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The great Advent Calendar takeover

From a Kellogg’s Vintage Advent Calendar through to Liberty and Amazon’s beauty offerings, they’re everywhere says Pink Key Licensing’s Richard Pink.

If you’re my age you remember what it was like on December 1. That was the day Christmas started.

Back then it was pretty simple… your advent calendar was a lovely Christmas scene – maybe Santa coming down the chimney, maybe a Christmas tree, but it was all about the windows.

It’s hard to believe now that anyone was happy with simply looking at the picture hidden behind the 23 doors leading up to the big day, with the ultimate excitement being the double doors on day 24 – revealing, well you never knew, that was the point.

When I opened mine, invariably it was a nativity scene, totally at odds with the previous 23 pictures, but obviously very much in keeping with the spirit of the day. I always remember being a tad disappointed, but that was soon alleviated 24 hours later by the tidal wave of excitement that represented Christmas in the Pink household.

Then chocolate arrived. This was innovation, excitement on a new level. The pictures were still there, (behind the chocolate) but I defy anyone to say what the picture was as I was more interested in stuffing my face. Sometimes, cleverly, the chocolate would carry the same image as the picture did – cunning! However, I only noticed this in retrospect… there was chocolate for goodness sake!

The Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar includes £220 worth of items and is already sold out.
The Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar includes £220 worth of items and is already sold out.

By the time I had kids of my own things has moved on again, and various relatives were buying advent calendars for my kids – I think the record was four each – meaning that no one had to worry about breakfast for the whole of December… the kids were stuffed before they even got out of bed.

But now… now things have moved on. In some respects for me it’s gone full circle with the advent (pun intended) of our own Kellogg’s Vintage Advent Calendar exclusively in Debenhams, put together by the wonderful Kimm & Miller. Shaped like a Christmas tree, it even has a bowl as the base. The 12 days of Kellogg’s has even been featured on the telly along with a number of calendars also in Debenhams.

Each year, the Liberty Advent Calendar has its own waiting list.
Each year, the Liberty Advent Calendar has its own waiting list.

And what an array they are, not just the Debenhams ones either. One has become a tradition in its own right, namely the Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar with a whooping £220 worth of items in it.

It doesn’t stop there, everyone seems to have an advent calendar – there are a number of beauty offerings with one of the more expensive being Liberty’s weighing in at over £200.

Missoma and M&S have jewellery calendars, but first prize in this sector goes to Beaverbrooks Jewellery calendar which will cost you a mere £100,000… just keep hold of one of those for me would you.

At the other end of the scale we have another outing for the Pringles Calendar (Pringle Bells anyone?), the Snaffling Pig company can provide you with 24 days’ worth of Pork Scratchings – who wouldn’t want that?

If you want to have a very merry Christmas, you might want to look at Lovehoney’s offering – I’ll not go into detail but it’s enough to make Rudolph blush.

Anything you want, you can have – socks, ceramics, stationery, tea, coffee, movie nights and, of course, booze – from cocktails and wine through to gin and vodka… the list is endless.

If you're looking for a 'Merry' Christmas of a different kind, perhaps Lovehoney's offering is more your thing...
If you're looking for a 'Merry' Christmas of a different kind, perhaps Lovehoney's offering is more your thing...

Of the various licensed options, the Funko Marvel calendar is a real stand out, superb graphics and proper model inserts for the collectors – expensive, yes but it’s got real innovation and creativity behind it and shows exactly what can be done by a licence in this area.

For me, one variation stands out particularly and that is an Advent for Change calendar available in (among other places) John Lewis & Partners which sees the recipient donating £1 to cause every day, and I love that it’s also a Braille calendar.

The rise of this sort of advent calendar seems to have taken on a life of its own in the last couple of years, my view is that it will grow and grow, becoming more innovative.

Anyone who is not a fan of Christmas starting early is going to be massively disappointed!

Richard Pink is md of Pink Key Licensing. He can be contacted on

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