 2022: From popcorn to pork crackling

·13-min read
 (Popcorn Shed )
(Popcorn Shed )

In the final hurdle of the year, conversation is dominated by one subject: Christmas.

The big day may still be weeks off, but if you’re anything like us, you’ve already started thinking about the perfect gift and picturing your festive look this year. You may have even begun dusting off your faux Christmas tree from the attic, ready to unbox the moment it’s socially acceptable.

While we’re waiting in earnest for the parties, reunions and, let’s be honest, the food, there’s one thing that’s making us fidget with excitement right now: shopping for advent calendars.

The festive must-have has come a long, long way from the chocolate-stuffed versions we yearned over as kids. Now they’re a fixture all of their own, with options to answer every taste, budget and fancy you can think of, from stationery to sex toys, booze to beauty.

But while many the contents are made for an adult audience, the excitement of tearing open a fresh window every morning remains giddily childlike, no matter how old you are.

To showcase the sheer variety on offer, we’ve put together an edit of the weirdest, wildest and downright wonderful advent calendars to make Yuletide 2022 even more special.

Check out the best alternative Christmas advent calendars to get before they sell out.

Shop the edit below

Fortnum's Feasting Advent Calendar

Dust down your elasticated loungewear on the last night of November if you plan to crack into this feast of treats from Fortnum & Mason.

Designed to delight foodies, the commanding blue and red advent calendar squirrels away all manner of mini and deluxe-sized gourmet goodies, directly from F&M’s famous foodhall. We’re talking teas, preserves, chocolate truffles and condiments that will make mealtimes sing, and all of which can make a guest appearance on the table for Christmas lunch.

An advent calendar like this would earn serious brownie points if you’re planning to give it to someone, but we’re eyeing it up as a self-gift treat to savour for ourselves.

If not at Christmas, then when?

Buy now £200.00, F&M

Cartwright & Butler Advent Calendar

The seasonal directive of eating, drinking and being merry cannot be overlooked, so why not nail all three and splash out on this food-filled advent? It’s jam-packed with Cartwright & Butler’s finest preserves and provisions: think 24 tasty morsels housed sliding drawers with products like biscuits and tea, to drinking chocolate, fudge, and chutney. A hefty surprise for someone special.

Buy now £230.00, Cartwright & Butler

Cartwright & Butler 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar

A smaller compilation but just as tasty as its big brother, this 12 drawer calendar comes stacked with delicious surprises. Tuck in from December 12 and feel full of festive cheer come the big day.

Buy now £135.00, Cartwright & Butler

Candy Kittens Advent Calendar for 2022

The vegan confectioners are back at it, pleasing our sweet tooth with their treat-filled advent calendar.

One for sweet-toothed hobbyists, this design comes ready for you to build your own eco-friendly cardboard Christmas tree. Once made, stuff it full of Candy Kittens’ cult vegan sweets, from gourmet gummies to fruity classics and get ready to tuck into from December 1 onwards.

Most pleasingly, the company has thrown in more sweets than the tree has windows, so you can choose select days to bump up your treat. If you don’t eat them all during the initial building phase, you’ve got more willpower than us.

Buy now £12.00, Amazon

English Tea Shop advent calendar 50g

Dressed in a suitably festive box (complete with a ribbon-tied bow), this advent calendar is perfect for the tea-obsessive in your life. They’ll feel serene and calm come Christmas Day, having worked their way through 25 beautiful blends in flavours like sweet vanilla bread, rooibos and vanilla, green tea honey and ginger cranberry. Delightful in taste and price.

Buy now £12.99, Selfridges

Teapigs Tea Advent Calendar 450g

Housed in a concertina-style box, this advent calendar unravels to showcase 24 windows. Each box contains a soothing tea bag with unique flavours like chocolate flake, chai, liquorice & mint or rooibos crème caramel and more.

Buy now £29.99, Selfridges

Walkers Shortbread Advent Calendar

What better time than Christmas to indulge in the daily treat of shortbread? It is the season for excess, after all.

Walkers makes biscuity dreams come true with its 24 window calendar packed with festively flavoured Scottish-baked shortbread, from pure butter to salted caramel and chocolate chip. At this price, why not pair it with a tea advent and really treat yourself?

Buy now £22.99, Selfridges

Paxton & Whitfield’s Artisan Advent Cheese Calendar

If you’re of the view chocolate just can’t hold a light to a decent hunk of cheese - say hello to the advent calendar of dreams. From luxe London cheesemongers Paxton & Whitfield comes this curd-laden advent calendar, with 24 x 75g varieties to whet your appetite until Christmas Day.

As well as brand new cheeses, the compilation also showcases artisan varieties, nearly half of which are brand new this year (welcome news to anyone who chomped through last year’s sell-out calendar). As the cheese is fresh, your calendar will be delivered in three installations (November 30, December 7 and 15) to ensure you’re enjoying your treats at their absolute finest.

It’s this sort of consideration and customer care that puts Paxton & Whitfield a cut above the rest.

Buy now £150.00, Paxton & Whitfield

Snaffling Pig 2022 pork crackling advent calendar 192g

Bring the bar home thanks to this crackling countdown calendar, which hides packets of flavoured pork crackling behind each of the 24 windows.

Flavours pair brilliantly with beer: think Black Pepper, Low & Slow BBQ, Marvellous Maple, Perfectly Salted, Salt ‘N’ Vinegar and even the brand’s festive limited-edition Pigs in Blankets variety.

Enjoy alongside a beer calendar, or opt instead for Snaffling Pig’s Beer and Pork calendar, which combines the two BFFs in one brightly coloured box (£64.99). Squeals guaranteed.

Buy now £19.99, Selfridges

Joe and Seph’s Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar

For a different sort of sweet treat, look to gourmet popcorn company Joe & Seph’s. The brand has launched a deluxe advent calendars packed with a medley of flavour combos. There are 24 mini packs so you can enjoy a popcorn moment every day until December 25. Despatched from September 26.

Looking for the vegan option? Find it at Amazon (£9.99).

Buy now £25.00, Menkind

Popcorn Shed advent calendars

Play Father Christmas well ahead of the special day: Popcorn Shed’s duo of advent calendars this year means you can delight friends and family well ahead of the big moment. Each costing £24.99, choose from the gourmet calendar or the vegan one. They both have 24 windows, with a scrumptious mini snack bag of popcorn hiding behind. There are six flavours to enjoy, enough to be excited for the next day’s offering.

Buy now £24.99, Popcorn Shed

Gin Advent Calendar - Premium Edition (2022 Edition)

Giving gin-lovers a great way to trial new varieties, this premium calendar from Drinks by the Dram helps countdown to Crimbo, sip by delicious sip.

There are 24 x 30cl glass bottles inside, and the brands involved are top-notch: think Bombay, Hendrick’s and Roku. One for aficionados.

Buy now for despatch from October 10.

Buy now £99.95, Master of Malt

Myprotein Advent Calendar

January may be the month for repentance from December’s excess, but if you like to keep in shape year round, you needn’t feel excluded from the advent calendar fun.

Swap sugary treats for muscle-building ones thanks to Myprotein, who has launched a 24 door limited-edition calendar brimming with snacks, challenges, fitness advice and nutrition guidance to help keep you on track.

Products include bestsellers like the Myprotein shaker, Myvegan Double Dough Brownie and multivitamin gummies. With this calendar, you might end the festive season fitter than when it began!

Launches September 26.

Buy now £74.99, Myprotein

Myvegan Advent Calendar

Stay merrily on track throughout December with the help of a fitness-minded vegan advent calendar. This box offers 24 goodies to reveal each day before Christmas, with products like Gooey Filled Cookie and Vegan Chocolate FlavDrops in the mix. Wrapped in jolly red and green Christmas-themed packaging, there’s no better way to obliterate festive FOMO.

Buy now £74.99, Myvegan

Just Spices 2022 Large Advent Calendar

Whether your New Year's resolution is to finesse your home cooking skills, or you know someone with cheffy ambitions, Just Spices' advent calendar is the perfect gift this December.

The pleasingly large tub contains 24 surprises in the form of tasty spice blends, ready to elevate meal times to restaurant-worthy levels. While there are recipe ideas included behind each door, the calendar comes with extras that could make excellent gifts on their own - a 50-idea cookbook, a £5 voucher and chances to win other prizes (one worth £2500).

This option comes with free delivery, but there is a smaller advent calendar to check out too at £34.99 + P&P.

A real cracker.

Buy now £99.99, Just Spices

Lovehoney x Womanizer 2022 Christmas advent calendar

Designed for hetero couples to bring fire and passion to the cold winter nights leading up to Christmas, Lovehoney’s sex toy adult calendar is back with a bang.

This year, the sexual happiness expert has teamed up with the award-winning toy brand Womanizer. Naturally the external suction vibrator, which costs £89.99 alone, is the star attraction, with the other 23 windows holding small gifts designed to keep you occupied between the sheets - think soft bondage and massage, to foreplay products.

In total, there’s £370 worth of products for an RRP of £140. If that doesn’t get your bells jingling, what will?

Buy now £140.00, Lovehoney

Satisfyer Advent Calendar

Turn up the heat this Decemberwith an advent calendar packed with pressies that would make Santa blush. From sexual wellness brand Satisfyer comes two advent calendars, for an XXXmas treat.

First, the Deluxe, which contains a whopping £580 worth of goods, but will only set you back £79.95. Each of the 24 boxes hides a sexy surprise in the form of an adult toy, novelty accessory or an adult game to enjoy solo or with a playmate.

The Premium has the same number of windows with similar surprises, worth £800 but yours for just £149.95. This option features more gadgets to add to your collection, upping the value - and the fun.

But here’s the rub: there’s a limited run of just 1000 each up for grabs. Disappointment is a terrible thing; if you want one, you’ll need to move fast.

Buy now £79.95, Satisfyer

Friends 2022 Advent Calendar

Trying to find non-chocolate advent calendar options for kids can be a tricky task - unless you head to Lost Universe. The online home of pop culture merch has digital aisles heaving with toy-focused countdowns to the big day. Pre-orders are now open on Marvel, Disney, Harry Potter and Pokemon-themed Funko calendars, or opt for a sock-filled calendar for practical but fun gifts you’ll actually use.

The last episode of Friends may have aired 18 years ago (could we feel older?) but the sitcom’s true stans will still love and appreciate this themed advent calendar, packed with stationery and trivia designed to help you reminisce about your favourite episodes. 24 windows.

Buy now £25.00, Lost Universe

Haynes Electronic Games Advent Calendar

When we say there’s a world of advent calendars out there, we’re not kidding. Behold, prime proof: this design that packs in 24 different components to make games like Code Breaker, Memory, Wire Max, Whack a Mole, and more. Hours of fun guaranteed, suitable for ages 14+.

Buy now £25.00, Lost Universe

Fidget Toy Advent Calendar

Last year’s most bewildering toy trend is still going strong, with fidget spinners gracing most-wanted lists for kids everywhere. If you’re looking for a sugar-free advent to delight young ones, head to Menkind where you can find this 24-window design packed to the eyeballs with toys to keep their hands, minds and brains busy. Suitable for ages 3+.

Buy now £20.00, Menkind

Lily’s Kitchen Christmas Cat Advent Calendar 42g

Christmas is a time to celebrate with all members of the family - included the four-legged kind. From gourmet pet food company Lily’s Kitchen comes this cute advent calendar, with a heavy sprinkling of Yuletide charm. There are plenty of surprises in store for your feline friend, from luxurious gifts to toys and novelties.

The brand also offers a version for dogs which you can find here for the same price (£20).

Buy now £20.00, Selfridges

Scrumbles Cat and Dog advent calendars

Leave your furry friends in no doubt over your feelings for them this Christmas. An advent calendar for cats and dogs is just the ticket to making them feel loved and thoroughly spoiled this December.

Buy now £8.00, Amazon

Paperchase The Big Stationery Advent Calendar 2022

Know a stationery fan? There are three to choose from at high street stationer Paperchase, but the biggest and best is this one. A fun option for kids and adults alike, the gingerbread house cover flips back to reveal a bevvy of brightly coloured windows, the perfect dopamine hit on cold winter morning. Contents are worth over £100 and include pencil case essentials as well as a diary for the year ahead and a £5 voucher to redeem in store.

Buy now £45.00, Paperchase

Astrid & Miyu Advent Calendar 2022

Whether it will snow this year is anyone’s guess, but you can guarantee you’ll glisten through the season thanks to this jewellery packed advent calendar from Astrid & Miyu.

Hot on the success of last year’s sell-out calendar, it’s back - and prettier than ever. There are two options: a 12 day calendar (£290) and a deluxe 24 window option (£590), each packed with earrings, necklaces, bracelets and bonus surprises like vouchers to spend in-store. Both will be available from October 13 - set your reminders now.

Buy now £290.00, Astrid & Miyu

12 Days of Grove & Vae Advent Calendar

Jewellery advent calendars may feel a tad excessive, but the cost of the box is always lower than if you were to buy the pieces individually - and besides, the element of surprise is beyond priceless.

Emerging Jewellery Brand of the Year 2022 nominee Grove and Vae is ready to make your Christmas with its 12 day countdown, packed with striking pieces to elevate your jewellery box. The selection includes the brand bestseller, the Maia Gold Malachite Necklace, which costs £80 alone. If bought separately, the advent calendar’s contents come to a cool £679, not bad when you consider the RRP.

On pre-sale from October.

Buy now £389.00, Grove and Vae