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Plant advent calendars and other unique ideas to shop now in time for Christmas

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Leah Sinclair
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A collage of Alternative advent calendars

From acts of kindness to miniature plants, these advent calendars will add a unique spin to your countdown to Christmas.

It’s safe to say that many of us have had a tumultuous couple of years. The coronavirus pandemic is filtered its way into various aspects of our day-to-day lives to make us more appreciative of the little things.

This appreciation can be felt even more during the Christmas period, as we gather with loved ones to share in our collective joy to round out the end of the new year.

And while luxurious gifts and decadent spreads might be a norm for some, there’s something special about taking an alternative approach to the festive season – whether that’s embracing new traditions or switching up the time of gifts we give and receive.

One of the ways to get into the festive spirit is counting down the days with advent calendars – and this selection is perfect for those looking for a gift with a twist.

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  • Rare Birds 24 days of reading advent calendar

    Rare Bird Books Advent Calendar
    The Drop: Rare Bird books advent calendar

    Hot sauce. Jewellery. Cacti. Cocktails. These days, there’s an advent calendar for everyone – including literary fans, thanks to Rare Birds Books. The book club service that champions female authors has created a genius calendar which features a quote from their favourite books of 2021 behind each of the 24 doors – but exactly which book the quotes belong to remains a secret.

    Shop Rare Birds 24 days of reading advent calendar at The Drop, £35

  • Stiching Me Softly Crochet yarn advent calendar

    alternative advent calendar yarn etsy
    Stiching Me Softly Crochet yarn advent calendar

    Crochet your way into Christmas with this yarn advent calendar.

    Described as the ultimate luxury craft kit, this calendar includes 100% British wool from West Yorkshire spinners and allows people to unwrap 1 of 12 little parcels each day.

    Shop Stiching Me Softly Crochet yarn advent calendar at Etsy, £130

  • Advent of Change Advent Calendar

    alternative advent calendar john lewis
    John Lewis Advent of Change Advent Calendar

    If you’re looking to support a good cause, this advent calendar might be the one for you.

    Advent of Change is a UK-based non-profit organisation, and they have created an advent calendar, which reveals a new charity recipient every day.

    Each of the 24 perforated doors represents a £1 donation and will tell you how your contribution could be used – from providing food and medicine for those in need to protecting our oceans.

    Shop premium advent calendar at Advent of Change, £32.95

  • Artisan Coffee Co. advent calendar

    a photo of a coffee and chocolate advent calendar
    Alternative advent calendars: Artisan Coffee Co. advent calendar

    This advent calendar is perfect for coffee connoisseurs and chocolate lovers, thanks to its 24 drawers which includes two servings of coffee and chocolates in each one.

    Shop limited edition coffee bag advent calendar at Artisan Coffee Co, £69.95

  • Scentsational Wax Co Luxury soy wax melts advent calendar

    alternative advent calendar wax melts etsy
    Scentsational Wax Co Luxury soy wax melts advent calendar

    Ignite your senses and fill your home with beautiful Christmas scents with this handmade wax melt advent calendar, which contains 24 melts made from soy wax in cute little present shapes.

    Shop Scentsational Wax Co Luxury soy wax melts advent calendar at Etsy, £21.99

  • Personalised Spotify advent Christmas calendar

    A photo of a woman holding a phone to a board
    Personalised Spotify advent christmas calendar

    Music is a key part of immersing yourself in the Christmas spirit – and this little treat is a creative way to get you going.

    This advent calendar works in conjunction with Spotify and for each door, a new Christmas track is revealed. All you have to do is hold your phone or tablet up to the calendar to hear the Christmas hit for that day and will help you to curate the ultimate holiday playlist.

    Shop the personalised Spotify advent Christmas calendar, £19.99 

  • The 24 reasons to smile teabag edition advent calendar

    A photo of two advent calendars
    Alternative advent calendars: The 24 reasons to smile teabag edition advent calendar

    Whether it’s a Secret Santa gift, a something for yourself, T2 24 reasons to smile advent calendar is perfect for the ultimate tea lover. The calendar includes individually wrapped teabags or loose-leaf teas and will be a tasty treat for you to brew on these colder winter nights.

    Shop T2 24 reasons to smile teabag edition advent calendar, £15

  • A Date A Day couples advent calendar

    A photo of buttons on a table
    A Date A Day couples advent calendar

    This charming advent calendar is perfect for couples looking to add some sparkle to their dating life. The date a day calendar comes with luxurious copper foiled tokens, with one idea hidden inside each numbered envelope, allowing couples to get creative this spending festive season.

    Shop the A Date A Day couples advent calendar at Etsy, £28

  • Friends: The official advent calendar

    Photo of the cover of Friends: The official advent calendar
    Friends: The official advent calendar

    Rachel, Monica, Phoebe and the gang will be there for you with this advent calendar filled with unique keepsakes and trinkets reminiscent of the iconic TV show. The advent calendar will take you on a journey through some of the show’s best moments, and is the perfect way to capture the holiday memories from the series, or to create your own. 

    Shop the Friends: The official advent calendar at Amazon, £14.59

  • Inspire Advent Tree

    advent calendar christmas tree
    Inspire Advent Tree

    Dubbed as “the kindest advent calendar in the world”, the Inspire Advent Tree is an interactive, freestanding wooden count down calendar with 24 magnetic wooden shapes, one for each day of advent.

    Each numbered shape has a festive picture or print on one side, and an act of kindness to carry out that day on the other making this the ultimate gift to pay it forward.

    Shop the Advent Tree at Inspire, £35

  • Wooden dog biscuit advent calendar

    A photo of a dog behind a wooden dog bone
    Wooden dog biscuit advent calendar

    For dog parents across the UK, this wooden dog biscuit advent calendar is a great treat for your pup. Complete with a bone biscuit for each day, this is the perfect personal gift that is sure to have your pet jumping for joy.

    Shop the Wooden dog biscuit advent calendar, £28

  • Adventure awaits advent calendar

    A photo of letters on a table
    Adventure awaits advent calendar

    This advent calendar is filled with meaningful messages for everyday adventures, big trips and everything between.

    The set is made up of symbols and phrases across 12 pewter pocket tokens and 12 little extras with a meaningful message for each day of advent.

    Shop the Adventure awaits advent calendar at Not On The High Street, £67.50

  • The Urban Botanist plant advent calendar

    Photo of The Urban Botanist plant advent calendar
    The Urban Botanist plant advent calendar

    This advent calendar is a plant parent’s dream, as you get the chance to reveal a new desert succulent or cacti each day, and it is sure to have your home feeling festive and oh-so-green.

    Shop The Urban Botanist plant advent calendar, £174.95

  • Daily messages advent calendar

    A photo of advent calendar hanging on a wall
    Daily messages advent calendar

    Filled with 24 special notes, this is a treat for those looking to uplift themselves with positive messages in the run-up to Christmas.

    Shop the Daily messages advent calendar, £19

  • Beder Christmas advent calendar 2021

    beder christmas advent calendar5
    Beder Christmas Advent Calendar

    Mental health charity Beder has launched a limited edition advent calendar containing a range of digital and physical wellness products.  Ranging from aromatherapy and herbal teas to a live yoga class and a calming bedtime app, this calendar aims to help nourish the mind, body and soul during the festive period.

    Shop Beder Christmas Advent Calendar 2021, £49.99

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