The best alternative advent calendars for 2020, from beauty to food

In the year 2020, no longer is it acceptable to countdown to Christmas with only chocolate. Alternative advent calendars stuffed with everything from beauty products to scented candles to bottles of prosecco are the festive purchase du jour, and if sales figures from previous seasons are anything to go by, you need to add the release dates to your diary, because these babies sell out fast.

We would, of course, never suggest that you replace your go-to chocolate advent calendar – but this year, there are some truly gorgeous non-chocolate advent calendars to enjoy alongside it. Christmas starts here, with our round-up of the best alternative advent calendars for 2020 – we’ll be updating this round-up regularly as new calendars are unveiled, so bookmark the page if you haven’t chosen your favourite yet.

Beauty advent calendars 2020

John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis beauty advent calendar 2020

Beauty Advent Calendar 2020, £150, John Lewis & Partners

Department store calendars can be hit and miss, but with gifts from Sunday Riley, Neom, Charlotte Tilbury, Elemis, Nars and Clarins, we say JL’s is worth investing in (here’s the contents in full for your reference). My John Lewis members will be the first to have the chance to shop it this year, at the upcoming Virtual Beauty Weekend.

ASOS

asos beauty advent calendar 2020ASOS Face + Body 13 Day Calendar, £35, ASOS

asos advent calendar 2020ASOS Face + Body 24 Day Advent Calendar, £75, ASOS

ASOS is spoiling us with advent calendars for 2020 – not only are both their 12 day and a 24 day beauty options bursting with greatness for remarkably low prices, there’s a 12-Day Grooming Advent Calendar available for the man in your life too.

Liberty

Liberty beauty advent calendar
Liberty

Beauty Advent Calendar 2020, price TBC, Liberty 

The Liberty advent calendar is possibly the most iconic premium beauty advent calendar of all time – and for 2020, we already know that it boasts products from Augustinus Bader, Nars, Aromatherapy Associates, Votary and Hourglass. The edit, housed in a recyclable box in the store’s beautiful signature Standen print, has 19 full-sized products, making it the most generous line-up to date.

Jo Malone London

jo malone advent calendar 2020Jo Malone London #SeasonOfScent Advent Calendar 2020, £320, jomalone.co.uk

Virtually guaranteed to sell out in seconds, Jo Malone advent calendars are always stunning, and the 2020 edition is no exception. In addition to fragrance – like a mini English Pear & Freesia cologne – you’ll find body care and candles, plus an extra special surprise behind door number 24.

The White Company

the white company advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar, £160, The White Company (from 24 September) 

Ah The White Company, how we adore thee and your perfect winter scents. This £160 calendar gives fans of the store the chance to immerse themselves in candles, fragrance, cleansing balm and body creams, with seasonally-appropriate notes of fir and pomegranate throughout the selection.

Lookfantastic

lookfantastic advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar 2020, £85, Lookfantastic

LookFantastic’s box of joy is always a real all-rounder. Day after day, you’ll discover neatly wrapped packages from big name brands (which have yet to be revealed) – it officially launches on 12 October but you can preorder it already.

Feelunique

feelunique beauty advent calendar 2020

#UniqueTogether Advent Calendar, £89, Feelunique

£89 gets you more than £250 of beauty booty in 2020’s geometric Feel Unique advent calendar offering, which contains the likes of Charlotte Tilbury, Huda Beauty, Sol de Janeiro, Nars and Elemis. One calendar also contains a hidden golden gift card, worth up to £1000 each for you and a nominated friend or family member to spend at Feelunique.

L’Occitane

l'occitane advent calendar 2020

Classic Advent Calendar, £53 (worth £88), L’Occitane (from 24 September)

l'occitane advent calendar 2020

Luxury Advent Calendar, £99 (worth £135), L’Occitane

Fans of L’Occitane’s pampering products will be pleased to see two exceptionally well-priced calendars stuffed with shower gels, soaps, hand creams and more. The classic option, brought to life with illustrations from French illustrator Edith Carron, houses all of the usual heroes, while the luxury line offers an array of larger products, with pillow mist, the infamous Almond Shower Gel and even an EDT inside.

Elemis

elemis advent calendar 2020

2020 Advent Calendar, £175, Elemis

Skincare is the order of the day in Elemis’ bright and beautiful advent calendar for 2020, which encloses treats worth £403, including a full-size jar of the coveted Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. Sign up to be notified when it launches on 11th September and get your hands on cleansers, balms, gel masks and toners galore before the dreaded ‘sold out’ label appears – previous editions have gone out of stock in just five days.

Lush

lush advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar, £185, Lush (pre-order from 27th August)

Lush’s advent calendar for 2020 is 100 per cent vegan, with products ranging from cult classics like Dream Cream to new scrubs, bath bombs and shampoo bars (plus some exclusives you can only get your hands on in the calendar). The fully recycled chest is inspired by a vintage luggage trunk, and perfect for reusing afterwards for storage or regifting.

The Body Shop

the body shop advent calendar 2020
Maya Advent Calendar, £50 (worth £75), The Body Shop

the body shop advent calendar 2020

Erika Advent Calendar, £70 (worth £136.50), The Body Shop

the body shop large advent calendar 2020

Leia Advent Calendar, £130 (worth £226), The Body Shop

The Body Shop has three lovely advent calendars this year – the fully-stocked Leia option is the most expensive, at £130, but the entry-level calendar, £50, and the deluxe, £70, are both also excellent options, stuffed with a mix of full-size and sample size bestsellers: think shower gels, body butters, face masks and more. Each one is named after and depicts a character with their own powerful story, reflecting The Body Shop’s goal of donating a minimum of £250,000 to women’s organisations this Christmas.

Rituals

rituals advent calendar 2020

The Ritual of Advent 2D Advent Calendar, £59.90, Rituals

rituals advent calendar 2020

The Ritual of Advent 3D Advent Calendar, £89.90, Rituals

Scrubs, gels, and washes all await you inside the the boxes of Rituals’ two advent calendars for 2020, with lotions and potions from many of Rituals’ ranges, like the Ritual of Jing and Ayurveda, and extras like  mini Private Collection candles. The bottles and tubes are generously sized and smell, as one would expect, delicious.

Fortnum & Mason

 

 

Fortnum & Mason Beauty Advent Calendar 2020

Beauty Advent Calendar, £195, Fortnum & Mason 

Opening the doors of Fortnum & Mason’s beauty advent calendar is much like entering the store – opulent and spectacular. We won’t drop too many spoilers this early in the year, but we will reveal that products inside the elegant design span brands including Sol de Janeiro, Guerlain, Chantecaille and Sisley.

Selfridges

Selfridges advent calendar 2020

25 Day Beauty Advent Calendar, £210, Selfridges (from mid-October)

Selfridges has gone pretty in pink with its advent calendar, which depicts the iconic London flagship store, this year, and we’re obsessed. Priced at £210, it contains over £500 worth of products from the most in-demand brands in beauty, including Byredo, Morphe, Ouai, Huda Beauty, 111Skin, Pat McGrath, and Slip.

Glossybox

glossybox advent calendar 2020Glossybox Advent Calendar, £80 for subscribers, £99 for non-subscribers, Glossybox

The joy in subscription box Glossybox’s advent calendar is present long before you get inside, with some of the most gorgeous marble and metallic packaging we’ve seen this year. Past that, there’s £390 worth of beauty treats tucked away, including 14 full-size items. And yes, that is a Sunday Riley Good Genes you spy.

Jo Loves

jo loves advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar, £300, Jo Loves

In this year’s quirky wreath-inspired calendar, brand founder Jo Malollne promises ‘a scented delight to enjoy every day, with a little twist and surprise to celebrate Christmas Day’. Minor spoiler, but if you love Jo Loves perfume, you’ll be very happy with the selection, which totals a £459 value.

Macmillan

Macmillan advent calendar

Macmillan Advent Calendar, £85 (worth £137.98), Boots

Giving back is important all year round, but it’s particularly poignant for many of us at Christmastime – which is why we were pleased to see that £2 from every sale of this Boots-exclusive advent calendar. Housed in a glamorous midnight blue and gold box you’ll find curated selection of hero products from brands including Liz Earle, No7, Soap & Glory, Botanics and Sleek.

Holland & Barrett

holland and barrett advent calendar 2020

Vegan Advent Calendar, £40, Holland & Barrett

There’s 25 eco-friendly days to enjoy in Holland & Barrett’s 2020 advent calendar – including 14 full-size products – with the likes of UpCircle, Ethique, Weleda and Q&A all represented, to the tune of a £170 total value. The entire calendar is suitable for vegans and 100 per cent recyclable.

Benefit

benefit advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar, £58, Benefit Cosmetics

Small but perfectly formed, Benefit’s beauty advent calendar for 2020 features 12 minis of the brand’s most iconic products – think Hoola bronzer, Gimme Brow gel and of course, all the mascara you would wish for in your stocking.

Nivea

nivea advent calendar 2020

Nivea Ski-Lodge Advent Calendar, £40, Amazon

Skin always needs a little extra TLC in the winter months, and the Nivea advent calendar for 2020 has got you covered from top to toe. It’s crammed with 16 of the brand’s best-loved essentials, plus eight deluxe additions, including an eye mask and a facial cleansing glove to up the pamper factor.

Lumene

lumens advent calendar 2020
Advent calendar, £89.90, Feelunique

Scandi skincare line Lumene launched in the UK in 2018 to rapturous applause from the industry. Another vegan option, this year’s calendar champions its hero products, such as the Glow Boost Essence and Nordic C-Glow Reveal Moisturiser, and also introduces its make-up line, with everything from primer to mascara.

Cult Beauty


cult beauty advent calendar 2020Beauty Advent Calendar, £199, Cult Beauty 

One queue you’ll want to race to the front of is the waiting list for Cult Beauty’s 2020 advent calendar – well, the 2019 edition did sell out in two hours. The £930 worth of products (from names like Jo Loves, Dr. Barbara Sturm, Augustinus Bader and Drunk Elephant) will set you back £199, and there’s a lovely charity donation to Beauty Banks included in your purchase.

Cath Kidston

Cath kinston advent calendar 2020
24 Day Vegan Beauty Advent Calendar, £40, Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston’s 2020 vegan line-up is an affordable foray into the world of beauty advent calendars – inside the signature kitsch packaging, this year designed to invoke the nostalgic feel of a vintage Christmas card, there’s body lotions, bath salts, lip balms and hand creams galore.

Freedm Street

Eco Wonderland advent calendar

Eco Wonderland advent calendar, £149, Freedm Street

As the UK’s first ever completely plastic-free, cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle advent calendar, Eco Wonderland includes eco-friendly treats from brands such as Love Absolute, UpCircle and Hairy Jayne. You can even choose what sort of colour make up you like to wear, so you don’t end up with products you’ll never use.

Food advent calendars 2020

Fortnum & Mason

fortnum and mason feasting advent calendar 2020

Feasting Advent Calendar, £200, Fortnum & Mason

It’s official: we’ve died and gone to food heaven. Everything within these 25 drawers is an extravagant, edible wonder – think pistachio and rose nut butter, orange & Fortnum’s champagne marmalade, cassis gin and toffolossus biscuits.

Biscuiteers

biscuitjes advent calendar 2020

Limited Edition Sophie Conran Advent Calendar and Biscuit Tin, £175, Biscuiteers

Anyone who’s ever eaten an immaculate Biscuiteers treat knows that they’re much more than just biscuits – they’re works of art. The £175 price tag includes a fabric calendar designed by Sophie Conran that can be used forever, plus a tin of 24 hand-iced animal-themed biscuits to fill the pouches this year, or you can buy each item separately for £125 and £58 respectively.

Walkers Shortbread

walkers shortbread advent calendar 2020

Shortbread Advent Calendar, 14.99, Walkers Shortbread (from 18 September)

Want a daily treat alongside your festive chai? Walkers’ calendar will help you tick off the days until Christmas with 24 rounds and fingers of proper buttery Scottish shortbread both with and without chocolate chips – all individually-wrapped for freshness. Feet up, kettle on.

Candy Kittens

Candy Kittens advent calendar

Candy Kitten Vegan Sweet Advent Calendar, £10, Boots

If you know and love the Candy Kittens vegan sweet range, your mouth is probably already watering. Just £10 for 25 days of sugar-based joy, with flavours from strawberry to peach to watermelon? Consider us well and truly sold.

Joe & Seph’s

Joe & Sephs advent calendar 2020

Popcorn Advent Calendar, £25, Joe & Seph’s

Few popcorns are as luxurious as these thickly coated little nuggets, draped in toppings like tiramisu, chocolate orange and banoffee pie. The 2020 alternative advent calendar gives you the chance to sample various flavours every day for 24 glorious days – look out in particular for festive-themed bites like Brandy Butter and Gingerbread. Vegans will be pleased to see a plant-based version available to shop this year too.

That Boutique-y Gin Company

gin advent calendar 2020

That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar, £49.95, Masters of Malt

There are now multiple gin advent calendars in the shops to choose between, but it’s not often their price tag is as impressive as this. The calendar features 24 award-winning gins with quirky flavours including pineapple and rhubarb.

gin advent calendar 2020

Drinks By The Dram Premium Gin Advent Calendar, £84.95, Masters of Malt

Got a little more budget to play with? Try Drinks by the Dram’s premium offering, which sits at a slightly higher price point, but is overflowing with juniper-based brilliance behind each window.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company

whiskey advent calendar 2020

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar, £99.95, Master of Malt

If whisky rather than gin is your tipple of choice, take a look another Boutique-y offering: 2020’s whiskey advent calendar. For under £100 you get 24 drams spanning bourbons, blends and bold barrel finishes.

Vodka Explorer

vodka advent calendar 2020

Vodka Explorer Advent Calendar, £99.95, Masters of Malt

Love a Cosmopolitan or a vodka martini? This is the calendar for you. This December you can drink your way through 24 30ml wax-sealed bottles of vodka from a variety of world-famous producers.

Crafty Nectar

cider advent calendar 2020

Cider Advent Calendar, £75, Crafty Nectar

Spirits aside, this cider advent calendar from Crafty Nectar, the largest cider subscription service in Europe, will please fans of all things fizzy and refreshing. Despite its impressive size and weighty selection of 24 bottles, delivery is free, so it’s a bit of a relative bargain.

Mariage Frères

Mariage Frères advent calendar

Noël Glamour tea advent calendar, £45, Mariage Frères

Leave the choccie to the kids and treat yourself to a ‘grown ups’ advent calendar – that is one that invites you to try a new premium luxury tea blend from France’s oldest teahouse, Mariage Frères, every morning. Available to buy in store at Mariage Frères’ Covent Garden stores and online from end of October.

The Naked Marshmallow Co.

marshmallow advent calendar

Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar, £15, The Naked Marshmallow Co.

boozy marshmallow advent calendar

Boozy Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar, £17.50, The Naked Marshmallow Co.

The world’s first gourmet marshmallow advent calendar returns for its fourth year, featuring 25 handmade marshmallowy treats in 12 different flavours, from classic to festive to sweet-inspired. Or embrace the Christmas ‘spirit’ and go boozy – flavours include Raspberry & Prosecco, Elderflower & Gin, Passion Fruit Martini and Pina Colada.

Add on a toasting kit for £3.95 extra.

The Protein Ball Co.

The Protein Ball Co advent calendar

Looking for a healthier alternative to the usual sugar-laden chocolate advent calendars? The Protein Ball Co.’s advent calendar offering is packed full of 100 per cent natural, no added sugar, bite-size protein balls, with six tasty flavours to feast on behind each door, such as Goji + Coconut, Raspberry Brownie and a special festive-flavoured Christmas ball behind door no.24.

Swizzels

Swizzels advent calendar

Swizzels Christmas Advent Calendar, £5, Swizzels

Make the countdown to 25 December extra sweet with Swizzels’ perfect alternative to the traditional chocolate calendar. Great for nostalgia lovers with a sweet tooth, this calendar includes such childhood treats as Drumstick Squashies, Refreshers chew bars and Love Hearts. Available from Tesco, Wilko and Sainsbury’s stores.

Lifestyle advent calendars 2020

Paperchase

paperchase advent calendar 2020

24 Days of Stationery Advent Calendar, £40, Paperchase

If the crisp page of a new notebook is high on your list of favourite things, Paperchase’s advent calendar will be right up your street. You can expect vouchers, pens, stickers, and a 2020 diary, plus many more stationery delights – but you’ll have to beat fans to it, as last year’s version sold out in record time.

Missoma

missoma advent calendar 2020

Advent Calendar 2020, £395, Missoma (from 21 October)

Just when we thought we couldn’t love demi-fine jewellery brand Missoma any more, it goes and launches a follow-up to last year’s sellout advent calendar. We don’t want to give away too much upfront, but it’s safe to say you’ll find plenty of bestsellers, including theBaya Hoops, Interstellar Anklet and Molten Cuff, as well as hair accessories, a brand-first keyring and even custom designed playing cards.

Lovehoney

Love Honey advent calendar

Lovehoney Advent Calendar, £100, Boots

After branching out into the sexual wellness category last year, one of Boots’ top 10 advent calendars for 2020 is this one from Lovehoney, aka the ‘sexual happiness people’. Behind each door are some of the brand’s bestselling sex toys and accessories to spice up the holiday season – if all you want for Christmas is a little more spark in your relationship, this could be a great starting point…