Christmas calendars offering everything pork scratchings and fossils

Anyone for a £50 advent calendar full of screwdrivers? Age-old favourite has gone Christmas crackers with today’s holiday countdowns offering everything from pork scratchings and gin to fossils and socks

  • Christmas advent calendars can now offer a shark’s tooth and a screwdriver set
  • Festive tradition has changed from offering Christmas scene or chocolate treats
  • Now gifts include pork scratchings, bottles of gin, fossils and packets of socks

The gin and tonic advent calendar has 12 50ml bottles

It once worked its Christmas magic with a daily festive scene or a small choc treat. But amid the madness of our commercial world, today’s advent calendar can offer anything from a bottle of gin to a screwdriver set… and even a shark’s tooth. Here are some of this festive season’s offerings…

Gin & tonic 

Waitrose £60

Have yourself a very merry pre-Christmas. Each door contains either a can of Fever-Tree tonic water or one of a dozen 50ml bottles of gin. However, there’s a rather serious flaw. Unless your intention is to drink neat gin – which surely should wait until the in-laws arrive – you need to open two doors to get an enlivening G&T. Which means you must decide between either having a drink every two days – or celebrating Christmas in mid-December. Your choice.

Screwdriver and tool set 

Trade Counter Direct £47.50

Spoil the handyman – or woman – in your life, with a calendar guaranteed to ‘raise the heart rates of true workmen’. Completely calorie free, it contains 23 different Wera screwdriver elements including a VDE Kraftform handle with eight blades and a 1/4in Rapidaptor bit holder (whatever that is). The set also features a handy storage pouch and glow-in-the-dark bottle opener, for when you can’t work out how to screw little Cuthbert’s bike together on Christmas morning.

Pringles calendars are available on Amazon 


Amazon £22.99

If the traditional week-long blow-out between Christmas Day and New Year seems a little daunting, you can spend December limbering up with this snacktastic calendar, which hides a mini tub of Pringles behind each door. You’ll have to be flexible on flavour, though, as there are only four varieties. Strangely, there are 12 doors, rather than the traditional 24, which means you’d have to buy two calendars to see advent out. A Christmas bonus for Pringles.

Coffee capsules 

Harrods £20

It’s red, it’s shiny and it comes from Harrods. No, not scratchy new lingerie, but a calendar that could unleash your inner George Clooney. You’ll get a cup of coffee every morning, so long as you have one of the domestic Nespresso machines championed by the Hollywood heart throb.

For cheese lovers this calendar is the ultimate advent treat 


Sainsbury’s £10

No idea’s too cheesy for the makers of a modern advent calendar. Certainly not this collaboration between food blogger Annem Hobson and cheesemaker Ilchester, available in Sainsbury’s, Asda and Booths. It features Jarlsberg, Applewood, Edam, Red Leicester, Cheddar and a limited edition gingerbread Wensleydale behind the door of December 24. Cheese not chocolate? Many would beg to differ.

Protein bars

Argos £42

Why have the traditional calendar fare of a tiny piece of cheap chocolate when you can have a protein-packed ‘treat’ every day of December? Filled with Bounce balls, Battleoats and something called The Power Of Me bars, fitness freaks will doubtless rejoice now they can add at least 20g of protein per day to their diet. As if a week of eating festive turkey was not enough.

Gemstones and fossils

Not On The High Street £50

For the budding geologist, this calendar offers ‘a rock every day’, with ammonite, blue quartz, and shark’s teeth

Perfect for the old – or young – fossil in your life, this box might be a little light on diamonds, but features a rock every day, with ammonite, blue quartz, a couple of shark’s teeth and snowflake obsidian – an igneous rock that’s not as easily offended as its name implies. Each stone comes with an information card and there is a handy drawstring bag for the collection.

Kikki K stationery

Selfridges £90

It may cost more than most Christmas presents, but teenage girls will lust after this calendar filled with stationery they don’t need. Featuring 25 items, including a scented candle and endless notebooks with cloying ‘what are you grateful for today’ quotes, there’ll be no excuse not to write post-Christmas thank-you letters.

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Happy Socks

John Lewis £149.95

They’re traditionally seen as either the go-to gift for the man who has everything or the last resort for anyone terminally bereft of present ideas. But who needs 24 new pairs of socks, snazzy or otherwise? Sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate. A single pair of Happy Socks costs nearly a tenner in John Lewis, so this bargain will save keen sock enthusiasts nearly £90.

For beer and snacks lovers the ‘Christmas Cheer’ calendar is the perfect gift 

Pork scratchings and beer

Snaffling Pig £65

Roast suckling pig is Christmas fare in many parts of Europe. But few of our Continental cousins mark the passing of advent with a bottle of craft beer and a packet of pork scratchings. The Snaffling Pig’s offering contains 12 bags of scratchings in assorted flavours and 12 full-size bottles of beer from London-based brewery, Meantime. Who needs mulled wine?

Jam and marmalade

Amazon £10.99

If portion control is your thing, then why not invest in this one featuring mini pots of jam and marmalade. Duerr’s has a huge range of preserves but – bah humbug – are only offering 12 strawberry and 12 marmalade as the big day approaches. So it’s jam tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. At least there’s a pot of whisky marmalade for the 25th.


Aldi £49.99

If the festive season is a time of good cheer, Aldi’s giant Christmas tree-shaped calendar promises to keep you in the party spirit. The store expects the calendar, which contains 24 bottles of red, white, rosé and sparkling wine and goes on sale today, to sell out immediately – as it did last year. It’s a good job customers are limited to buying one per person. 

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