BY LINZI DAVIES
Next month sees the start of Advent and the countdown to Christmas – it seems to come around faster every year! Advent Calendars have grown in popularity over recent times, when once they were just for children with a small chocolate treat behind each door, now everyone can get involved including adults and even pets! There are chocolate alternatives such as sweets and toys for the kids, while adults can indulge in cheese and alcohol versions if they don’t have a sweet tooth. Here is a selection of Advent Calendars available this year.

FOR THE KIDS

Aquabeads Advent Calendar £19.99 from stockists including Asda, John Lewis and Amazon
Suitable for ages 4-9 years, the pack includes beads and everything you need to create 15 designs and a winter themed background sheet. When finished, the characters which include Father Christmas, a snowman, gingerbread man and a Christmas pudding can also be added to loops to use as Christmas tree decorations.

PLAYMOBIL
From £19.99 available from www.playmobil.co.uk and other stockists
There are three advent calendars available in the range. 1 2 3 Christmas in the Forest is suitable for ages 18mths and above (priced £24.99) whilst the Christmas Ball and Construction Site Fire Rescue calendars are suitable for ages 5 and up. Each one contains a surprise piece behind each of the 24 doors and a backdrop to complete the scene.

Vtech Toot-Toot Friends
£24.99 from www.vtech.co.uk and Amazon
The Toot-Toot Friends advent calendar is suitable for ages 1-5, and features characters including reindeer, elves, a MagicPoint Father Christmas, sleigh and much more. The box folds down to reveal a cute and colourful Christmas scene.

Percy Pig
£5 from M&S
Little fans of the famous Percy Pig will be delighted with this traditional chocolate advent calendar. Each window reveals a milk chocolate shaped treat and a bag of Percy Pig sweets to enjoy on Christmas Day! The bright and colourful packaging shows some festive Percy Pigs enjoying the Christmas season.

HARIBO
From £5 B&M, Tesco, Wilkinsons, Asda and Morrisons
A great alternative to chocolate, the HARIBO calendar features favourites from around the world such as Tropifrutti, Phantasia and MAOAM Pinballs. Special Christmas themed packs include sour Winterland and Merry Christmas with shapes such as gingerbread, stars, Santa, snowmen and Christmas trees.

FOR ADULTS

Pork Crackling Classic Advent Calendar
£17.50 from Debenhams, John Lewis, Selfridges and www.snafflingpig.co.uk
Everybody knows someone who loves pork crackling and for them, Snaffling Pig have created their dream advent calendar. It features 8g bags of crackling in a variety of flavours including pigs in blankets, BBQ, black pepper, salt n vinegar plus more. The packaging features a striking Allan Deas design. There is also a gluten free version available on their website.

Gourmet Popcorn Advent Calendar
£25 from www.joeandsephs.co.uk, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols
Joe & Sephs are a family run, London based business known as the Willy Wonka of popcorn! Their gourmet advent calendar contains 12 different flavours of popcorn behind the 24 doors including speculoos, orange chocolate and banoffee pie. The snow-covered Victorian shop front design on the calendar brings a Dickensian nostalgia to Christmas.

Cheese Advent Calendar
£8 from Asda
Cheese fanatics will love this Ilchester advent calendar featuring 8 different cheese varieties. All your favourites are included such as Applewood, Double Gloucester, Mexicana, Wensleydale, Jarlsberg and a brand-new gingerbread flavour.

Gingle all the Way Advent Calendar, £10 from M&S

Gin must be one of the most popular tipples of choice now, so why not combine the drink with delicious chocolate for a tasty treat each day of Advent? This adult offering from M&S features milk and dark chocolate gin truffles, with an extra treat of a mini bottle of London Dry Gin for Christmas Day!

Chococo Advent Selection Box
£24.50 from www.chococo.co.uk
This luxury advent calendar is for the chocolate connoisseur. The chocolates are handmade to order and delivered at the end of November for the freshest taste. Flavours include some of Chococo’s award winning flavours plus some new ones this year such as spiced rum, Mexican chilli and Christmas cluster. Beautiful chocolates and beautiful plastic free packaging! There is also a vegan box available too.

FOR PETS

Meaty Treat Dog Advent Calendar
£6 from Pets at Home

Pets can get in on the Advent Calendar action too with a variety of calendars. Pets at Home cater for the furry members of our family with calendars for dogs, cats and small animals, such as the meaty treats option for dogs. Don’t forget, chocolate and certain other foods that we eat are toxic for our pets so while they deserve a treat too, make sure it is one designed just for them!

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