The 5 Best Advent Calendars of 2014

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If we’re being honest, advent calendars have a tendency to leave us wanting more. Granted, the thrill of receiving this treat-a-day present has never been about what’s inside. It’s all about the spark of excitement in revealing a surprise every day.

Usually that surprise is cheap chocolate. Chocolate that is gritty. Chocolate that does not shine (as quality bon-bons often do), but instead takes on an almost chalky pallor. It’s chocolate that has quit on life, but is still good enough for a cheap thrill.

Today, advent calendars have stepped up their game. They’re not relegated to just edible treats, either. And they often contain gifts you’d be inclined to buy standalone.

Here are 5 such calendars worth gifting this holiday season:

Ciate Mini Mani Manor Advent Calendar, $72, Sephora
The always-popular Ciate advent calendar features 24 highly-pigmented nail polishes in an array of colours and finishes all housed in an adorable house. This advent calendar sells out fast, so if there’s a nail polish fan on your list you better act quick.

The Best of the Body Shop Advent Calendar, $50, Body Shop
This advent calendar provides a lot of bang for your buck and comes packed with body butters, body oil, face treatments, nail polish and fragrance. If they love body care products, they’ll eat it up… or that is, slather it on.

Benefit Candy-Coated Countdown Advent Calendar, $119, Sephora and
The Benefit advent calendar features 24 miniature versions of some of Benefit’s most popular products, including cult favourites like Benetint cheek and lip tint, the POREfessional primer, and They’re Real mascara.

Pomegranate Advent Calendars, $55-$115,
The Pomegranate service allows you to select the number of days featured in your advent calendar (8, 12 or 24) as well as the gifts that go inside (a selection of holiday crafts items as well as “good deed” gifts that donate a portion of sales to notable charities).

L’Occitane 13 Desserts of Provence, $99,
Surely they’d love the trip to Provence even more, but failing that do you think your giftee would enjoy a selection of mini French body elixirs and moisturizers in beautifully appointed bottles and jars? If the answer is “oui, oui” then this advent calendar is for them.