gift guide: best advent calendars 2018

‘Tis the season for lots of things: gift-getting, cookie baking, festive decorating, saying “’tis the season'”—and advent calendars, of course. What better way to mark each day of the month leading up to Christmas than revealing a little treat behind a numbered door? Food and drink advent calendars—full of everything from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer (and even—no joke—pork rinds) are extra-special, so we’ve rounded up the best selection.

While you’ll have to rush to get some of these 24-day advent calendars in time to start opening them on December 1, others celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with half the number of surprises, so you still have a couple weeks to get yours and crack them open right on schedule. In any case, these edible advent calendars make lovely early gifts for your favorite people, or a sweet advance present to yourself.

Editor’s Note: Prices shown do not include shipping and handling.

Twelve Nights of Wine, $129 on Vinebox

Vinebox 12 Nights of Wine advent calendar

Vinebox

Get 12 glasses of wine (a mix of red and white) expertly curated from around the world, all in a sleek, sophisticated package. Ten lucky people will find a golden bottle inside their box—in which case, they’ll win a year-long complimentary Vinebox subscription! Almost as good as inheriting a chocolate factory, with way less responsibility.See It

Cheese Advent Calendar, $20 at select Target stores

cheese advent calendar

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 five varieties of fine cheese (like smoky Applewood British cheddar and creamy Ilchester Wensleydale, studded with sweet-tart cranberries), all suitable for vegetarians. In the U.S., it’s available at select Target stores—but if there isn’t one near you, no need to cancel Christmas! Just buy your own reusable advent calendar and put whatever cheeses you want inside it (and be sure to keep it in the fridge).See It

What On Earth LED-Lighted Santa's Workshop 24-Day Wooden Advent Calendar, $59.99

This darling wooden advent calendar lights up thanks to two AA batteries, and is sure to become a cherished heirloom, whether you put cheese in it or not.
See It

Bonne Maman Preserves Advent Calendar, $14.99 at World Market (originally $29.99)

Bonne Maman advent calendar with jam, jelly, and preserves

Bonne Maman

With 24 adorably petite jars of different limited-edition jams and jellies, all of which are free of high fructose corn syrup and totally all-natural, this is perfect for any toast lover on your list (or, you know, yourself). There’s a mix of both new and classic flavors, including apricot-peach, blueberry-blackcurrant, mirabelle plum, orange-cinnamon, raspberry-lychee, and even grapefruit-dragonfruit. It’s sold out in most places already, so nab one at this great price (plus shipping) before it’s too late!See It

12 Days of Christmas Gift Tower, $89.99 at Harry & David

Harry & David advent calendar gift box

Harry & David

This delightful wooden gift box contains milk and dark chocolate Moose Munch, milk chocolate mini melts, milk chocolate covered cherries, raspberry linzer cookies, coconut macaroons, milk chocolate malt balls, dark chocolate truffles, milk chocolate peppermint truffles, and milk chocolate coins, and the little house can be reused for years to come.See It

Sugarfina Neiman Marcus 2018 Holiday Trunk, $225 at Neiman Marcus

Sugarfina candy holiday trunk 2018

Sugarfina/Neiman Marcus

Okay, so the actual official Sugarfina advent calendar is already sold out, but this holiday trunk happens to have 20 different high-quality candies inside (like Champagne Bears, Sugarfina Pearls, and Birthday Cake Caramels, just to name a few), making it a pretty perfect choice for the person with a sweet tooth in your life—as long as you have deep pockets, anyway. Slap some numbered stickers on each cube and you’ve got yourself a mod take on a classic advent calendar, and a serious sugar rush.See It

24 Days of Vegan Candy, $39 at Squish

This one ships from Canada and won't arrive until after December 1, but that just means you'll get to open multiple doors at once when it does show up!
See It

Angelina Chocolate Advent Calendar, $50 at Neiman Marcus

Angelina chocolate advent calendar

Angelina/Neiman Marcus

This beautifully designed advent calendar emulates the Parisian tearoom, The Angelina Cafe, from which the gourmet chocolates inside originate. (See the interior at the top of this post.) With an assortment of sweets including chocolate-covered crisp crepes, chocolate-hazelnut giandujas, white and dark chocolate pralines, and milk chocolate almonds, this is an elegant and delicious option.See It

Charbonnel et Walker Paper Theater Collection Advent Calendar, $75 at Neiman Marcus

Charbonnel et Walker chocolate advent calendar

Charbonnel et Walker

Open the double doors of this theater-inspired advent calendar to reveal a grand assortment of rich truffles and bonbons from the English chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker, known for their couverture dark chocolate since 1875.See It

Haut-Chocolat Calendar of Advent, $140 at Vosges

Vosges Haut Chocolat chocolate advent calendar

Vosges Haut Chocolat

If you want to go all-out, this high-end advent calendar is filled with 24 different varieties of Vosges chocolate, including caramels (like maple sugar-walnut and cardamom-rose), mini exotic chocolate bars (like matcha-mint and guajillo-chipotle), and a few whimsical figures like hedgehogs and gnomes. It’s also an interactive art piece of sorts: you flip each drawer when you replace it after grabbing your snack, and gradually reveal a hidden design.See It

Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar, $16.95 at Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma chocolate advent calendar

Williams-Sonoma

At a much gentler price point, this cute-as-a-button snowman-bedecked advent calendar is filled with classic milk chocolates in festive foil wrappers. You can pick it up in stores; check online for availability.See It

Vegan Chocolate Advent Calendar, $22.95 at No Whey! Foods

Vegan chocolate advent calendar

No Whey! Foods

Clearly, chocolate advent calendars are the most prevalent example of the edible form, but sadly, most aren’t an option for vegans. Well, this one is—and it’s also gluten-free and allergy-friendly! It contains vegan chocolates, cookies, brownies, and cake bites, as well as holiday figurines.See It

24 Days of Tea, $49 at David’s Tea

24 Days of Tea advent calendar

David’s Tea

Tea lovers, look no further. In this advent calendar, you get 24 different teas (from bestselling blends and throwback favorites to web exclusives and sneak peeks of new varieties), and you get two servings of each one, so you can share a sip with someone you love (or just double up your own cup). It also comes with a limited-edition “Perfect Spoon.”See It

Yawn Coffee Advent Calendar, $29.17 on Etsy

coffee advent calendar

Yawn Coffee/Etsy

If you or your lucky gift recipient prefers java to tea, this compact package holds 24 different craft coffees (ground or whole bean) to jolt you into a jolly mood.See It

2018 Spirits Advent Calendar, $59 at Heritage Distilling Co.

Heritage Distilling Co. booze advent calendar with bourbon, gin, and vodka

Heritage Distilling Co.

For those who like good cheer in stronger liquid form, this calendar conceals a variety of bourbons (including a brown sugar bourbon), rye whiskey, gin, and a few flavored vodkas (coffee, vanilla, and blood orange). Due to state laws, they can’t ship to several places, but check their list; you might be in luck.See It

DIY Booze Advent Calendar, $14.99 on Amazon

If you're in a state where the above calendar can't be shipped, consider buying one of these and adding your own mini bottles (and maybe some cocktail snacks and accessories) to the empty spaces inside.
See It

Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar, $31.86 at Joe & Seph’s

gourmet popcorn advent calendar

Joe&Seph’s/Facebook

This charming advent calendar’s snowy Victorian storefront conceals 12 different flavors of popcorn (including salted caramel, toffee apple and cinnamon, banoffee pie, raspberry cheesecake, double chocolate, and cookies and cream)—none of which contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and all of which are suitable for vegetarians. It comes from the UK, but they ship to the U.S. and Canada.See It

Krampus Chocolate Advent Calendar, $39.99 on Etsy

Krampus advent calendar

PTdesignstore/Etsy

If you’re into the darker side of Christmas, this awesomely illustrated Krampus advent calendar is perfect—but there’s a very limited supply, as they’re handmade. (They’re also filled with handmade chocolates to sweeten the deal.) If you’re in New York, you may be able to arrange free pick-up to bypass delivery fees.See It

The Snaffling Pig Pork Crackling Advent Calendar, $22.09 at British Corner Shop

Snaffling Pig pork rinds advent calendar

Snaffling Pig/British Corner Shop

If your cravings are more carnivorous, check out this amazing pork crackling advent calendar, which is filled with 24 mini bags of crunchy pig skin snacks in 6 different flavors (Pigs in Blankets, Low & Slow BBQ, Maple, Black Pepper, Salt ‘N’ Vinegar, and Perfectly Salted).See It

The 25 Sauces of Christmas Hot Sauce Advent Calendar, $74.95 on Amazon

hot sauce advent calendar

BYOBHotSauce/Amazon

Have a hot-head in your life? Or maybe that’s you? Then this advent calendar packed with 25 different mini bottles of hot sauce is likely to kindle a warm glow of happiness (and capsaicin).See It

Reber Mozart Advent Calendar, $44.95 at The Vermont Country Store

Reber Mozart German marzipan advent calendar

The Vermont Country Store

Marzipan can be divisive, but if you know someone who loves it, or at least compulsively eats it around Christmastime (ahem), this is the perfect pick for them. The German-made chocolate-covered marzipan candies within the lavishly illustrated box come in various configurations of the standard almond marzipan and pistachio marzipan, with hazelnut nougat and milk and dark chocolate.See It

DIY (or BYOB) Beer Advent Calendar, $12 – $24 at Total Wine

DIY beer advent calendar

Total Wine

If you have a Costco near you, they’re selling a German beer advent calendar at many of their stores for $60, but barring that, you can pick up a 12- or 24-pack DIY beer advent calendar box at Total Wine, then fill it with your own hand-picked bottles and cans. Or, get crafty and build your own beer advent calendar from scratch!See It

Related Video: Trader Joe’s New Edible Advent Calendar Is a Must-Buy for Dog Owners

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Header image courtesy of Neiman Marcus.

Jen is an associate content producer at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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