It’s day 11 and as you can see here at Trinity McQueen, we love counting down the days to Christmas – and nothing can be better than doing so with a daily chocolate from your advent calendar. Or is there?

Times have changed in the advent calendar world, with the cheap and sparing chocolate being replaced with an assortment of alcoholic tipples, luxury beauty products, and even daily blog offerings. This is the year the “luxury” advent calendar has gone truly mainstream.

Some of these, of course, are for children (Vtech has one, as does Smiggle), but most high-end calendars are squarely aimed at adults with plenty of disposable cash. As the Christmas period gets bigger and busier each year, people are looking for an opportunity to treat themselves. In many respects these calendars have shifted from counting down the days to Christmas to satisfying the demand for a treat every day.

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Since Selfridges launched its beauty calendar with cosmetics giant L’Oréal for a modest £60 back in 2010, a huge number of beauty and fragrance brands, both high-end and high-street, including Jo Malone, Diptyque, Boots No7 and the Body Shop, have released their own take on the tradition. But are they worth it? Zoella received criticism from parents pestered into buying her advent calendar for their children, which featured 12 gifts including a bauble, a few stickers, and a pen, for £50. It appears shoppers are more willing to fork out on a little bit of a luxury for themselves in the run-up to Christmas than a loved one – after all we all need something to get us through those hours battling the high-street masses.

On the other end of the scale is Liberty’s beauty advent calendar which went on sale for £175, but claims to have products worth £500. Shoppers can quickly assess the value of a calendar and its contents, and it’s this that drives customers to queue for hours to ensure they get their hands on one. But is it just a marketing ploy? The beauty calendars, in particular, are so successful because they work so well on social media – instead of a beauty blogger posting a product once, they’re posting pictures every day for 12 or 25 days. It’s a powerful tool to getting the most content out of one product.

To those who argue that the trend for luxury calendars is just another example of the mass commercialism of Christmas, you’re going against a tradition that goes back to the Victorian period. Christmas has always been a time of excess, and we’ve always been encouraged to spend, so really, as you are crunching your 25th bag of pork scratchings, or lighting a miniature Yankee Candle, or you’ve done nearly three weeks straight with a daily craft beer miniature, you should be thanked for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive.

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