Expensive advent calendars – what’s that all about?!

Now you may be forgiven for thinking I’m an old Scrooge. I am a bit. I do actually like Christmas. I like the break from work and the time to spend with my family. But there are also many things that annoy me about it. There’s all the hard work for starters (I would happily have Christmas on alternate years, rather than every year). Then there is the constant invention of pointless things to make people spend more money on things they don’t need. I had a moan a few years back about Christmas Eve boxes (yes, I still dislike them) and Elf on the Flipping Shelf (ditto). But now I’m feeling all angry about advent calendars with stuff in them. Not chocolates. Expensive stuff. Like beauty products, gin or stationery.

WHY?! Why on earth do we need these things?!

Now of course this is my opinion. You may not agree with it. You are welcome to your opinion and I am welcome to mine. Especially on my own blog.

I dislike these advent calendars for a whole variety of reasons.

First, there’s the expense. Something which should cost a couple of quid costs an absolute fortune. I’ve seen a gin calendar for £100. A HUNDRED QUID!

Just to put that into context, that’s my budget for my kids’ Christmas presents every year. Their Christmas presents, not their advent calendar. The advent calendar is for counting down the days to Christmas (when you receive presents), maybe with the help of a small chocolate every day. It’s not for receiving presents to the value of your entire Christmas budget over the course of December. In my opinion, at least.

John Lewis has got a beauty advent calendar for £150. But it’s OK, because the contents are worth £255.

I was always taught, and it’s a good motto to live by, that a bargain is only a bargain if you need it. Does anyone need all those ‘bargain’ items in that ridiculously expensive advent calendar? I don’t think so!

Because, let’s be honest, most of us have our own preferred skincare and beauty products. So can anyone genuinely, hand on heart, say that they will find a use for everyone single one of those (alleged) £255’s worth of items?!

Which of course brings me onto the most important point of all. Spend your money on what you like, spoil your kids as much as you like, that’s your choice. But fill the world with bits of tat that nobody wants or needs? That’s wrong. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and consumerism is a massive contributor to that.

We are all consumers, of course, we are. I’m a consumer. I get through three pairs of trainers every year because of all the running I do. But I refuse to buy things I don’t need. All of those lovely beauty products or bits of stationery have used energy, water and natural resources to make and transport them. And many of them will simply end up in landfill, where they will sit for thousands of years.

All in the name of a quick hit of happiness on the 7th of December.

So this year, I will be doing a reverse advent calendar for a local food bank. It won’t be anything fancy – just food in a cardboard box, but it’s a small gesture – putting something back at a time of consumerism and greed.

And my kids will enjoy a small chocolate every day from their advent calendars.

Expensive advent calendars - what's that all about, advent calendar, Christmas

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’m so with you on this. And elf on the shelf and christmas eve boxes. Although at least those tend to be more useful like a movie, drinks and pjs.

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    • So glad to hear that someone agrees with me! To be honest, I think lots of people agree, but I also think lots of people are very in favour of these things and may be offended by my views, but I totally stand by them. I think the idea of new pyjamas for Christmas Eve is quite cute, but I won’t even do that as it’s still presents before Christmas.

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  2. Advent calendar with gifts seem to have exploded in recent years. I did get the M&S beauty calendar last year. With 2 teen daughters, the contents were soon used, but it is not something I’d get again. Potentially lots of waste and a veiled form of marketing presented as a “gift”. We do do pyjamas on Christmas Eve, with hot choc and a movie, but not a box. It is a lovely famly tradition. I’m so thankful that, when the creepy Elf on the Shelf made it over here, my children were not the target age. Love the idea of a reverse advent calendar.

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    • Yes, I’m very grateful that my kids are too old for Elf on the Shelf too. I think pyjamas on Christmas Eve is a nice idea, but if I suggested it, my whole family would think I’d lost my mind! I can imagine that teenage girls would like the contents of these beauty calendars and they are far less likely to get wasted if they’re shared.

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  3. I have written a similar post (and am now linking to this) about Christmas as a whole. In fact I have bought a reusable advent calendar for my children to share.

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    • Christmas as a whole is definitely full of waste and it’s something I’ve been banging on about for years. A reusable advent calendar sounds like a nice idea, but do you put things in it or is it just pictures that you reuse every year? (I am very much in favour of calendars that are just pictures!)

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  4. Meanwhile in Canada we apparently have cannabis advent calendars (don’t worry, my kids get chocolate!).

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    • Wow, that is crazy! Who on earth would buy those?! Chocolate is definitely preferable!

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  5. I completely agree. I’m not organised enough to do a reverse advent calendar, but I do make sure I give some bits to the food bank near to Christmas and take some things to charity Christmas appeals that I gather through my gift guides. The girls have a reusable felt advent calendar that we put something little in each day like a chocolate or a letter “from the elves”. It also has a little decoration for each day that they hang on it. This year they’ll have a chocolate one to share as well, because I got it in a goodie bag from Blogon. If someone wants to buy me £100 worth of gin I won’t complain. But I’d rather have my £100 worth of gin in four decent sized bottles than 24 tiny ones thanks very much.

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    • I must say that my reverse advent calendar won’t be anything special at all. It will be a mixture of stuff from our cupboards and little things I pick up in the supermarket. No doubt at some point I will get in trouble for having this stuff hanging around the house and making a mess! I won’t be organised enough to get it to the food bank before Christmas if I go right up to the 24th, but that’s not a bad thing as I think everyone will get stuff there before Christmas, so they might appreciate some stuff afterwards too.
      The girls’ advent calendar sounds very sweet. x

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  6. Yes, yes and yes. I must admit I do like a stationery calendar but I wouldn’t spend more than £20 on it and we have had a few of the LEGO ones over the years but at least the LEGO then gets played with. But these expensive ones are crazy and there are some that are as expensive as £600!!! What is even more crazy is that a lot of the really expensive ones sell out in minutes. It is all madness. I couldn’t get onto the Aldi website two nights ago and had to sit in an actual queue! The reason was crazy people all trying to buy cuddly Kevin the Carrot who had been released that morning and had sold out within three hours. It is all insanity. There is enough to spend on at this time of year without all of that nonsense

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    • It’s definitely insanity! That’s crazy about the Kevin the Carrot. My husband went into John Lewis to try to buy an Excitable Edgar for one of our nephews a day or two after the advert came out and they were all sold out!
      My younger son had a couple of Lego advent calendars when he was younger, but he bought them with his own birthday money. I would never spend that much on one myself – especially as I would have to buy three of them!

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  7. I’m a sucker for seeing what others are doing and being drawn in but this is one thing I’ve always drawn a line on. I’m not prepared to spend money on that! However, I did win one this year so you mag well see a body shop one on my Instagram stories! I wouldn’t have bought it though at that price. No way! My kids get a chocolate one too.

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    • It’s crazy money and just seems pointless. Will look out for your Body Shop one on Instagram.
      My younger son doesn’t even like chocolate advent calendars, he’d rather have an old fashioned one with pictures in it, but my mum (who always buys the advent calendars) couldn’t find him one this year.

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  8. totally agree, Christmas for many has just become a time to show off, more so now with so many social media channels.
    Elf needs putting in a cardboard box and burying under 6 ft of concrete, Not to mention the expectation of parents to come up with more stupid/messy/outrageous ideas for them to perform that the parents set up and then clean up.
    Back in my day we got one advent calendar between the four of us and opened every 4th door.

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    • You’ve hit the nail on the head there – it is about showing off! If it was really about ‘making memories’ people wouldn’t actually need to put it all on Instagram. I think the fact that parents mess up their own houses for the elf is crazy.
      We had one advent calendar between the three of us when I was a child.

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