The top 10 most unique and beautiful advent calendars of 2014 for grown-ups

Everyone remembers the childhood excitement of peeling another day off your Snowman calendar in the seemingly never-ending countdown to Christmas.

As adults, we can re-claim that delight but with the added bonus of really fantastic gifts within.

From botanical gin samples to treasure troves filled with luxury beauty products, there's a whole range of glorious advent calendars out there that are specifically designed to pamper, thrill and indulge on the 24 days leading up to Christmas.

Those who love their creative design will revel in an increasing range of beautifully crafted and innovative advent countdowns, whether that's personalised photo chains or  pop-up trees you can decorate with tiny birds.

Add to the cheap chocolate option your mum (still) sends you and come herald in the festive season in style, with our 10 most unique and  advent calendars of 2014. 

  • The lifetime treasure

    This hand-crafted wooden house isn't cheap but will last you a lifetime of Christmas countdowns. Fill each drawer with individual delights and watch the magic take hold as the festive home lights up from within.


  • The personalised display

    This is a lovely idea - 24 Polaroid-style images of your choice hung up with pegs on a decorative string. Each day reveals a different image that means something important to you or a loved one, whether it's friends and family or an old holiday snap. 


  • The pre-Christmas pamper session

    This beautifully edited Liberty print calendar is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of high-end beauty buys. Behind the drawers lie treats such as Diptyque candles, Laura Mercier lipstick, luxury Omorovicza lip balm and more. 


  • The design triumph

    We do love a fabulous concept calendar and this one from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art ticks all the boxes. Each day is filled with a fanciful bird, which you can pick out and hang on the pop-up tree.

    $19.95 (about £12.70),

    (The Met does deliver to the UK - see here for time options and fees).

  • The gin edit

    Anyone who loves their gin edit will covet this frankly genius Botanical Ginvent Calendar, which takes the lucky recipient on a 24-day journey through 23 cold-distilled botanicals, as well as a base gin to which each is added. Bottom's up!


  • The traditional choice

    Germany is home to some of the most beautiful advent calendars in the world. Embrace the nostalgia of Christmas with one of these old-school montages, with glitter detail for added pizzazz.


  • For those with a sweet tooth

    When it comes to luxury and traditional confectionery, you can't do much better than Fortnum & Mason. Its wooden calendar (showing the facade of the iconic London store) is packed with delicacies, from sugar mice to humbugs and prettily wrapped individual chocolates.


  • The scented candles

    Tick off the days of December by burning these deliciously-scented mulled wine candles. With a warming fragrance of spiced berries and wine, they will conjure up the spirit of Christmas and you can burn them for around one and a half hours a night (total burning time is 40-45 hours).


  • The fortune cookie countdown

    Herald in Christmas with 24 fortune cookies, each individually sealed and numbered for the festive countdown. Creative flavours range from vanilla bean to hazelnut praline and apple pie.


  • The nail care one

    Ciate is one of the most playful and innovative nail varnish brands around. Its 2014 Mini Mani Manor calendar is filled with mini polishes and sprinkles with suitable festive titles, such as Candy Cane and Let It Snow. So much fun!


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