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  • Ellen Byron

Rating my 2022 Advent Calendars


Not to brag, but I was into advent calendars before they were a thing. I grew up with the beautiful, sparkly ones from Germany. When we had our daughter, I bought the Playmobile calendars where each box contained a little toy you added to build a Christmas scene. And of course, we've had the Trader Joe's chocolate calendars ever since we discovered them.


Last year, I added cookies, wine, and cheese to my calendar haul. This year, I thought I'd add a new twist to the season: rating my calendars on a scale of one to five Santas.


ANTICO MULINO ITALIAN COOKIE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION (Cost Plus World Market) 🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅

I'm sure part of my affinity for this calendar comes from my Italian background. But it's great to wake up to a mini biscotti or sugar cookie on a 24-day basis. My one quibble is there's no special cookie for the 24th. That would have been a nice touch.


ILCHESTER BRITISH CHEESE ADVENT CALENDAR (Ralph's) 🎅🎅🎅🎅🎅

Warning: if you don't like cheddar cheese, this calendar isn't for you. I love it, so I love this calendar. Small con: the spicy sample is so spicy even my husband complained. But there were only one or two of them. Big plus: the cheese-y - literally! - puns behind every door:


WINE CALENDAR (TARGET) 🎅🎅🎅🎅

This calendar was a big improvement on the one I bought last year from a popular source that always sells out (I won't name it since I found it disappointing.) I appreciate the clever titles for each bottle in this collection and the wide range of appellation, which is denoted on each bottle. I deducted a Santa because I felt like the collection was bit red-wine heavy (I'm more a fan of white) and they didn't include a small champagne bottle for the 24th, the one plus of last year's collection.


TRADER JOE'S 24 DAYS OF MILK CHOCOLATE ADVENT CALENDAR 🎅🎅🎅🎅

This calendar, priced at a remarkably low 99 cents, is a classic. For quality and price, it really deserves 5 Santas. I deducted one for the most petty of reasons. I feel like the chocolate on the 24th should be a bit bigger in honor of Christmas Eve. NOTE: this particular calendar has spawned a lot of equally cheap knockoffs. None compare to the original. Of course, if you don't have a TJ's nearby, you may not have this option. No worries. Even the imitators are fun and tasty.


HERSHEY'S HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN (99 Cents Store) 🎅🎅1/2🎅

This impulse buy at the 99 Cent store was a pleasant surprise. I'm a Hershey's fan. (This is purely subjective on my part but I find it better than Nestle's.) Each door opens to either a 4-pack of green-and-red Hershey-ets (their version of M&Ms) or a Hershey's mini bar. The 2 and a half Santa rating comes from a paucity of bars and abundance of fake M&M's. Don't get me wrong. They're tasty. But I could have used more mini's, which I love.


TRADER JOE'S ADVENT OF THE COCKTAIL HOUR 🎅🎅

A collection of liquor-infused truffles, I personally found this collection disappointing. But that's because I can't stand anything coffee-flavored (I know, I know - I'm an outlier on this), and there were more coffee liquor-flavored truffles than anything else. I did give the calendar a second Santa for offering something no other collection did: a 25th window with a nice special treat. (Sidebar: TJ's chocolate cherry cordials, their other liquor-infused option, are delicious. My daughter needed to show her ID to buy them!)


That's it for my 2022 calendars! If you have a favorite I didn't mention, share it in the comments. Maybe I'll buy and rate it next year! (I want to expand out of food into other areas like beauty. I'd do tea, but I know I'd end up with a bunch of flavors that don't interest me. Same with jam advent calendars. But who knows? Maybe I'll give one of those a try just for fun!)


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