Are expensive advent calendars worth the money?

December 30, 2018

Are expensive advent calendars worth the money? This year we took the plunge and bought the Playmobil advent calendar (for the children) and the M&S beauty one (for me, but the children opened it, of course). These types of advent calendars are ever-so-slightly more pricey than a simple paper or chocolate countdown, so I wanted to talk about whether they were worth the extra money.

Are expensive advent calendars worth the money? We review the Playmobil advent calendar and M&S beauty advent calendars

But what’s that, I hear you say – more advent calendar chat, and this side of Christmas? Surely not for anther ten or so months? Give us a break!

Yes I know, and yes, I’m sorry. But it’s fresh on my mind so thought I’d write about it ahead of, you know, *whispers* next Christmas. And as it was something I’d put some thought into this year, I thought it might be vaguely useful…

Playmobil advent calendar - is it worth the money?

Expensive advent calendars seem to have rocketed in popularity, especially this year, haven’t they? For adults they tend to be beauty or alcohol focused, and for children they’re typically based around a toy range. And of course, this is reflected in price – they’re more than your average £4-ish paper or chocolate one. The Jo Malone one, for example, is an eye-watering £300.

So, are expensive advent calendars worth the money…?

Here were my concerns about investing this year:

  • It’s another expense on top of Christmas presents at what’s already an expensive time
  • More than one child? You’re doubling / tripling the cost
  • It’s more STUFF at a time you’re trying to de-clutter ahead of Christmas. And more plastic waste. And more stuff when Christmas is coming and they’ll be getting lots of stuff anyway
  • What’s wrong with a paper advent calendar you’ve used for the past ten years? In my day, etc etc.

Thanks to YouTube (thanks, YouTube) my two had seen these types of calendars before and had asked for one last year. I was given the M&S one as a present in 2017 and wanted to get it again this year, so kind of thought it was only fair for them, too.

So, are expensive advent calendars worth the money? Here are which ones we bought and what we thought:

For the children the Playmobil advent calendar: We went for the winter skating scene, but a couple of different ones are available. It comes with a cardboard winter ice rink scene, and then each day they open a piece or character to add to the scene  – there were trees and animals then full-sized characters with accessories like a sledge or a basket of cakes.

I was worried it might start with more of the less interesting pieces of the scene in early December with a build up to the exciting bits, but the first piece they opened was the snow queen figure and there was a good amount of pacing, and because of this they didn’t lose interest and played with it all through the month (and now).

Are expensive advent calendars worth the money? Playmobil advent calendar

Price-wise, I’ve seen it cost around £20 – £25 full price, but we found a Playmobil Black Friday discount and they ended up being £14 each. Which you’d probably pay for a Playmobil stand-alone equivalent set, wouldn’t you?

For me, the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar: As I said, I’d had this before and loved it. If you’re not into beauty then it’s obviously not the one for you, but if you are it’s a good way of trying things out to see if you like them, or trying things you wouldn’t buy. Also, if you are into beauty but can’t go on a spending spree in Space NK any more, it does feel like a treat. There’ s a mix of a couple of full-sized products, miniatures and some travel sized. There were a couple of own-brand products (like the much-lauded sleep cream) as well as other brands, and this year there seemed to be a focus on anti-aging and night cream skincare products. The products are shown on the box so you can see before you buy.

It cost £35 if you spend £35 0n products, or £250 if you pay full price. And PS, this is a £35 spend per calendar – I bought one for my mum too so essentially had to spend £70 (although if you’re buying clothes or presents anyway…) It also sold out online quickly which is something to bear in mind for 2019 (eek).

So, are expensive advent calendars worth the money…?

In our experience, yes – the children loved the Playmobil advent calendar and the toys fit in with what they already have, and are something they will play with throughout the year. It also made the run-up to Christmas that little bit more exciting – once they’d opened the door each day, they had something fun to play with. I loved the M&S one again – even though if you think about it, it’s essentially a hook to reel you in to buy their products! – but if you’re into beauty products anyway, it’s a good way to try, plus M&S sell some brilliant beauty ranges, and I’ll buy some of the products again when the samples run out. As a caveat though, make sure you don’t pay full price for either – buy the children’s ones in the sales this year or when discounts are on.

PS – have you seen CBeebies Thumbelina yet? (How many times?!) And here’s an idea for a holiday activity – go to the London Transport Museum


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