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10 alternative advent calendars for grown-ups

From bouji and booze-filled to cheese-y or chocolate-y, we've found all the grown-up advent calendars to make the countdown to Christmas delicious this year. 

The holidays are almost upon us, and if we're going to be holed up in our apartments, we might need a little extra help to regain some of that festive cheer. Enter: advent calendars for grown-ups that say goodbye to teeny, tiny chocolates and hello to gin samples, matcha-infused gummies and merry-flavoured mocha. 

Whether you're gifting a friend (we think these advent calendars for grown-ups make for thoughtful drop offs to loved-ones during lockdown) or treating yourself, there's never been a better time to countdown to Christmas with whisky and cheese. Start getting hyped for the holidays today – or December 1 if you want to make it onto the Nice List. Who says kids get to have all the fun?

If some of our suggestions have sold out, why not create your own locally-sourced advent calendar and support a Toronto business? Pick up some local cans from one of Toronto's best breweries (like Bloor Street's Burdock Brewery), or wrangle a few bottles of your favourite local cider (like Queen Street East's Brickworks Ciderhouse) and resolve to open a day from now until Christmas: 24-pack, but make it festive. 

Boozy Advent Calendars

That Boutique-Y Gin Company Advent Calendar

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Grown-up advent calendars have been quickly gaining popularity in Canada, and this UK export is one of our faves. Drinks by the Dram makes the build-up to the big day just as exciting for big kids with a selection of calendars that reveal a unique 30ml bottle of booze. The bottles feature hand-illustrated labels and are designed with a bit of holiday whimsy as well as a wax-sealed top for a luxe touch. If a dram is your drink of choice, opt for That Boutique-Y Whisky Company Whisky Holiday Calendar ($199.95). We'll certainly drink to that.

$99.95, lcbo.com

Miller Lite Beer Calendar

Some of Toronto's breweries will be touting advent calendars to make you hoppy (see which of Ontario's craft breweries will be stocking Nita’s Craft Holiday Beer Calendar here). But if you want a lighter beer to sip this season, Miller Lite is giving you the chance to create your own calendar. Ship and Sip, Molson's beer delivery service, offers you a COVID-friendly way to get beer without having to leave the couch. Buy a 24-pack, and you'll have a chance to win a Miller Lite Holiday Sweater. Or, when you pick up a pack at the Beer Store with a winning PIN inside specially marked packs from November 9 - December 6, you'll have another chance to win the festive garment and enjoy your beer in style. 

$58.95, shipandsip.ca

Whitley Neill Gin Christmas Crackers Gift Pack

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The British gin producer – and one of our fave spirits – is putting out a gin calendar to kick off the festive season. But if the shipping fee is a little steep – and if gin for breakfast is a bit extra, even for 2020 – compromise with the Whitley Neill Gin Christmas Crackers Gift Pack, which features six of their delicious infused-spirits, including Rhubarb and Ginger, Pink Grapefruit and Blood Orange. 

$44.95, lcbo.com

Grape Witches Natural Wine Calendar

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In addition to opening a bottle shop during COVID, the Grape Witches are back with (probably) the first natural wine advent calendar just in time for the holidays. Our favourite wine women have gathered 11 of their best natural wines, plus one cider and a cute little snack from Robinson Bread and stuffed them into a dream 12-pack designed by local Toronto artist Laura Dawe. *writes panicky letter to Santa*

On sale Monday November 30th across Ontario and via contactless pick up in-store, $480, grapewitches.com

JP Chenet Advent Calendar

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Pairing wine with dinner is fine, and all. But this holiday season, why not pair some of your favourite vino with...Wednesday? Behind each window, you'll find a mini 200 ml bottle of white, rosé or sparkling wine – because you are a queen and you deserve it.

$159.95, lcbo.com

Cheese, Jam and Candy Advent Calendars

So Wrong It's Nom Cheese Calendar

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It's a good day to have a gouda day – and most days in December, come to think of it, thanks to this cheesy calendar. Unwrap 24 mini cheese packages during the lead up to the 25th and discover everything from Red Leicester to mature cheddar. Save for your lunch – or treat yourself to the gooey stuff the second after your alarm goes off – look, it's been a rough year, you do you.

From $20, sobeys.ca

Bonne Maman Advent Calendar

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If you're anything like us, Bonne Maman's little pots of preserves will bring you instant holiday joy the moment you open their cute checkered lids. Their advent calendar is filled with 24 homemade jams in unique flavours like White Nectarine & Peach, Apricot & Mango, and Raspberry & Lychee, so you can get creative in the kitchen – or in your PB&J sandwiches – all through December. 

$40, bonnemaman.ca

Sugarfina 24 Tastes of Christmas Advent Calendar

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If the holidays are your favourite time of year because the hostess usually has bowls filled with candies, the Sugarfina calendar is for you. Sate sweet tooths with this delicious calendar filled with fun flavours like Christmas Trees, Merry Berries, Pumpkin Spice Almonds, Sugar Cookies and Snowman Gummies. Warning: sugar high may last until the new year. 

$50 (USD), sugarfina.com

Tea and Coffee Advent Calendars

24 Days of Matcha 

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David's Tea has always been a fan of the advent (their 24 Days of Tea is an annual bestseller), but this year marks their first matcha countdown. The brand new calendar is stuffed with 24 matcha-themed goodies, like high-quality classic and festive green tea blends, plus sweet treats like infused chocolates, vegan matcha alligator gummies and a jar of matcha honey. Because you can never have too matcha a good thing.

$65, davidstea.com

Cup and You Coffee Calendar

We already christen each morning with a cup of java, so why not make it festive? This adorable coffee calendar delivers a new and festive freshly ground Arabica coffee pod every day. Hang it in the kitchen above your coffeemaker and countdown to Christmas with wintery flavours like Irish whiskey, apple pie, Christmas cake and Snickers. 

$89.20 with delivery, etsy.ca

Chocolate Advent Calendars

Soul Roasters Dark Chocolate 

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It just wouldn't be the holidays without some chocolate, but this year go the dark route for a healthier alternative. Soul Chocolate sources its cacao from the Dominican Republic, and at 70 per cent, the chocolate still has a caramel and honey sweetness. Less sugar, more magnesium, zinc and iron – plus something fun to look forward to every morning instead of the usual doom. 

$30.17, soulroasters.com

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