To buy or not to buy an advent calendar?

There has never been so much choice on what type of Advent calendar to buy for counting the days until Christmas. It’s a market that continues to grow every year, with a growing range of ideas to appeal to all ages, tastes and interests, from children’s toys, beauty products, chocolates and other gourmet goodies, to treats for your pets. company and for those over 18. different alcohols and even sex toys.

Almost all brands now produce their own advent calendar. To help you choose there is an online site dedicated to selling advent calendars, with 250 different calendars ranging from € 9.99 for the basic Kinder chocolate version at the most expensive to € 700 for a calendar. limited edition Chanel in the shape of the iconic perfume bottle N ° 5. Last year there was also one for € 950 from Italian jeweler Carolina Bucci, culminating with an 18k gold bead on the 24th.

For those who think this is all too commercial, you can still make your own, but even then it’s easy to get tempted by the kits. Cultura offers ten models, as well as countless accessories such as ready-to-use matchboxes.

Advent calendars have evolved a lot since the first ones which, like so many Christmas traditions, originated in Germany in the 19th century. These were homemade to mark the countdown to December 25, and some were as simple as 24 chalk lines on a wall that kids could erase each day.

Very First Commercial Advent Calendar 1903 | Photo: Wikipedia

The first commercially available calendar is attributed to a Munich publisher, Gerhard Lang in 1903. It was called I am Moor of the Christkinds – ‘In the land of the baby Jesus’. Each day, a picture of a cut sheet was pasted onto a Christmas poem, which could be read before it was hidden. The first with doors showing an image behind appeared in 1920.

After World War II, the idea spread to other countries, and then in the 1950s the first calendars with chocolates appeared on the market. These remain the most popular.

Lego and Playmobil both started producing advent calendars in the late 90s. From then on, the market grew to suit all tastes, from major brands to animals, racing cars, board games. and puzzles.

Frédérique Tutt, global toy and game market expert for market research firm NPD, says sales of one-toy-per-day advent calendars increased 24% between 2018 and 2020. Not even the confinement, while toy stores were closed for part of the season. , could reverse the trend:

“It’s a massive increase. Advent calendar sales start in the last week of October and double each week and peak at the end of November. They are gaining in popularity and we see stores giving more and more space on their shelves to these products. The most popular are construction toys.

She says they are an effective marketing tool for businesses:

“I’m not sure, but I imagine the profit margins are a bit lower on advent calendars than on other toys, in the hopes parents buy them and after seeing the joy on their children’s faces every day when they open their calendars, choosing their products for Christmas gifts. Their average price is 22 €, which remains affordable for parents.

There are also “game” Advent calendars for adults. Frédérique Tutt, herself was seduced by one to share with her husband and her teenage son:

“I bought an Escape Game style calendar for the family. Every day there is a clue to solve that leads you to the next door to open. We can work as a team. My husband is good at math, I am good at words and my son is good at culture. I think it’s great fun being able to do this together and a welcome development in the range of calendars on the market.

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