The Gifting Advent Calendar Craze

Christmas really has come early! – The rise of the Advent calendar

advent calendarIt can’t have escaped your notice that as a nation we have gone advent calendar crazy this year.  A growing trend over recent years, advent calendars are no longer limited to chocolates but now include, health and beauty, gadgets, toys, alcohol and food with price tags into the hundreds of pounds.  It is actually very hard to find a store that doesn’t offer an advent calendar bursting with its finest selection of products.

Is it a harmless extension of Christmas gifting or have we got so greedy and impatient that we can no longer wait until Christmas Day for our presents?

Throughout November, gift advent calendars have taken pride of place in store windows and table displays.  I have been stunned by the number of people, crowds almost, surrounding these calendars in M&S, Boots, and John Lewis to name a few.

advent calendarI looked closely at the 24 items hidden inside the John Lewis beauty calendar and whilst there is a very broad and attractive selection of brands and products, the idea of ever needing three different facial cleansers seems somewhat over indulgent.   The colour and scent combinations are probably selected as best sellers, however wouldn’t suit everybody.  Therefore, with a price tag of £149 for £300 worth of contents, would most people really even want £149 worth of products?





Who is buying?

I have had much debate with people over the past month about whether advent calendars are a gift for another or a gift to self.  In reality it is probably a bit of everything; gifts for a spouse, a family member or friend and also just a pre Christmas treat for yourself.  I doubt that gift calendars are bought for the surprise element behind each door but the overall contents, exclusive products and often great value for money.  Every gift advent calendar on the market has the contents displayed in front or at the very least described on the box reverse, therefore taking away any surprise or excitement.  There is something warming about extending the joy of giving into the whole of December and treating someone every day to something they will love.  Equally, if buying a treat for yourself and saving money then who can argue.  Personally I just think it’s a shame that the innocence of excitement and anticipation throughout December is being exchanged for opening an expensive gift daily.

Is it an unnecessary indulgence?

advent calendarAccording to Real Business, UK Christmas spending was a record £77.56 billion last year and one in three Brits put their spending on credit (The Telegraph and charity National Debtline).  This means that not only are we spending an extortionate amount, but we can’t really afford it.  It therefore seems careless to extend Christmas gifting into advent.

Whether or not you are of religious faith, you surely must agree that the meaning of Christmas is being overshadowed by a need for presents.  I was very pleased to spot that WHSmith still offer a whole range of card advent calendars detailing the nativity behind each door.

As a child I was more than happy to open a door each day in December and excitedly find a Christmas shaped chocolate.  Now it seems children need to receive a new piece of Lego or Smiggle stationery for 24 days before then facing a mountain of presents on Christmas Day.

Honestly, I am on the fence as to whether it is outrageously greedy or all in the name of Christmas spirit.

What do you think?

advent calendarWhat’s available?

Here is a list of just some of the high street stores and brands offering a gift advent calendar this year:

Boots, The Body Shop, John Lewis, M&S, House of Fraser, Smiggle, Crayola, Lego, Duplo, Clinique, Accessorize, H&M, Pringles, Kellogg’s, Man Stuff

Despite my thoughts on the subject, with all that’s on offer, if you have the money and desire to invest in a gifting advent calendar then go ahead…….it is Christmas after all!



About the Author: Anna Grigg

Retail Analyst and Consultant at Bright Disposition Ltd.
Anna has a background in buying and previously bought both Stationery and Gifts for Sainsburys.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *