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#Brands have taken over everything else, so why not Advent calendars?

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If all you want for Christmas is to learn more about #brands, then boy oh boy are you ever in for a holiday miracle! This season, you can buy your loved ones an Advent calendar from a brand.

Advent, of course, is the theological name for the Christian season beginning four Sundays before Christmas (this year, that means Nov. 30). Christians traditionally spend that season celebrating the first coming of Christ and anticipating his second coming.

One traditional way to mark the season: Advent candles — one for each Sunday, often nestled in a wreath. These days, many families use Advent calendars, too.

The calendars often offer a small gift — often chocolate — each day of the Advent season. They’re basically perfect for brands: Put some otherwise free samples in a decorated box with some cool doors, and suddenly those samples are a collector’s item! Or at least they’re the perfect early holiday gift, exposing people to various products during the busiest shopping season of the year.

But, you say, there are so many brands out there. How do I choose? Which #brand is my brand? Can I sell my Advent calendar on eBay even after I use it? (Yes.) Can you please bring back Mark Berman and get this nonsense off the Post Nation blog? (Not yet!)

Anyway, here are some options to help you choose the branded Advent calendar that is correct for you.


Lego

Lego Advent calendars, I am told, are kind of a big deal. A cursory search corroborates this: The company offers several different themed calendars for sale this year, including a “friends” Advent calendar — which is pink and purple and I assume is targeting small human girls; a “city” Advent calendar; and, brand upon brand, a “Star Wars” Advent calendar.

Each day reveals a different toy, like a tiny Lego dog, a tiny Lego man (or woman), or a tiny Lego couch.

According to Lego, these calendars cost anywhere from about $30 for the city version to $40 for the “Star Wars” one. Except the “Star Wars” calendar is already sold out on the official Lego site, which means you could end up paying more.

Verdict: Hmm. If they made an Advent calendar for their women in STEM line, I’d think about it.


Yankee Candle Company

I went to college near the Yankee Candle company’s Massachusetts headquarters. How do I know this? The same way I know there’s a Yankee Candle Company outpost in a mall: With proximity comes an overwhelming smell. So the highway in Deerfield, Mass., smells like Mixed Yankee Candle Company, which smells more or less like this optical illusion looks.

So if you want that smell in your home, in a more controlled, holiday-related way, buy this Advent calendar. On the company’s British site, enthusiasts can buy a wreath-shaped Advent calendar with several “winter” scented tea candles inside. The American “Christmas Countdown Calendar” is more bland. Scent of a #brand cost: About $25.

Verdict: My head still hurts from looking at that optical illusion.


Angry Birds

For the analog game enthusiast who also loves apps, there is this Advent calendar-game filled with pieces of plastic that look like items from Angry Birds, the phone game. It’s manufactured by Mattel.

Description: “Now kids can play their #1 favorite app game in real life.”

None of the birds have special powers, or whatever is great about the birds on the phone game.

The plastic version of Angry Birds in a box costs $22 on Amazon.

Verdict: I don’t really understand how this is festive, but okay.


Starbucks

Mini grahams! Gift cards! Reusable tins! A chalkboard!

Starbucks apparently went to a craft store and made you this Pinterest-y Advent calendar.

Because it’s impossible to put a mint latte in a tin a month in advance, most of the treats here are chocolate-covered graham crackers. The ultimate prize? A $5 gift card to Starbucks, so you can buy a latte yourself.

Verdict: People already measure the beginning of the holiday season with the sudden appearance of red cups in Starbucks stores, so this #brand’s aesthetic spread into Advent calendars seems inevitable. Next year: Starbucks-brand Christmas trees?


The Body Shop

Like Lego Advent calendars, cosmetics Advent calendars are also apparently a huge thing, but for a slightly different demographic. And they can get expensive (more on that later).

The Beauty Advent Calendar, from the Body Shop, is just $50. You have to buy it in a Body Shop store.

Verdict: This Advent calendar gives six cents to War Child, a charity that works on education access in conflict zones. So that’s nice.


Benefit Cosmetics

For the price of two Body Shop Advent calendars, you could buy this Benefit Cosmetics sample Advent calendar.

Yep, it’s $100.

For 24 days of samples. I don’t know what else to say.

 Verdict: I give up.

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