Anyone who grew up in a Christian household knows two truths: One, you can learn a lot about biblical themes from a talking cucumber. And two, no holiday season is complete without an Advent calendar.
A religious custom that stems from 19th-century Lutherans in Germany, Advent calendars traditionally mark each day of (you guessed it) Advent — the hopeful season that spans four Sundays leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on Dec. 25. They often contain compartments or pockets that can be filled with tiny trinkets for kids, designed to be opened one at a time in a fun countdown to Christmas.
In a moderately blasphemous twist, recent adaptations by big-name brands have given Advent calendars secular appeal as a seasonal holiday indulgence for people (and even pets) of all ages. After hitting a mainstream stride in the mid-2010s, Google search interest for the phrase “advent calendar” has reached an all-time high in late 2022.
Much of Advent calendars’ current popularity can be credited to TikTok, where they’ve starred in myriad unboxing videos that are suspenseful and addictive to watch (in a similar vein as fashion hauls). But it’s also because they’re easy ways for retailers to tempt cagey, inflation-weary consumers into sampling products they may not have purchased otherwise — everything from fancy French jams to LEGO sets. Advent calendars are a prime example of “needing a little treat” culture (treatcore? Being treat-pilled?) at work.
Many Advent calendars have sold out already at this point in the season, but if you hurry, you can still order one before carolers start lining up on your doorstep. Keep reading for a list of our favorite Advent calendars of 2022.