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Dec 03, 2018

The advent of a new era…

by Becky Reid - Account Director

The advent of a new era…

The start of the advent calendar tradition dates back to the mid-19th century when German Christians would mark a chalk line on their door or light candles to count the days leading up to Christmas. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the first printed advent calendar was produced.

The first chocolate advent calendar appeared in 1958 but it wasn’t until 1971 when Cadbury got involved and launched their first advent calendar in the UK. Though after a few more ad hoc appearances in the next 22 years, the Cadbury’s calendar did not become a mainstay until 1993. There are of course other chocolate brands who produced calendars but it’s interesting that it took 2 decades for it to become a staple of the festive season.

Increasingly there now seems to be a trend towards more expensive advent calendars and long gone are the days of paper or chocolate ones being the most exciting part of advent. Now you can buy calendars filled with all sorts of treats from expensive candles and beauty essentials to toys or alcohol. There is a calendar to suit everyone, whether you are treating a loved one or yourself. Is this just the next step in the mass commercialism that Christmas has come to represent? In some people’s eyes, maybe!

The luxury advent calendar properly took off in 2010 and was led by Selfridges who launched its beauty calendar retailing at £60 and is now a staple part of autumn... it is not unheard of for £250 calendars to sell out within 24 hours.

The most expensive calendar seems to be one by Porsche who in 2010 unveiled a million dollar (£613,000) advent calendar at Harrods – one of five available worldwide (one for each continent). It featured items such as a speedboat, a kitchen and a rather expensive watch. I wonder if they all sold that year?!

Another which caught my attention but for very different PR reasons, was from Greggs in 2017. For £24 you received a calendar filled with tokens which were to be exchanged for 24 days’ worth of baked goodies…

A review of this year’s festive offerings include:

A boozy selection from Fever-Tree which contains 12 gins and 12 cans of Fever Tree tonic. The only dilemma is whether to enjoy a G&T every other day, or buy two calendars to ensure you can enjoy your favourite every day during advent.

For those who like Good King Wenceslas, like it deep and CRISP and even…

Pringles has a 12 door calendar offering a mini pot behind each door. Another case of having to buy two calendars if you would like to consume on a daily basis in the run up to Christmas.

The next is the ultimate advent treat for cheese lovers with 24 cheese samples including a special edition gingerbread Wensleydale cheese for Christmas Eve.

For those who dream of nothing more than beer and pork scratchings, then this one is for you. The Snaffling Pig Company has partnered with Meantime brewing Company and are offering 12 beers and 12 bags of scratchings for you to enjoy this December.

If you are keen to steer your wee ones from being subjected to the inevitable increased chocolate consumption over the festive period, then a calendar to consider is the Crayola Christmas Countdown which contains 24 gifts from crayons to Christmas pictures to colour in. The final masterpieces could double up as Christmas decorations – everyone’s a winner!

Looking to treat other important canine members of the family? Then look no further than either the Lily’s Kitchen Christmas Spectacular calendar or the Pedigree calendar with treats for each day leading up to Christmas.

The last calendar that I think is worth a mention moves away from the luxurious (and some could argue, quite selfish) calendars available this year… it is the ‘Advent of Change’ from John Lewis & Partners. Each day on the calendar reveals a new charity recipient that benefits from a £1 donation from the purchase of the calendar and details how the contribution will be put to good use. The calendar is also wrapped in a biodegradable potato starch film and manufactured in the UK using FSC-certified paper, vegetable oil-based inks and biodegradable glue. A thoughtful and meaningful calendar for those who would like to get involved in the excitement of the advent countdown but are keen to give something back. 

It seems that whatever you or those close to you are into, there is an advent calendar to suit all tastes.

If anyone would like to buy me any of the above advent calendars, please feel free to send them through to me at the Once Upon a Time offices in Soho!

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