13 of the best alternative advent calendars (with no chocolate in sight!)



7 Nov, 2022

Once upon a time, kids (and kids at heart) had one decision to make: chocolate or picture advent calendar. Not anymore!

Alternative advent calendars have exploded in recent years. Which is great news if you’ve got allergies, or you don’t have a particularly sweet tooth.

Here are some of our favourite options: 

1. Lipton Tea Advent Calendar

If you’re partial to a morning brew or afternoon cuppa, Lipton Tea has produced a tea advent calendar. The gift set features traditional English breakfast tea, plus herbal teas like chamomile, lemon and rosehip.

Even better, Lipton Tea has created its advent calendar in two sizes. 24 teabags for individuals, plus a 48 teabag version for tea-loving couples!

Buy: Amazon Germany

2. Popcorn Shed Advent Calendar

Forget sweet versus salty: popcorn’s gone gourmet in recent years. And a popcorn advent calendar gives you the opportunity to try some more unusual flavours.

Popcorn Shed’s 2022 advent calendar features six different options:

  • Peanut butter
  • Salted caramel
  • Berry-licious (sweet raspberry popcorn)
  • Cocoa-infused caramel
  • Pecan pie
  • Cookies & cream

All of which are handmade!

There are vegetarian and vegan versions available, and you’ll find a festive joke behind each door.

Buy: Popcorn Shed

3. Nespresso Coffee Advent Calendar

Around 4.8 million people own a Nespresso machine, so there will be strong appetite for this coffee advent calendar!

Nespresso has produced two different versions. A blue advent calendar featuring Original Line coffee pods, and a red version containing Vertuo Line coffees. Both products feature a beautiful presentation box that can be used again.

We will admit there is a small amount of chocolate in this advent calendar, but it’s very special. Nespresso has partnered with renowned chocolatier, Pierre Hermé, to create three limited-edition coffee chocolates.

Buy: Nespresso

4. Pringles Advent Calendar

Pringles usually claim that “once you pop, you can’t stop”. But snack lovers will need to exercise restraint with this crisp advent calendar!

This festive selection box features 40g tubs of Pringles potato crisps in four classic flavours.

The Pringles advent calendar is available in two sizes: 24 tubs and 12 tubs. It’s an ideal gift for anyone who prefers savoury snacks to sweet treats.

Buy: Amazon 

5. Bonne Maman Jam Advent Calendar

Bonne Maman’s jam advent calendar is a more grown-up choice than chocolate. Enjoy a mini jar of jams, spreads and conserves each day, plus a special gift on Christmas Eve.

Flavour highlights include fig and cardamom jam, peach and jasmine flower, pineapple and yuzu, and chestnut and orange. Plus you can hold onto the tiny jars for future use.

Buy: Bonne Maman 

6. Brewdog Sustainable Beer Advent Calendar

It wouldn’t be an alternative advent calendar list without a beer advent calendar! Brewdog’s gift set features 24 cans of craft beer including four exclusive flavours.

What’s more, Brewdog has made sure its beer advent calendar is sustainable. The box uses moulded pulp from old advent packaging. By recycling materials, the beer brand has saved 20 tonnes of CO2.

Buy: Brewdog

7. Chuckling Cheese Advent Calendar

Cheese was one of the first products to appear as a savoury advent calendar. And this festive offering from The Chuckling Cheese Company is a real treat for fromage fans.

The calendar features eight mini cheese truckles, each coated in wax for freshness. Unusual flavours include Mexican sweet chilli, orange & whisky, Sunday roast and Christmas pudding. There’s even a mystery cheese flavour to try! Just make sure you store this advent calendar in the fridge.

Buy: Chuckling Cheese


8. Gourmet Marshmallow Advent Calendar

If you’ve got a sweet tooth but you’re not into chocolate, The Naked Marshmallow Co has created a marshmallow advent calendar.

Behind each door is a gooey marshmallow in one of 12 different flavours. Choices include candy floss, cinnamon churro, fizzy watermelon, and mint choc chip. Plus the bonus treat of a salted caramel marshmallow bar on Christmas Day!

The calendar also includes festive jokes, fun facts and discount codes for The Naked Marshmallow Co’s products. And you can even upgrade your advent calendar to include a marshmallow toasting kit.

Buy: Naked Marshmallow

9. Pork Scratchings Advent Calendar

The Snaffling Pig’s pork scratchings advent calendar is usually a sell-out – and with good reason! Savoury snack fans love the brand’s mini bags of artisan pork crackling.

There are six flavours in this year’s crackling advent calendar:

  • Black pepper
  • Low & slow BBQ
  • Marvellous maple
  • Perfectly salted
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Salt n vinegar

All of which are sealed for freshness until March 2023.

The Snaffling Pig advent calendar is also more sustainable this year, as the product is plastic-free and fully recyclable.

Buy: Snaffling Pig

10. Selfridges Mini Mince Pie Advent Calendar

We all know someone who looks forward to mince pie season. This Selfridges advent calendar is the perfect gift, as they can enjoy a mini mince pie every single day in December.

Selfridges has included several different mince pie flavours – including citrus and almond. There’s even a 25th door with a mini Christmas cake waiting behind it!

Buy: Selfridges

11. Cartwright & Butler Advent Calendar

If you can’t decide what type of sweet treat you’d like in this year’s advent calendar, you don’t have to. Cartwright & Butler have collated their best-selling foods into this Christmas gift set.

Cartwright & Butler’s advent calendar features a selection of small treats, including:

  • Butter oat crumble biscuits
  • Cheese biscuits
  • Lemon zest shortbread
  • Fruit jellies
  • Ice Christmas loaf cake
  • Peanut and popcorn brittle
  • Rum & raisin fudge

Just make sure you clear your sideboard: at 54 x 43.5 x 23.5 cm, this is one of the larger advent calendars in our countdown!

Buy: Cartwright & Butler

12. Fever Tree Ultimate Gin & Tonic Advent Calendar

There are more types of gin available than ever before – something we spoke about in our Q&A with Sacred Spirits’ Founder, Hilary Whitney – so it seems appropriate to include a gin advent calendar in our list.

Fever Tree has created a calendar pairing gins and tonics for twelve refreshing tipples throughout December. Beverages include clementine tonic water, elderflower tonic water and aromatic tonic water, along with mini bottles of gin from The Botanic, Warner’s, Silent Pool, Tanqueray and Sipsmith.

Buy: John Lewis 

13. Fortnum & Mason Feasting Advent Calendar

For the ultimate indulgence, treat yourself to Fortnum & Mason’s Feasting Advent Calendar this year. The purveyor of luxury food and drink experiences has released a calendar of festive treats and tipples in a striking ‘beefeater cat’ gift box.

Among the products on offer in this ultimate foodie advent calendar are:

  • Christmas tea biscuits
  • Cranberry and port chutney
  • Figgy pudding liqueur
  • Marc de champagne truffles
  • Mini cognac butter
  • Salted caramel hot chocolate
  • Shropshire honey

Some of the items in Fortnum & Mason’s advent calendar have been exclusively produced in miniature size for this product. But if you get a taste for anything you try during December, you can purchase larger versions via the Fortnum and Mason website.

Buy: Fortnum and Mason

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