The 21 Best Advent Calendars and Hanukkah Gift Sets for the Holiday Season
Savor the Christmas anticipation with advent calendars that range from chocolates to beauty products, or ensure eight enjoyable nights of Hanukkah with these gift sets or menorahs. The Buy Side team tested four calendars we heartily recommend (wine and whiskey, anyone?). See also some personal favorites from holiday seasons past and ones we’re buying for this season. For more holiday ideas, see our gift guides.
For a colleague or desk-worker friend
Papier24 Doors of Desk Delights
Do you have someone in your life that goes gaga for office supplies? If so, Papier’s 24 Doors of Desk Delights Advent Calendar is for them. The gorgeous teal box opens to reveal one level of small gifts, with a pull-out drawer underneath hiding the rest. Inside each of the two dozen uniquely shaped boxes are items including washi tape, envelopes, a Papier pen, stickers and more.
For a beauty junkie
SEPHORA COLLECTION Advent Calendar
Sephora is a grownup’s playground for many people; how many times have you stopped in just to freshen up your makeup? Bring that fun and beauty home with the Sephora Collection Advent Calendar. Outside you’ll find positive messages including “the future is yours” and “good vibes only.” Inside there are 24 Sephora-brand small cosmetics, masks, beauty tools, nail polish and more.
For a super-luxe splurge
Abbott LyonAdvent Calendar
For a jewelry lover, this advent gift—the priciest on our list—is impressive both in quality and in the way it’s personalized for your loved one (or for you!). Abbot Lyon’s Advent Calendar is available in your choice of gold or silver (the plating is tarnish-resistant and the jewelry includes a two-year warranty). You can personalize the name on the box, the initial on the pendant and include their birthstone on several pieces. Each day your giftee can slide open a box to reveal a ribbon-tied jewelry pouch with an elegant, wearable piece inside.
Chocolates advent calendar
Compartés Garden Chocolate Tasting Advent Calendar
The Compartés Garden Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendar comes in beautiful packaging with floral illustrations and opens to 24 non-chronological tear-away slots, each revealing a square chocolate truffle in one of eight flavors such as honey lavender and peanut butter banana. Each truffle’s colorful design helps you match it with the key on the back of the box. The tear-away slots are slightly hard to open, however, so prepare to use your fingernails or a small table knife to get these chocolates out of the box. We found the bite-size chocolates perfect for an evening treat and small enough that you won’t get tired of eating gourmet chocolates before Christmas comes.
Whiskey advent calendar
FlaviarThe Lost Art of Distillation: The Amber Kingdom
For the whiskey lover, Flaviar’s The Lost Art of Distillation: The Amber Kingdom comes packaged in a black box with gold detailing and 24 samples of whiskeys from around the world, each 50 milliliters or about 1½ ounces. Enjoy bourbon, rye and Irish whiskey in the two included Glencairn tasting glasses. One tip: The glasses and bottles are tightly secured in their slots so they don’t break during transport, so it might take some extra effort to fish them out. A small tasting journal provides information on each whiskey. We found the tasting notes to be helpful, especially for less-experienced whiskey drinkers. We especially love the visual representations of each sample’s flavor profile in the tasting journal. The advent calendar comes with a free one-year Flaviar base membership—usually $350—which grants member discounts, free shipping on select products and more perks; scan the QR code in the tasting journal for membership access.
Sensitive skin beauty advent calendar
Beekman 1802 Slice of Kindness Advent Calendar
This circular advent calendar is designed to resemble a yellow three-layer cake. The Slice of Kindness Advent Calendar from Beekman 1802, a skin care brand known for sensitive skin products made in the U.S., has 24 small drawers with full-size lip balms, 3.5-ounce bars of soap, 2-ounce whipped body creams, cuticle serum and more. Even the mini sizes are substantial enough to feel like a treat—the entire product weighs 9 pounds—and each drawer includes a “warm, kind message.” The brand notes the calendar includes $320 worth of products.
24 nights of wine advent set
Vinebox 24 Nights of Wine
A nice option for the wine-lover in your life is the Vinebox 24 Nights of Wine advent calendar. The full 24-day experience includes the Chill Collection, which includes a mix of whites, roses and reds; and the Cozy Collection, which includes 12 reds. The wines, selected from regions of France, Italy and Spain, come in 100-milliliter bottles, or a little less than one glass per vial. When you open each collection you can see all 12 bottles, so there isn’t the same element of surprise as a tear-away advent calendar, but you will get a variety of flavors throughout your tasting journey. (We especially liked the Sicilian Nero D’Avola, the French Bordeaux and the Lyna 2016 from Castilla Y León from the Cozy Collection.) The Cozy Collection comes in a festive red, brown and gold box, while the Chill Collection comes in blue, white and gold, making it a smooth present for a household that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah.
Bonne Maman jams advent calendar
Bonne Maman Limited Edition Advent Calendar
“Last year I bought a Bonne Maman advent calendar as a gift to myself and it was the best decision I made all holiday season. It was such a treat to open up a new mini jam jar each morning for my toast or English muffin; it was like a mini culinary adventure every day. I specifically remember enjoying the orange yuzu grapefruit flavor, in addition to the more classic options. This year’s edition includes more unique preserves and honeys, like caramel with cinnamon and raspberry chocolate, and I’ll be adding it to my cart before it inevitably sells out.” —Madeline Diamond, staff editor
Candy advent calendar
SugarfinaSanta’s Candy Shop Tasting Collection, 24-Pieces
“I am always in search of specialty candy and/or chocolate advent calendars. Why not have a sweet treat every day in December? For better or for worse, I’ve graduated from the $1 Trader Joe’s chocolate advent calendars. I bought the Sugarfina advent calendar in the past and I’ve loved it. It’s a great deal to sample 24 flavors of their specialty candies at $55 for the calendar instead of $8 for a box of one flavor. Each day is a different treat and you get at least 4 pieces of candy a day, which is more than plenty.” —Brittany Nguyen, marketing and business development manager
Self-care Hanukkah gift set
The Zen Flower Hanukkah Gift Set
“There aren’t many countdown calendars out there for those of us who don’t celebrate Christmas, but Etsy has quite a few fun gift sets for the eight nights of Hanukkah. I recently ordered a Hanukkah Gift Set from TheZenFlower on Etsy for my sister for this coming holiday season and I know she will love the colorful, vegan, plant-based self-care products. The Small Zen Box felt like a good value as it contains six products. You can choose from one of 12 scent options for the soy candle (I picked Vanilla Lavender) and include a personalized message. Items in the Small Zen Box include a matchbox with a Happy Hanukkah design, lip balm, bath bomb, amethyst crystal necklace and more. The box, made from eco-friendly materials, arrived in just four days.” —Bellamy Richardson, contributing assistant editor
Candlelight and fragrance advent calendar
Voluspa 12 Day Advent Calendar
“The cozy season always inspires me to spruce up my home with new decor and warm candlelight, so this year I’ve got my eye on the Voluspa 12 Day Advent Calendar at Sephora. The festive box comes with 12 mini candles in Voluspa’s top-selling fragrances, so I can sample a variety of scents and pick my favorites to invest in a bigger size. Plus, the pretty packaging makes it a great gift. I’ll pick up a few for friends and family.” —Alix Milne, marketing director
Tea and wine advent calendars
Palais des Thés 24 Days of Tea
In Good TasteWine Advent Calendar
“I enjoy celebrating both Christmas and Three Kings Day (on January 6). Regardless of the season, I often unwind in the evenings with one of my two favorite indulgences: a warm cup of tea or a glass of wine, so I’m particularly excited to try the Palais des Thés 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar and the In Good Taste Wine Advent Calendar. Tea and wine share similarities in how their flavors are influenced by their terroir and the art of blending varietals. What’s appealing about both of these advent calendars is that they provide an assortment of options without the need to commit to a single type. The Palais des Thés advent calendar offers a collection of 24 individually wrapped tea bags, while In Good Taste presents 24 mini bottles of wine for a delightful journey of flavors.” —Astrid Stawiarz, photo editor
Charlotte Tilbury beauty advent calendar
Charlotte TilburyLucky Chest of Beauty Secrets
“I don’t celebrate Christmas, so I will be enjoying the winter holidays with Crate & Barrel’s 8 Days of Hanukkah Menorah Calendar filled with sweet treats. But I will be gifting my closest friend Charlotte Tilbury’s Charlotte’s Lucky Chest of Beauty Secrets 12 door beauty advent calendar. I couldn’t resist this purchase as soon as I saw the mini Flawless Setting Spray, my personal favorite. This advent calendar will leave any recipient with a full new makeup and skincare routine.” —Emily Schwartzberg, SEO manager
Advent calendars for kids
Meri MeriDog Advent Calendar Suitcase
Meri MeriHair Accessories Advent Calendar Suitcase
Meri MeriWinter Ballerina Charm Bracelet Advent Calendar Suitcase
“Last year I got my girls a Meri Meri Dog Advent Calendar suitcase. It was really cute and they played with the little dog figurines for hours. This year I’m going to try the Meri Meri Hair Accessories Advent Calendar as we’re in the market to freshen up their hair clips and hair ties. Afterwards they can store all the new accessories in the suitcase. There is also a charm bracelet advent calendar which I may put on the list for next year.” —Emily Welsh, VP and General Manager
Tree of Life menorah
Michael AramTree Of Life Menorah
Michael Aram Tree of Life Candlestick, Pair
“I didn’t grow up counting down to Christmas Eve with an advent calendar; instead I counted up the nights of Hanukkah on a menorah. The menorahs of my childhood were whimsical—Noah’s ark with a tall giraffe at the center, children locking arms. I still love using those with my family, but when it came time to get a menorah of my own I opted for this Tree Of Life Menorah by Michael Aram. I love the elegant way the branches criss-cross. I would be sad if I only got to enjoy this design eight nights a year, but luckily I have matching candlesticks that I pull out every Friday night.” —Samantha Sharf, deputy money editor
Hand-painted advent calendar
ANTHROPOLOGIE Cindy Advent Calendar
“I was gifted a wooden advent calendar a couple years ago. It is a stunning piece to add to a holiday decoration collection. If you can’t make it to the European Christmas markets to buy one, Anthropologie has a beautiful hand-painted calendar. I love that it acts as an advent calendar and a Christmas village. It even lights up, which perfectly highlights the cutouts in the winter cottages and snowy capped evergreens.” —Brittany Nguyen, marketing and business development manager
Benefit Cosmetics beauty advent calendar
Benefit Cosmetics All I Want Beauty Advent Calendar
“The Benefit Cosmetics All I Want Beauty Calendar is perfect for unwrapping a little luxury everyday. It’s packed with a variety of their best-selling full- and mini-sized beauty essentials. So not only is it a festive treat, but also ideal for those traveling during the holidays. I personally love testing mini sizes before committing to full-size products, and this one is a beauty lover’s dream.” —Irma Sahinovic, editorial and product operations coordinator
Funko Harry Potter advent calendar
Funko 24 Days of Harry Potter Wizarding World
“When my child was at the sweaty height of Harry Potter fever—she had read the series seven times; dressed as Hermoine three Halloweens in a row—I shelled out for this advent calendar in a moment of budget weakness. It turned out to be a fine investment. In addition to being a fun Christmas countdown each morning, the Funko characters that are revealed are cute enough that a kid will continue to enjoy them for months (my daughter still has hers four years later). The one I bought years ago only had a few characters, but this one and recent versions have 24 characters (often with two Harrys and two Hermiones with different looks and outfits).” —Leslie Yazel, editor, head of content
Coffee advent calendar
Yawn BrewCoffee Advent Calendar Pro
“As much as I love the little tchotchkes that come in many advent calendars, I know I’ll likely never touch them again once they’re out of the box. That’s why I prefer calendars with consumables, and why I’m eyeing Yawn’s 2023 Coffee Advent Calendar. The U.K.-based purveyor roasts the beans fresh each week, starting in October, with 24 different coffees from all over the world. There are 18 grams of each—either whole bean, or ground how you like them—which is enough to make a 10 ounce cup. And while the coffee envelopes come in a nice-looking cardboard box with daily punchouts, you can choose to add a reusable cotton calendar for an elevated experience.” —Nick Guy, senior staff editor
Saks beauty advent calendar
Saks Fifth AvenueSaks 25 Days Of Beauty
“I’m very tempted to splurge on this luxury beauty advent calendar from Saks Fifth Avenue this year. Its 25 miniature gifts, including a hyaluronic acid serum, scented candles and a moisturizing hair mask, are enclosed in a festive box that mimics the design of the department store’s iconic holiday window displays. It has a $560 value, and it’s a great way to try out brands I’ve been curious about, including Dr. Barbara Sturm, Olaplex and Clé de Peau Beauté.” —Madeline Diamond, staff editor
The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.