Image: Getty Images/Tina Tiller

You’re never too old for an advent calendar

Not feeling the festive spirit? Get yourself one of these bad boys and relive your childhood (but with added booze). 

Even though it arrives every year as reliably as rubbish spring weather and questions about what you’re doing for New Year’s, the festive season has a tendency to sneak up on us — or at least it feels that way. Christmas decorations at Farmers in October! Carols at the supermarket in November! It happens every year, but every year we feel affronted.

Because everyone knows that the real countdown to Christmas begins on December 1. That’s when you can get a tree, start regularly smashing four Christmas mince pies in one sitting and day-drink without anyone blinking an eye.

If you’re still not convinced the festive feels will kick in at the end of next week, may we suggest getting an advent calendar? You can opt for one of the kids’ ones filled with cheap chocolate — they’re still great, don’t get us wrong — but you don’t have to. Because there’s an array of adult-aimed advent calendars out there that will really get you in the mood for some festive frivolity.

“Ooh, this one feels like a bottle” (Photo: Getty Images)

Classic hits

If you don’t want to stray too far from the traditional chocolate advent calendar (yes, we know the truly ‘traditional’ ones only had bible scenes or whatever — don’t be so literal) but those $3 Warehouse ones don’t cut it, how about a bougie version? There is some assembly required with Honest Chocolat’s calendar, but it doesn’t sound too taxing, and you end up with dinky cardboard houses filled with a different grown-up treat for each day — chocolate macadamias, chocolate-dipped ginger, salted caramels etc. It’s $48, or $75 for the version with two treats per box (for couples, or greedy singletons).

There’s also this rather expensive number from Devonport Chocolates, but it is a charming ye olde worlde wooden one you can refill (with whatever you want) and reuse year after year after year after year etc.

Beery Christmas

You don’t get little doors to open with these ones, but instead you get something even better — beer. Delicious beer. What could be better than a box containing 24 mystery beers from around the world, one for each morning (JOKES… though it is Christmas), curated by the knowledgeable beer nerds from NZ-based beer subscription service Beer Jerk. It’s $200, and for the same price you could try The Beer Library’s version, which features some exclusive brews. If you’re a thrifty beer fan, save some bucks on this one from beercellar.co.nz, or this even more affordable number from excellent Upper Hutt brewery Kererū. LOOK AT THE KERERŪ WEARING A CHRISTMAS JUMPER! LOOK AT IT WILL YOU!

Get into the Christmas spirit(s)

I know what you’re thinking. But what if I want little doors to open? And hard liquor? Fear not, Fine Wine Delivery Co is here with the 12 Scotch Whiskies of Christmas, the 12 Rums of Christmas and the 12 Days of Ginmas for $99.99 each. No, there are not 24 doors — don’t be so damn greedy, it’s not what Christmas is about. (Though hypothetically you could get a couple and that would cover you for the month.) The Beer Library also does a gin version for $199.99 and yes, there are 24 of ’em. But no doors.

Liquor calendars and a kererū in a Christmas jumper

Mistletoe and wine (actually just wine)

Yes, it’s $600, but what price for festive happiness? Cult Wine sells delicious, natural-leaning vino, so you know these 25 half bottles of wine (one for each day in December, plus champagne for Christmas morn) will be damn good.

That’s the only available-in-NZ wine advent calendar we could find. What gives, winos?

Some other great advent calendars you can’t get here

There’s a lot wrong with the United Kingdom — bad weather, UKIP, insufferable real ale enthusiasts, a brutal legacy of colonial oppression and so on — but there’s a hell of a lot right about it too. Most definitely in the latter camp is the fine array of advent calendars produced by our British friends.

There’s an advent calendar filled with pork crackling, a sparkling wine one, coffee and tea advent calendars (those two actually do ship to New Zealand), and, readers, a cheese advent calendar. Please, Kiwi cheese merchants, let us have a cheese advent calendar by next year? Or if you’re crafty and don’t mind using a shitload of glad wrap, you can try making your own.

So there you have it – there’s no reason to let those greedy children have all the fun this December. Go forth and be festive.


Buy champagne online at Fine Wine Delivery Co, and source all your Christmas needs while avoiding the crowds. 

The Spinoff’s beverage content is brought to you by Fine Wine Delivery Co, which is completely and utterly devoted to good taste, whether it’s wine, food, craft beer, whisky, rum… Check out their website or pop into one of the two Auckland superstores.

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