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The Best Advent Calendars of 2021

by Rudy Sanchez on 11/29/2021 | 6 Minute Read

The holiday season is full of traditions, including counting down the month of Advent. This four-week period leads up to Christmas and gets observed in some Christian denominations like the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches. Many Christians count down Advent with a calendar consisting of pockets or windows with something different inside, traditionally Bible verses and sometimes candy or a small trinket (of course, you don't need to be of the Advent persuasion to give yourself a holiday treat for the next 25 days).

These days, however, that small, daily Advent treat doesn’t necessarily have to be candy or toys, and there are calendars for just about every interest. The range of designs is also as broad, from classic Christmas to more minimal, abstract, or elegant interpretations for the holidays.

Below are some of the most exciting Advent calendars of 2021.

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Lancôme Beauty Advent Calendar 2021

An exclusive to UK retailer Selfridges, the Lancôme advent calendar features a different beauty product each day. The calendar is a gift-friendly and festive red and gold box that unfolds into a 3D neighborhood of buildings with a miniature shimmering golden Effiel Tower at the center, a little bit of Christmas in Paris without the travel.

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L’Occitane Classic Beauty Advent Calendar

A yearly tradition for the Manosque, France-based beauty brand, L’Occitane’s Classic advent calendar for 2021 doesn’t disappoint in the design. The box’s front panel has a house-like pointed top, with a fully squared-off back panel. With the depiction of a small town on the front, the panel opens up to depict characters celebrating indoors, the kind of get-together that wasn’t possible for many last Christmas. The graphics get superbly executed, using festive patterns and colors and a refreshing break from the ugly sweater-inspired designs.

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The Office Funko Advent Calendar

The Office may have relocated from Netflix to Peacock this year, but the sitcom about a regional paper distributor still holds court in the hearts of its many fans. Some of The Office’s most memorable episodes featured the Dunder Mifflin Christmas office parties, so an advent calendar based on the faux-documentary is a particularly fun lead-up to Jesus’ birthday.

Funko’s advent calendar, featuring 24 mini-figures, is based on the hit NBC show with packaging simulating Christmas gift wrap and a small panel that folds down to reveal a numbered sticky note for each day and a faux-desktop.

It’s no video iPod, but it sure beats a creepy baby poster or old flannel shirt in a plastic shopping bag.

XO Marshmallow Advent Calendar

Beauty products and mini-figs are excellent, and all, but XO Marshmallow’s Advent calendar brings fluffy and tasty morsels that they keep a secret until that day’s panel is open. The complete list of flavors is on the calendar’s product page, but the day one appears in the calendar remains a mystery, perfect fodder for TikTok posts. In a world where we can binge our favorite shows, the daily surprise is a nice change to our always-connected, instantly-gratified lives.

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XO paints its Advent calendar in a sugar-sweet pastel color palette. A soft blue serves as the calendar’s background, and a pink gingerbread house dominates the front. The 25 windows are in different shapes and colors against a pastel yellow background. The execution is as delectable an experience visually as scarfing down a collection of gourmet marshmallows.

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Penhaligon’s A Fragrant Countdown

British perfume house Penhaligon’s advent calendar, A Fragrant Countdown, uses candy and sweet treats found in more traditional calendars as inspiration for its fragrance-based countdown to Christmas. The calendar is bright and features candy cane red and white stripes, a gilded neck, and a big green bow. The inside is a pine tree dark green with sturdy drawers and traditional holiday graphics like nutcrackers, shiny ornaments, and bows.

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Paper & Tea Advent Calendar

Winters welcome us to drink warm cups of tea, making it a natural theme for advent calendars. Paper & Tea’s 24-day advent calendar keeps things minimal but whimsical with superb and festive illustrations. Each sustainably-sourced offering comes in biodegradable cotton bags, and the calendar itself gets made out of cardboard.

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Tea Forté Warming Joy Advent Calendar

Tea Forté’s Warming Joy calendar uses its signature pyramid tea sachets as inspiration and is a tall triangle-shaped box with windows on the front and back. The windows are also triangle-shaped with an elegant half-circle tab to make opening it up easier. Warming Joy’s side panels are gold, and the front and back are a rich red with a snowfall-like gold shimmer coming down from the top.

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The Cartografie Advent Calendar

London-based chocolate brand Cartografie has created an advent calendar for 2021 that showcases the brand’s best chocolate, with head chocolatier Kae Shibata, creating 25 unique chocolate disks, ganaches, and pralines packaged in recyclable and biodegradable individual boxes. The daily boxes come housed inside a beautiful black box that Cartografie says is meant to be reused next year when 2022’s refill set is available for order. The calendar is wrapped in gold paper depicting the tropics and tied with a red velvet ribbon.

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Chanel N°5 Advent Calendar

As part of the hundredth-anniversary celebration of its iconic N°5 fragrance, Chanel created an advent calendar based on the signature packaging of the classic perfume. The clamshell calendar gets shaped like the N°5 bottle, with gold foil accents along the neck and the unmistakable label upfront. Inside, Chanel goodies like beauty products, jewelry, and accessories fill the box, and its features the same clean white with black border style as N°5 boxes.

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Chanel didn’t use plastic to recreate its N°5 bottle in advent calendar form; instead, it worked with Knoll Packaging to design and manufacture it out of a molded pulp. It is not only the first advent calendar for the Chanel brand; Knoll says it is also the first advent calendar made from molded pulp.

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Man Crates Jerky Advent Calendar

The ugly sweater look in packaging may be getting threadbare at this point, but Man Crates’ jerky advent calendar leans into the brand’s bro character, and it’s the kind of thing folks that love telling dad jokes would enjoy. Man Crate’s jerky calendar comes packed with a daily dose of dried meat in 25 different flavors, with unique choices such as root beer, sasparilla, and Thai satay. The calendar front is in that knitted visual style with some funny additions, such as Santa bareback riding a reindeer. Beefy replaces Merry in “Beefy Christmas.” Finally, the white bulls look like the animals from the educational video game Oregon Trail.

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