Advent Calendars: Delightful Holiday Gifts To Buy Now - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Advent Calendars: Delightful Holiday Gifts To Buy Now
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Advent Calendars: Delightful Holiday Gifts That You Need To Buy Now

We love Advent calendars, both giving them and receiving them. But they’re not a last-minute gift: You need to give them to the recipients before December 1st. That’s why for the past few years, we’ve turned to giving them to our loved ones at Thanksgiving dinner. We would spend hours poring over websites to find the right calendar for each person. This year, Aldi has made it oh-so-easy for us, as you’ll see below.

The 2021 wine and beer Advent calendars (which are the priciest) have already been released*. Others start rolling out tomorrow, November 3rd, which is National Advent Calendar Day.

“Rolling out” means that not all calendars will be available on November 3rd, so you may have to come back. However, anyone who shops at one of the 2,100-plus Aldi stores in the U.S. is probably a “regular.”

The Advent calendar dates to the beginning of the 19th century, when German Lutherans made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count down the days leading up to Christmas.

The first-known Advent calendar is from 1851, appearing in a children’s book by Elise Averdieck.

Gerhard Lang (1881-1974) was the inventor of the printed Advent calendars, beginning in 1904.

Lang’s calendar was inspired by one that his mother had made for him: 24 cookies sewn onto the lid of a box. He was allowed to eat one of them every day during the Advent period. Other parents created their own handmade versions.

Remembering mom’s cookie countdown, Lang created a pilot calendar in 1904, and produced the first printed, commercially distributed Advent calendar in 1908 [source].

The calendars became commercially viable and were made with both religious and non-religious themes.

Strictly religious calendars counted down each day with a prayer or a religious image. Secular versions for children had pieces of candy or tiny toys. The now-familiar windows were created, which opened out of the cardboard, revealing each day’s item.

The first Advent calendars were called “Nicholas calendars,” since they were given out on December 6th, St. Nicholas’ Day.

Then, calendars were made to start on December 1 and were called “Christmas calendars.” These typically didn’t follow the full four-week period of Advent, because the date varies in any particular year (it’s the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas, which can range from November 27th to December 3rd). Instead, they marked the 24 days leading up to Christmas.
The Name “Advent Calendar” Appears

The name “Advent calendar” was established when some calendars were published with the annually variable number of Advent days [source].

Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means “coming.” It’s a time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, on Christmas Day.

The fun of modern Advent calendars is opening one of the 24 closed windows/doors, that mark each day until Christmas. Young or old, opening the daily window has anticipation and surprise.

For most of its history, the Advent calendar was targeted to children. The surprises behind the window were a piece of candy, a charm, a mini toy, or a holiday-themed image (Santa, Rudolph). There are still inspirational versions. The calendars can be basic or very elaborate.

In recent years there’s been a trend to adult-appropriate Advent calendars, that focus on bottles of beer or wine, fine chocolates, coffee and tea, and even beef jerky.

OMG: The Advent calendar choices are so great at Aldi, we need to go nowhere else. But caveat emptor: Some sell out quickly.

Some calendars have windows for the full 24 days, while others are for 12 days. The Sparkling Wine Countdown To The New Year has seven 187ml bottles of wine. Take your pick of 26 calendars:
Beverage & Cheese Advent Calendars

  • Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar ($9.99)
  • Beer Advent Calendar ($49.99; in select markets)
  • Connellys 12 Days of Irish Cream ($29.99)
  • Emporium Selection Cheese Advent Calendar ($14.99)
  • Sparkling Wine Countdown to the New Year ($29.99) 
  • The 2021 Collection Wine Advent Calendar ($59.99)
    Chocolate Advent Calendars

  • Choceur Advent Calendar ($1.49) 
  • Moser Roth 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar With Truffles ($4.99)
  • Moser Roth 24 Days of Christmas Nutcracker Advent Calendar With Chocolates and Truffles($8.99) 
  • Moser Roth Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar ($14.99)
    Personal Care Advent Calendars

  • Bee Happy Craft Advent Calendar ($12.99)
  • Huntington Home Advent Calendar Candle ($4.99)
  • My Beauty Spot 12 Days of Bath Fizzers ($12.99) 
    Pet Advent Calendars

  • Pure Being Cat Advent Calendar ($5.89)
  • Pure Being Dog Advent Calendar ($5.89)
    Toy Advent Calendars

  • Lego City Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Lego Friends Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Lego Marvel Avengers Advent Calendar ($39.99)
  • Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar ($39.99)
  • Mattel Cars Advent Calendar ($16.99) 
  • Mattel Polly Pocket Advent Calendar ($16.99) 
  • Mattel Kids Toys Advent Calendar ($24.99) 
  • Merry Moments My Friend Gnome Kit ($24.99; limit one per customer) 
  • Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Advent Calendar ($19.99)
  • Warner Brothers Elf Advent Calendar ($29.99)
  • Warner Brothers Christmas Story Advent Calendar ($29.99)
    Personally, we’ll take the sparkling wine!


    [1] Twelve days of chocolate (all photos © Aldi).

    [2] Twenty-four different cups of arabica coffee await brewing.

    [3] Twelve days of different Irish cream liqueurs: caramel, hazelnut, white chocolate, and nine more.

    [4] Twenty-four milk chocolate figures.

    [5] Twenty-four different 187ml bottles of red and white wines.

    [6] Cheers and beers: 24 bottles from 11.2 ounces to 12 ounces.

    [7] Seven bottles of sparkling wine—including cava, prosecco, moscato, and others—celebrate the countdown to the New Year.


    *For wine and beer calendars, note that not all states or municipalities allow alcohol sales at grocery stores.

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