The best alternative advent calendars for 2021, from beauty to food

In the year 2021, 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 2021 – 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 2021

M&S

M&S Beauty Advent Calendar

M&S Beauty Advent Calendar, £40 when you spend £30 on Clothing, Home and Beauty online or in-store

M&S’ Beauty Advent Calendar comes in a gorgeous midnight blue and gold box. It contains a selection of M&S own-brand products and carefully curated brands, such as Nails INC, Percy & Reed, Aveda and L’Occitane. It’s worth £300 but costs just £40 when you spend £30 in-store or online on M&S products. Available from 28th October 2021.

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Advent Calendar

Charlotte Tilbury Advent Calendar, £150, charlottetilbury.com

Look radiant at all those Christmas parties this December thanks to Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Dreams & Secrets beauty advent calendar. Each jewel-handled drawer on this star-spangled calendar contains a magic make-up or skincare product, including three full-sized and nine travel-sized products from the beauty maestro herself. Treat yourself (or someone else) HERE

Mac

MAC advent calendar
MAC

Meet the limited-edition 2021 Box of Tricks advent calendar from MAC. The box is an optical-illusion keepsake case filled with mini and major surprises. It’s worth over £340, but could be yours for just £135.

Keep your eyes peeled for the advent calendar here.

Benefit

Benefit advent calendar
Benefit

Benefit The More the Merrier Advent Calendar, £58.50, Boots

This beauty advent calendar is stocked with 12 of Benefit’s bestselling and fan-favourite treats, such as mascara, primer and face powder. The products come in purse-friendly mini sizes and are worth £132.46.

Ted Baker

Ted Baker advent calendar
Ted Baker

Ted Baker Advent Calendar, £45, Boots

The Ted Baker calendar is filled with exquisite bath and body products, as well as make up essentials and special accessories. You can expect to find treats like Body Soufflé, a bronze, blush and highlight mini palette, dry shampoo powder, tweezers, lipstick and much more.

John Lewis

John Lewis

Retailing for £159 but valued at over £600, the John Lewis Beauty Advent Calendar for 2021features a staggering 12 full sized products, along with two beauty treats for the recipient to open on Christmas Day from brands such as Augustinus Bader, Dr. Jart+, Sunday Riley, Neom and Charlotte Tilbury. Wow! 

The calendar goes on sale on 4 October but sign up for the waitlist and view the full contents here in the meantime.

Liberty London

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar
Liberty

Liberty’s highly anticipated beauty calendar is retailing for £225 this year, but it contains over £840 worth of the most popular products plucked from the Liberty beauty hall. Inside, you’ll find brands like Olaplex, UOMA Beauty, REN, and Dermoligica. Find out more about the contents here.

The Liberty beauty advent calendar usually sells out in record time, so it’s best to sign up here to get a reminder of the launch on 6 October.

Space NK

Space NK

Space NK Beauty Advent Calendar, £199, Space NK

The Space NK Beauty Advent Calendar is always hotly anticipated but this year it’s back and better than ever with 30 bestselling beauty gifts. From Sunday Riley to La Mer, Augustinus Bader to Rose Inc and more, the contents of this years calendar are worth a staggering £700! While pre-orders don’t open until the 8 October 2021, you can view the full contents of the calendar here in the meantime.

The White Company

The White Company

The White Company Advent Calendar, £160

The White Company Advent Calendar contains 25 pull-out drawers with a mix of luxurious bath and body products, worth a whopping £254! There are some lovely minis from the relaxing Calm and Spa collections, with hand creams, body washes and pulse points for you to enjoy. Plus, don’t miss their bestselling votives in the festive scents of Winter, Blanc and Fir Tree.

In a first for the White Company Advent Calendar, two full-size candles in festive scents have also been included so you can really get in the Christmas spirit this December. Available from 19 September.

ASOS

Asos advent calendar
ASOS

ASOS Face + Body 24 Day Advent Calendar, £75, Asos

ASOS have a mega advent calendar on offer this year, containing treats for both your face and body. In total, you’ll find 24 products (15 of which are full-size) and a tote bag. The brands featured in the calendar include The Ordinary, Olaplex, Clinique and Charlotte Tilbury, to name a few!

Glossybox

Glossybox advent calendar
Glossybox

Following the sellout success of its calendar last year, Glossybox are back with 25 beauty must-haves from cult beauty brands including Elemis, PIXI, Sarah Chapman and Huda Beauty. It’s worth over £465, but the calendar will retail at £85 for subscribers and £105 for non-subscribers.

The Glossybox advent calendar will be on sale to subscribers from 10 September and non-subscribers from 24 September. Get more details and sign up for subscriber access here.

Holland and Barrett

Holland and Barrett advent calendar
Holland and Barrett

Last year’s Holland and Barrett calendar sold out in record time, so the race is on to secure your very own beauty calendar for Christmas 2021. It includes products from in-demand brands like UpCircle, Q+A, Weleda and REN. And better yet, it’s plastic free and packaged in recycled card.

The products are worth over £170 in total, but the calendar costs just £45. Sign up to the waiting list here.

ESPA

Espa advent calendar
Espa

This calendar includes ESPA favourites such as the Pink Hair Scalp Mud and signature blend classics from the Restorative Bath and Body Oil, to the Restful Pillow Mist. The ESPA advent calendar is worth a whopping £389 but is retailing for £160.

Last year, the calendar sold out in three weeks, so it’s best to be quick if you want to snap this up. It’s available to buy from 1 October, but you can sign up to the waiting list here.

Revolution

Revolution advent calendar
Revolution

Revolution Advent Calendar 2021, £80, Superdrug

This is an exclusive advent calendar full of 25 Revolution Beauty makeup products and accessories, including a Reloaded shadow palette, lipsticks, lipglosses, highlighters, makeup brushes and more!

Real Techniques

Real Techniques advent calendar
Real Techniques

Real Techniques Advent Calendar, £80, Superdrug

The Real Techniques beauty calendar contains 28 skincare and make-up accessories, from the best-selling mini expert face brush to the number one Miracle complexion sponge and case… and so much more.

Jo Malone London

Jo Malone advent calendar
Jo Malone

Jo Malone has brought back its iconic advent calendar again, but this year, it’s the first of its kind. Not only has the box been made to be reusable and refillable, but the advent calendar includes a 30ml cologne for the very first time.

Find out more about the contents of the advent calendar and when it will be available to buy here.

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown advent calendar
Bobbi Brown

In another first, Bobbi Brown has released its first ever 12-day advent calendar for 2021. The advent calendar includes Hydrating Water Fresh Cream, Luxe Lip Colour, Bronzing Powder, Smokey Eye Mascara, Soothing Cleansing Oil and Vitamin Enriched Face Base to name a few.

It costs £125, saving shoppers £102 on all of the products overall, and is available to buy on bobbibrown.co.uk from 5 October.

Nivea

Nivea advent calendar
Nivea

NIVEA Ski Lodge Advent Calendar, £40, Amazon

The sellout Nivea Beauty advent calendar is back for another year. It sits on the cheaper end of the beauty advent calendar scale, costing a reasonable £40, and this year there’s a Nivea Men calendar on sale, too. Each calendar contains 24 treats, with a mix of 16 travel and full size products, along with 8 gifts like eye masks and nail files, or bottle openers and phone stands.

Both of the Nivea advent calendars will be available to buy on Amazon from September 2021.

L’OCCITANE

L’OCCITANE

Reusable Advent Calendar, £160 (worth £236), L’OCCITANE

Following on from the success of 2020, L’OCCITANE has brought back its Reusable Advent Calendar in collaboration with illustrator Kitty McCall and which you can use for years to come. Bought it last year? You can purchase a ‘refill’ of 24 products to reuse your much-loved calendar for £120 (worth £199.50).

The brand has also revealed two more festive iterations including a timeless Classic Advent Calendar priced at just £55 or a Luxury Advent Calendar priced at £99.

Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

2021 Advent Calendar, £215, Cult Beauty

This year, Cult Beauty has pulled out all the stops with a calendar that consists of products worth over £950 and contains not 25 but 38 products from some of the best brands on the market. For a full reveal of what is included, click here

Jo Loves

Jo Loves

Advent Calendar, £325, Jo Loves

The iconic Jo Loves Advent Calendar returns for 2021 in a spectacular star design that can be style around a candle as a centrepiece or hung from a door. Expect 24 deluxe travel products and a full-sized surprise on Christmas Day.

No7

No7

The No7 Advent Calendar is always a closely guarded secret until the launch date but what we do know is that the waitlist is now open and that there is not one but two choose from this year. For more details to sign up for the waitlist, click here.

Next

Next

Hers Advent Calendar, £69, Next

For 2021, Next has launched a special His and Hers advent calendar which will be available to purchase from 15 September. Both advent calendars retail at £69 with the ‘Her’ calendar containing products worth £243 and the ‘His’ calendar £254. For more details of the contents, click here.

Dr. Hauschka

Dr. Hauschka

Dr. Hauschka Advent Calendar, £85 (worth £154), FeelUnique

This year’s Dr. Hauschka Advent Calendar is packaged within a luxurious gift box with each individual gift lovingly wrapped in a reusable cotton bag so that you can use the advent calendar again in the future. Available to buy from 27 September.

Origins

Origins

12 Days of Origins Advent Calendar, £60, Origins

In 2020, Orgins’ advent calendar sold out in less than three days so expect a stampede this year. The brand will be opening a waitlist from September so be sure to sign up to get your hands on it and save 35 per cent on the cost of the individual products.

Molton Brown

Molton Brown

Advent Calendar, £195, Molton Brown

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Molton Brown has gone back to its roots and evoked memories of its first-ever Christmas Eve in 1971 in London with a celebration of fragrances, body and home delights, hidden behind our original salon doors.

Elemis

Elemis

No.25 ELEMIS, LONDON BEAUTY ADVENT CALENDAR, £175, Elemis

Worth over £400, Elemis has curated the No.25 Elemis, London Beauty Advent Calendar which houses 25 of the brand’s skin and body favourites. Sign up for VIP access when it launches on 6 September.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop advent calendar
The Body Shop

This Christmas, The Body Shop has unveiled four advent calendars ranging in price from £55 (worth £77) for the Share Joy Advent Calendar to the Share Love, Joy and Kindness Advent Calendar priced at £320 (worth £495).

Lush

Lush advent calendar
Lush

Advent Calendar, £185, Lush

Beautifully presented in a reusable trunk made from 100 per cent recycled materials, the Lush Advent Calendar contains 25 vegan products to discover and use every day and night in the lead up to Christmas.

LOOKFANTASTIC

LOOKFANTASTIC advent calendar
LOOKFANTASTIC

Advent Calendar, £85, LOOKFANTASTIC

Following a pre-order sell-out in 2020, this year’s LOOKFANTASTIC advent calendar contains 25 luxurious beauty treats from best-selling brands including Kate Somerville, Phillip Kingsley and NARS, worth over £410. LOOKFANTASTIC subscription box subscribers will be able to purchase the calendar for just £70.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum’s Beauty Advent Calendar 2021, £225, Fortnum & Mason

Worth over £750, Fortnum’s Beauty Advent Calendar is jam-packed with cult beauty favourites from the department store’s iconic beauty hall. Expect 20 full-sized products, 16 deluxe samples and 1 travel-sized miniature from brands such as Aromatherapy Associates, ESPA and Sol de Janeiro.

Food advent calendars 2021

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum’s Feasting Advent Calendar, £200, Fortnum & Mason

Go all out in 2021 with Fortnum’s Feasting Advent Calendar. Packed with a whole host of gourmet delights – from classic teas, biscuits, chocolate and confectionery to preserves, condiments and festive tipples – it’s the perfect advent gift for foodies.

Whittard

Whittard advent calendar
Whittard

The tea advent calendar, £60, Whittard

Whittard has not one, but three bespoke advent calendars on offer this year. There’s the Tea & Infusion Advent Calendar, the Coffee Advent Calendar for two and the Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar for two. The coffee and hot chocolate calendars include two single-serve products in each of their 24 draws, while the tea and infusion calendar includes four individually wrapped teabags in 23 of the draws, and two in the first draw (along with an extra gift).

Walker’s Shortbread

Walker’s Shortbread

Advent Calendar, £16.99, Walker’s Shortbread

For 2021, Walker’s Shortbread is releasing two beautiful advent calendars wrapped to perfection in the brand’s traditional tartan. Behind each window will be an individually wrapped piece of Shortbread. Available to purchase from 4 October.

Melt

MELT

Notting Hill Advent Calendar, £69.99, Melt

Made in MELT’s Notting Hill Chocolate Boutique by master chocolatiers, the MELT Notting Hill Advent Calendar is designed to look like the impressive facade of a Notting Hill townhouse featuring 24 delicious, fresh chocolates.

Mariage Frères

Mariage Freres

Christmas Calendar Noel Haute Couture, £45, Mariage Frères

Countdown to Christmas in style with Mariage Frères’ luxury Christmas calendar featuring 25 unique premium teas from the French teahouse, handsomely tied together with satin ribbon.

Flying Goose x Sous Chef

Sous Chef advent calendar
Sous Chef

12 Days of Sriracha, £39.99, Sous Chef

Do you know someone who loves a bit of spice? The 12 Days of Sriracha calendar is just the thing for them. It contains 12x 200ml bottles in a rainbow of sriracha flavours from Flying Goose, ‘the world’s favourite brand of Thai Sriracha chilli sauces – made from sun-dried chillies, garlic and distilled vinegar.’ The flavours include Sriracha Tikka, Yuzu, Extra Garlic and Wasabi.

It will be available to buy online from mid-November.

Newby Teas

Newby Teas advent calendar
Newby Teas

Newby Teas advent calendar, £85, Newby Teas

London’s luxury tea brand Newby Teas is the advent calendar for major tea lovers. The 24-days Christmas advent calendar has been inspired by the magic of London’s theatres. Inside each drawer, you’ll find Newby Teas’ teabag collection, consisting of classic blends to more aromatic ones. No two drawers are the same, so you can enjoy a different brew every day – the calendar contains a total of 96 teabags.

Beer Hawk

Beer Hawk advent calendar
Beer Hawk

Beer Hawk advent calendar, £75, Beer Hawk

This is ideal for all the beer drinkers out there. For the first time, the Beer Hawk calendar is packed with 25 beers from offbeat breweries as well as big-name breweries. From traditional wheat beers to more modern IPAs and famous Belgian styles, this year’s beery advent calendar brings together innovative beers from 14 countries across the globe.

Lifestyle advent calendars 2021

Lovehoney

Love Honey advent calendar
Love Honey

7 Nights of Temptation Lingerie Calendar, £60, Lovehoney

There are an impressive four advent calendars on offer from Lovehoney for 2021. They include the above, which includes seven lingerie pieces and accessories worth £100. There’s also a couples calendar that includes 24 treats worth £370. The separate calendars ‘for her’ and ‘for him’ contain 12 surprises worth over £200.

You can find the full selection of advent calendars and what’s included in them here.

Freedm Street

Freedm Street advent calendar
Freedm Street

Ethical online retailer Freedm Street has launched Christmas Express – an advent calendar that’s completely cruelty free, vegan, available in a 100 per cent plastic-free option. Plus, it only contains sustainable palm oil or palm oil-free beauty products, gifts and edible treats from sustainable brands. Perfect for the eco-conscious!

Christmas Express is available to pre-order from 20 September at 7pm It will retail at £185, with products inside worth a huge £350. For every calendar sold, charities including Humane Society International, Food For Life Global and Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary will each receive a donation. Sign up to the waiting list here.

007 Store

James Bond advent calendar
007 Store

The James Bond advent calendar 2021, £199, 007 Store

The 007 Store is launching its very first James Bond advent calendar this year (perfect timing with the long-awaited No Time To Die film). The luxury limited edition calendar features 12 drawers of Bond-inspired gifts to open in the run up to Christmas. The presents include a Casino Royale prop, exclusives, collectibles and unique collaborations from Bond’s 25 film history. It’ll be available to buy from 13 September.