Each year our staff and contributors round up their best gift ideas for cooks, eaters, and the kitchen-curious. Read on for the best advent calendars for counting down the holidays.
You know what’s better than opening one big present on Christmas morning? Opening a bunch of little presents every day for a month. At least, that’s always been my opinion. I’ve been obsessed with advent calendars for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I would take any chocolate advent calendar I could get—usually something from the grocery store, with a cartoon Santa motif and a lot of milk chocolate in novelty shapes.
While one never outgrows the thrill of popping open a perforated cardboard door and getting a mini chocolate reindeer every day during the holiday season, there are a lot of great food advent calendars that cater to a more refined palate. On this list, you’ll find classics like the Bonne Maman mini jam advent calendar and our favorite coffee advent calendar, as well as a limited edition cheese calendar and a truly luxurious gourmand gift set that comes with a tiny tin of sea salt. Buy one (or a few) for yourself, or get your holiday gift giving out of the way early and snap up a few for your friends.
Nothing says countdown to Christmas quite like eating a little candy every day in December, which is why chocolate advent calendars are the first thing most people think of. If elegant French confections and a dose of dark chocolate are essential little treats to get you through the day, look no further.
Maison du Chocolat makes my favorite chocolate advent calendar, period. The 2023 edition is shaped like a snowflake and comes with a ribbon loop, so you can hang it as part of your holiday season decor. It comes with 24 pieces of expertly-crafted French chocolate, with everything from pralines and truffles to miniature chocolate bars. This is the kind of advent calendar you’ll want to show off, but note that each day comes with just one piece, and you won’t want to share.
Even if you “don’t like licorice,” you should still try the Lakrids by Bülow Danish Licorice Christmas advent calendar. Many of the doors come with a two pack of chocolate-coated licorice balls, so you could share, but I, personally, would not. I’m still thinking about the strawberry milkshake licorice that came with this one, but there are also classic sweet and salty black licorice options in the mix. The elegant black and gold box is chic enough that you can leave it out on display all month.
Francophiles, dessert-lovers, and people like me who are simply obsessed with all things Ladurée, this is the only advent calendar you truly need. The iconic French patisserie was featured in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, so it’s no surprise that this is the prettiest, most over-the-top advent calendar on our list. The variety in this calendar is truly impressive. On one day, you might get a tiny jar of pistachio caramel; on the next, you might find a Eugénie cookie in their signature Marie Antoinette flavor.
Lady M is known for their ethereal crepe cakes, which you won’t find in this calendar. What you will find is a delightful array of chocolates, jelly candies, and delicate wafer biscuits, all in a fun pop up box that looks like a magical Christmas village. At under $100, it’s also one of the better values on this list, especially considering the quality and design.
Delsyia’s advent calendar comes with 25 dark chocolate truffles, each with a number printed on top. This might be the most fun countdown calendar, because you have to guess the flavor of each day’s chocolate with the help of a riddle. With options like beef bourguignon and taco al pastor, it’s a true workout for your palate.
More is more when it comes to the holiday season, which is why I’m a big advocate of getting at least two advent calendars every year: one to eat, and one to drink. This means you can make a whole thing out of opening both your calendars and get a surprise chocolate and wine pairing, for example.
Vinebox’s wine advent calendars sell out every year, and I completely understand why. Split into two sets of 12 (one with whites, one with reds), you can either pick one or buy both for an ultimate month of wine tasting. Each box contains wines from all over the world, and each bottle comes with two servings of wine.
Even if tea isn’t your whole personality (but especially if it is), this luxury French tea advent calendar is the perfect way to add a little moment of calm to every day of the holiday season. The calendar itself has a gorgeous blue and silver winter wonderland design, and the little cotton tea bags are both chic and eco-friendly. Expect a range of surprising teas inside, like the fruit Montagne Bleu and an organic decaf herbal blend.
If you’re getting a coffee advent calendar this year, get this stunner from Onyx Coffee Lab. The fold-out design will look great sitting out on your coffee bar, and will make even the most hectic mornings of last-minute holiday shopping and scrambling to clear out your inbox feel special. Each day comes with enough whole bean coffee to make two cups of coffee, and it comes with a mix of seasonal blends and year-round favorites.
Hot chocolate is best when shared with someone you love (or at least like!), so it’s a good thing that Whittard of Chelsea’s hot chocolate advent calendar comes with enough mix to make two cups per day. This month-long calendar comes with an assortment of 12 flavors of cocoa mix (think: peanut butter, and sticky toffee pudding) so you will get some repeats, but you won’t be upset about it.
If the countdown to Christmas requires something a little stronger, the World Whisky Advent Calendar from The Whisky Exchange will keep Santa’s workshop functioning. Each day, you’ll get a different wax-sealed dram of some of the world’s best whiskey. You could use them to spike your eggnog, but the flavors are so complex, you’ll probably want to savor them straight up.
If you’re more of a savory person, or are a card-carrying member of the Bonne Maman cult, don’t worry—I didn’t forget you. These advent calendars will help you count down the days of Christmas like a true gourmand.
The limited edition Bonne Maman advent calendar is a cult favorite year after year, because who can resist opening and tasting a tiny jar of jam every day? Literally no one.
This luxury advent calendar from Williams Sonoma has a little bit of everything, so it’s perfect if you can’t decide what kind of foodie advent calendar you want. There are a few classics like the brand’s iconic peppermint bark and some mini jars of Bonne Maman preserves, but there’s also a pocket-sized tin of Jacobson’s sea salt, and some adorable cookware-inspired ornaments.
If cookie exchange season has you craving something fiery to balance out all the sweets (or if your in-laws always under-season everything) this hot sauce calendar will feel like a welcome respite from the Christmas sugar rush. This calendar comes with 12 mini bottles of hot sauce in a range of flavors, from the milder smoky horseradish to the bhut jolokia-infused Zombie Apocalypse.
Okay, so this one doesn’t have cute little doors to open, but it is without question the most practical Christmas countdown option. During those last few weeks of December, your kitchen probably looks like a battlefield, and it can be unreasonably difficult to pull together a simple lunch or dinner while you’re worrying over a 12-step showstopper dessert. Enter the 12 days of noodles, which is exactly what it sounds like: 12 packs of A-sha instant noodles in three different flavors.