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12 Advent calendars that are just as commercialized as Christmas

(RNS) While many lament the commercialization of Christmas, others aren't letting Advent escape without a price tag.

Lindt Storybook Advent calendar.

(RNS) Forget the War on Christmas. The War on Advent is upon us, some say, and the commercialization of Christmas has claimed yet another victim: Advent calendars.

Technically speaking, Advent is the four-week Christian period of introspection and preparation leading up to the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25. This year, Advent starts on Sunday, Nov. 30, and carries through the four Sundays before Christmas.

More generally, “secular” Advent marks a 25-day countdown to St. Nic’s arrival down the chimney.

Advent calendars — from a smiling Santa to a gauzy Nativity scene — long have been a low-key way for families to teach children about Christmas. Many calendars feature little doors for each day, opening to reveal a small present or piece of candy inside.

Now, more companies are capitalizing on the season. You could spend all of Advent looking for the perfect calendar, as several major brands now sell them, including Pottery BarnRestoration HardwareL.L. Bean and World Market. Or, if you’re more naughty than nice, there’s a, um, adults-only version.

In case you are still on the lookout, we scoured the Internet for the brilliant and bizarre:

Beer calendar

The beer advent calendar. Photo courtesy of The Beer Cellar

The beer advent calendar.

Quench your holiday thirst by getting one of these boxes, from the Beer Cellar in suburban Chicago.

Lindt chocolates 

Lindt Storybook Advent calendar.

Lindt Storybook Advent calendar.

These calendars are filled with belly-pleasing goodness.

Yankee Candle 

Yankee Candle Advent calendar

Yankee Candle Advent calendar

Fill your home with fragrances like snowflake cookie, icicles, angels wings (exactly what do angel wings smell like, anyway?), cranberry ice, Christmas cookie and Christmas garland. The limits are endless!

String of teas

Not a big alcohol drinker? Try this string of teas calendar, courtesy of Artful Tea.

Tea Advent Calendar

Tea advent calendar

Cosmetic calendar

The Body Shop Advent calendar.

The Body Shop Advent calendar.

In the spirit of the increasingly popular Birch Box concept where users receive a box of cosmetic samples once a month, The Body Shop and Sephora stores offer 25 pint-sized lip gloss, hair ties, pore minimizer and more.

Rum, vodka, tequila and/or gin calendars

Whiskey Advent calendar.

Whiskey Advent calendar.

Count down to Christmas with “surely the greatest advent calendar known to humankind.” The British-based Master of Malt warns of a spoiler alert: you can find out the contents, but they’ll place them randomly so you’re adequately surprised each day.


Starbucks Advent calendar.

Starbucks Advent calendar.

The magnetic chalkboard advent calendar holds 25 tins of chocolates and a $5 Starbucks card, a card you could splurge on yourself (don’t go crazy) or stick in someone else’s stocking.

Lego City

Lego Advent calendar.

Lego Advent calendar.

Take a few minutes each day to build a little lego land. “Help the police to build an awesome sled to catch the crook who’s stolen the presents.”

Mystery Kwanzaa gifts

Video courtesy of Cards Against Humanity

The makers of Cards Against Humanity, the completely irreverent and inappropriate card game, has a Kwanzaa (or whatever) Advent-ish concept. “You give us $15. We’ll send you ten mystery gifts for the ten days or whatever of Kwanzaa.” No refunds. No complaining.

Mini mani calendar

Manicure Advent calendar.

Manicure Advent calendar.

Pamper yourself with a mini manicure, using a new nail polish hidden behind a daily window, from Sephora.

Karma calendar

Karma Calendar.

Karma Calendar.

Not into Christmas but want the same experience of surprise and delight every day for a month? This super-environmentally friendly calendar focuses on one good dead or “heartfelt task” each day for 27 days.

Jelly belly tin

Jelly Belly Calendar.

Jelly Belly tin calendar.

Billed as the world’s smallest Advent calendar, you can customize a little jelly belly tin courtesy of Zazzle. Plus, it measures your self control, assuming you can eat just one jelly belly at a time.