I’m old enough to remember when the only thing you could get in an Advent calendar was a piece of chocolate — or during an unfortunate year, just a picture hiding behind those tiny cardboard doors. Womp. Times have changed and the Christmas season has never been better for those seeking little food and drink surprises in the run-up to the big day.
The holiday shopping season is just around the bend, and there’s reason to believe shipping delays will make snagging the best food and drink Advent calendars a scrappy affair. Some of the top-rated calendars sell out and fast and supplies are limited so we’re mapping out our favorites to set up for the tastiest December on record.
The best Advent calendar for you or the fam depends on your personal taste, but if nothing tickles your fancy like good food and better drinks, these 2021 Advent calendars will get you into the holiday spirit. We’re talking all kinds of edible and drinkable Advent calendars — everything from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer.
Let’s start celebrating this festive season in the most delicious way possible. Besides, you deserve every morsel of pleasure you can find in the last days of 2021. These are our picks for the best Advent calendars of 2021, which we update periodically. (Note: Prices shown do not include shipping and handling where applicable.) We’ve also noted calendars that aren’t available yet for order and will update this article when they are.
If there’s a more fun way to try some new wines this December, I don’t know about it. This cal features 12 FULL bottles of wine in a mix of styles from some serious wineries. Winemakers represented include BR Cohn, Fireside, Laetitia Vineyards and more. If you haven’t done the math, that’s $9 a bottle — making this quite possibly the best holiday gift for a wine drinker on your list.
You can order now and the “calendars” will start shipping Nov. 29.
For those who prefer their good cheer in stronger liquid form, this calendar serves up 24 samples of whiskey from around the world, plus a Glencairn glass, Flaviar coaster and tasting notes for everything you’ll be sipping.
These boozy calendars are available for preorder now.
Harry and David
This delightful wooden gift box looks like a stack of presents — and each of the 12 drawers contains a different candy treat such as Moose Munch, chocolate-covered cherries, truffles, mints and malt balls. And once the confections are gone, the box can be reused for years to come. The calendars start shipping Oct. 13.
Harry and David
If all you care about is the Moose Munch — and who could blame you? — this merry, snowy-scene Advent calendar contains a dozen different flavors of the sweet gourmet popcorn mix, including dark chocolate salted caramel, white chocolate Cinnabon, dark chocolate peppermint bark and mint chocolate with candy trees.
Yet another way to treat a sweet tooth, this whimsically designed calendar hides creamy, handmade caramels in 12 amazing flavors like Tapped Maple, Cinnamon Clove, Dark Roasted Mocha, Chocolate Peppermint and Ginger Fusion — as well as classic Vanilla. The small-batch candies are slow cooked in copper kettles using the best (and fewest) ingredients possible.
Williams Sonoma is offering a lavishly illustrated chocolate Advent calendar filled with the usual milk chocolate confections, but even those of us who eagerly await each season’s hater’s guide to its Christmas catalog must admit, its peppermint bark is fire. This cute calendar contains 24 pieces of it in festive shapes. Good luck not getting ahead of yourself.
Tea lovers, look no further. In this advent calendar from Parisian tea company Palais des Thés, you get 24 different teas so you can enjoy a fresh cup every morning leading up to Christmas. Naturally, the red and gold design is très chic.
If it’s matcha that makes you merry, this calendar will have you seeing (and sipping) green. It hides a mix of high-quality green tea blends as well as green tea-infused treats like matcha honey, chocolate and even vegan matcha gummies shaped like alligators
There’s no reason to leave your best four-legged friend out of the Advent calendar tradition either. This one is filled with three different types of rawhide-free chews that are easy to digest and sure to delight, made with real chicken and sweet potatoes. If you want to lavish them with even more affection, get them a pet food delivery subscription for Christmas. Because even dogs don’t want another sweater.
With 24 adorably petite jars of different limited-edition jams and jellies (plus honey), all of which are free of high fructose corn syrup and totally all-natural, this is perfect for any toast lover on your list this holiday season (or, you know, yourself). There’s a mix of both new and classic flavors, including cherry with hibiscus flower, passion fruit and peach with jasmine. This sold out fast last Christmas season — and every Christmas before that — so don’t hesitate if preserves are your jam!
There’s a wide range of chocolate Advent calendars, from the cheap (and waxy) drugstore kind to high-end luxury advent calendar versions that are way beyond any Secret Santa budget. But for a fairly priced option and solid quality too, you can’t go wrong with Godiva. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it and it’s packed into a charmingly illustrated Advent calendar that’ll make you smile even before you fetch your daily piece of creamy chocolate.
Joe & Seph’s Popcorn
The charming snowy Victorian storefront conceals 12 different flavors of popcorn, including salted caramel, toffee apple and cinnamon, banoffee pie, pumpkin spice, double chocolate, tiramisu and gingerbread. And none of them contain artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. But all of them are suitable for vegetarians. If it sells out at World Market, you can order directly from the company in the UK for shipping to the US and Canada.
No Whey! Foods
Chocolate Advent calendars are the most prevalent of the edibles, but, sadly, most of them aren’t vegan-friendly. But this one is — and it’s also gluten-free and allergy-friendly. The vegan chocolates are each adorned with a different holiday design.
For wannabe wizards, this Harry Potter-themed calendar conceals a mix of candies that even muggles will love, including Fizzing Whizbees, Gummy Frogs, Butterscotch Drops and (of course) Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Cast your summoning charm ASAP because we’re guessing these will sell out before you can say accio!
If you’re a fan of this British brand, it also offers a cozy calendar with 24 different rare teas inside, including classic options like Earl Grey and more unusual offerings such as gin and tonic green tea and apricot, honey and lavender infusion.
This bright and cheerful Advent calendar is filled with 24 different festive tea flavors to brew up fresh excitement each day this December. You’ll find blends like Winter Earl Grey, Candy Cane Crush, Gingerbread Blondie and Chocolate Chili Chai in this mix.
If you or your lucky gift recipient prefers java to tea, this compact package holds 24 craft coffees (ground or whole bean) to jolt you into a jolly mood — but the brand also offers a tea Advent calendar of its own, as well as a hot cocoa advent calendar for those who want to wind down with a cozy cup of chocolate.
This adorably festive calendar houses 24 different candies (four pieces of each), from apple frogs and merry berries to birthday cookie bites and Santa’s donuts and is perfect for the person with a sweet tooth in your life who’s tired of the usual chocolate — if such people actually exist.
If you’re near an Aldi, it’s also bringing back its cult-favorite wine advent calendar for 2021, in stores on Nov. 3. It features a mix of red, white and bubbly in 24 mini bottles. Look out for several other Advent calendars in store this holiday season too, including ones for beer, hard seltzer, chocolate, cheese and both cat and dog treats — you can pretty much check off everyone on your list.
So Wrong It’s Nom
Savory advent calendars are fairly rare but this one would be special even if they weren’t — because it’s full of nine varieties of fine cheese (like smoky Applewood British cheddar and herbal Ilchester Derby with sage), all suitable for vegetarians. It will be available at select Target stores, as well as Supervalu, Sprouts, Schnucks, Meijer, Jewel, Lidl and Publix locations starting in November. Check back for more details.
The Snaffling Pig
If your cravings are more carnivorous, check out this amazing pork crackling Advent calendar. It’s filled with 24 mini bags of crunchy pig skin snacks in six different flavors — Pigs in Blankets, Low and Slow BBQ, Maple, Black Pepper, Salt ‘n’ Vinegar and Perfectly Salted. We’ll update this when it becomes available for order in 2021.
This year, wine subscription service Vinebox is offering a Home for the Holidays version of its popular wine advent calendar. It contains 12 glasses of wine (a mix of red and white — and potentially a surprise winter rosé) expertly curated from all over Europe, in a sleek, sophisticated package to boot. Drink one every night (or day) to wind down 2021, or give it as a sure-to-be-appreciated gift this Christmas season.
A version of this story originally posted last year, but it’s been updated with new picks for 2021.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.