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Drink advent calendars

  • Discount supermarket Aldi is offering a £49.99 advent calendar with a difference this festive season, and this one's definitely for grown-ups. Behind each of the 24 advent doors, you'll find a 'mini' bottle of wine each day.

    It'll be available online, including free delivery, and in stores (find your nearest) on Sun 4 Nov. Last year, it sold out online within a day, so you'll need to go quick if you want this. We've taken a peek behind the doors to see if it's a corking deal, or an over-priced novelty.



    What wine does it contain?

    The advent calendar contains 18.7cl-20cl bottles and includes a mix of white, red, rosé and sparkling wine from brands such as JP Chenet and Calvet – see 'More info' below for the full list of wine included.

    Is it good value?

    The 24 mini bottles are the equivalent of six standard 75cl bottles, so this works out at £8ish per standard-sized bottle.

    When we looked elsewhere, we could only find 14 of the 24 bottles in the exact same size as they are in the advent calendar. The 14 bottles we were able to compare, if bought separately, average out at £2.31 per bottle – the advent calendar averages out at £2.08 per bottle.

    Our valuation isn't particularly scientific as we weren't able to price compare every bottle, but it appears you're paying a similar price (possibly even a little less) as you would buying the mini bottles individually, and of course you get the nice box too. So £50 for Aldi's wine advent calendar seems like decent value and it could make a fun gift for a wine-lover.

    Please be Drinkaware.

    • The Aldi wine advent calendar contains two of each of these bottles:

      Reds:

      • Calvet Limited Release Merlot         
      • Calvet Reserve Merlot Cabernet        
      • Chenet Cabernet Syrah                          
      • Med Red
      • French Pinot Noir Rousselet

      Whites:

      • Chenet Col Sauv Original
      • Brut Dargent Burt Chardonnay
      • Calvet Limited Release Sauvignon
      • Exquisite Touraine Sauvignon
      • Chenet Colombard Chardonnay

      Pinks:

      • Fleurs de Prairie Côtes de Provence
      • Chenet Sparkling ICE              
  • If you or someone you know enjoys Baileys, Debenhams is offering a Baileys advent calendar* online for £14.40 – one for grown-ups as it includes three mini bottles of Baileys and 21 Baileys truffles. Delivery's £3.49, or £2 click and collect.

    We thought we'd take a peek behind the doors to see if this Baileys advent calendar is the cream of the crop, or leaves a sour taste in the mouth of a MoneySaver.

    What exactly's inside?

    Behind three of the advent doors is a 50ml mini bottle of Baileys – one Original Irish Cream, one Coffee, and one Orange Truffle flavour. Behind each of the remaining 21 doors you'll find a Baileys mini truffle.

    Is it good value?

    We've spotted 50ml bottles of Baileys for £1.50ish, so if we deduct three of those from the overall £18 cost of the calendar, that essentially makes the 21 truffles 64p each.

    You can currently get a 102g bag of Baileys mini truffles for £3 at Asda*, which contains 17 truffles per bag – making each truffle 18p.

    Unsurprisingly, the Baileys advent calendar isn't the cheapest way to get a small Baileys fix over the festive season. But of course, advent calendars like this are a bit of fun, and you may want to give it as a gift. So if you're happy with the overall £18 price, you may not be too worried about the cost value you're getting behind the doors.

    Looking for a cheaper alternative?

    B&M is offering a cheaper advent calendar for £4.99 in stores (find your nearest), while stock lasts. It includes one mini 50ml bottle of Baileys Original Irish Cream and 24 small milk chocolate squares (not truffles).

    Please be Drinkaware.

  • We've some GINcredible news for gin lovers – discount retailer B&M is offering a gin advent calendar in stores for £29.99, while stock lasts, so you can really let the festive season beGIN.

    We have a feeling this will be very popular and could have a few people singing GINgle bells, so we've taken a peek behind the doors to see if it's good value, or if it just has a certain gin ne sais quoi.

    What's actually inside?

    The calendar contains 12 mini 5cl bottles of gin including Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater Gin, Gordon’s Pink Gin, Martin Miller’s Gin, Tanqueray Export Strength London Gin, Greenall’s Wild Berry Gin, Belgravia London Dry Gin, JJ Whitley London Dry Gin, Haymans London Dry Gin, Gordons Special Dry London Gin, Greenall’s Original London Dry Gin and JJ Whitely Elderflower Gin.

    Is it good value?

    At £29.99, each bottle of gin works out at £2.50, or £5 per 100ml. When we checked on Mon 15 Oct, you could get a 70cl bottle of Bombay Sapphire for £15 on offer at Asda, or £2.14 per 100ml. Larger versions of the other gins in the calendar ranged from £1.79 to £3.71 per 100ml at various supermarkets.

    So if you just want it for the gin, then you'll get better value buying the larger bottles at the supermarket. However, if you're after this for the novelty, or as a gift, this is the cheapest gin advent calendar we've seen – many others that we've spotted are over £100.

    Of course, don't overGINdulge – please be Drinkaware.

Food advent calendars

  • If you thought the Christmas cracker jokes were going to be the cheesiest thing this festive season, think again, as Asda will be offering a cheese advent calendar for £8 in selected stores and online. Behind each of the 24 advent doors, you'll find a mini individually wrapped cheese.

    It won't be on sale until Thu 15 Nov and Asda hasn't announced how many stores it will be available in yet, but last year it was stocked in 584 stores.

    The cheese advent calendar will also be available at Sainsbury's from Wed 14 Nov and Booths stores from Fri 26 Oct, but both will be selling it for £10.

    Which cheese will it contain?

    The 24 cheeses are 20g each and are made up of seven varieties – Red Leicester, Wensleydale with cranberries, mature Cheddar, Jarlsberg, Applewood, Edam, and Wensleydale with gingerbread from Ilchester cheese makers in Somerset.



    Is it good value?

    At £8 from Asda, the advent calendar works out at 33p for each mini cheese. As each cheese is 20g, that's 480g worth of cheese in total – equal to £16.67 per kg.

    Of course, mini cheeses generally cost more per kg than standard blocks. When we checked, Ilchester's mini cheese selection pack (which contains five of the cheeses included in the calendar) was £11ish per kg.

    While admittedly our valuation isn't overly scientific, it appears this cheese advent calendar is a bit more expensive than the usual cost of mini cheeses per kg, and obviously a lot more expensive per kg than the total equivalent weight of a block of cheese, but we haven't factored in the packaging or novelty value.

    If you do go for this advent calendar, bear in mind you'll need to find room in the fridge between the turkey and sprouts to store the calendar – though cleverly it's in a book-style, which means you can tear off one half after 12 days.

  • Giving a new meaning to crisp winter mornings, discount store B&M is offering a Pringles advent calendar in stores for £7.99.

    B&M says the advent calendar has been in stores since Thu 20 Sep and stock is now limited. It couldn't tell us which stores it's still available in – so it's best to check with your local B&M (find your nearest) and go quick if you want it.

    We managed to get our hands on one and have popped open the doors to see if it's worth singing Pringle-bells about...

    What's actually inside?

    Sadly, there are only 12 doors so if you don't want your Pringles festive fix to end prematurely, you'd need to buy two calendars to cover you for the whole of Advent.

    Behind each of the advent doors is a mini-sized 40g can of Pringles. The advent calendar we got contained three original flavour cans, three salt and vinegar, three sour cream and onion, and three Texas BBQ sauce flavour.

    Is it good value?

    At £7.99, the 12 mini Pringles cans work out at 67p each.

    While we've seen them cheaper bought separately at other discount stores – 45p at Poundstretcher, and 50p each (two for £1) at Poundland – the mini cans are more expensive at the big supermarkets. We spotted them for 80p at Tesco and 85p at Sainsbury's.

    So as a bit of fun, we don't think this Pringles advent calendar is bad value, as it can actually be cheaper than buying the mini cans in the supermarket.

    Of course, you'll get slightly better value per gram by buying the 130g or regular 200g Pringles cans, but if you're someone who usually pops and can't stop, the smaller cans may be a better idea anyway – Merry Crispmas.

  • If you want to add some snap, crackle and pop to your Christmas countdown, you can get a Kellogg's advent calendar for £8.99 in store at B&M (find your nearest), while stock lasts.

    What's in it?

    You get 24 cereal bars, made up of six 20g Coco Pops, six 25g Frosties, six 20g Rice Krispies, three 36g Rice Krispies Squares caramel & chocolate, and three 36g Rice Krispies Squares chocolatey, plus two 50g Pop Tarts strawberry.


    Is it good value?

    When we checked on Mon 22 Oct, we found we could buy the contents of the advent calendar separately at the major supermarkets for between £5 and £10, depending on the supermarket.

    So while the advent calendar is a little cheaper than the most expensive supermarket price, the contents can be bought for about 44% cheaper without the advent box, so we wouldn't exactly call this cerealously good value.

Beauty advent calendars

Kids' advent calendars

  • If you've got a mini Disney fan at home and want to give them a break from all the chocolate advent calendars out there, Aldi is offering the Disney 'Storybook Collection' advent calendar for £9.99.

    MSE Update, Tue 30 Oct: Originally Aldi told us you'd be able to pre-order the advent calendar online from Thu 1 Nov, but frustratingly it launched it earlier, on Sun 28 Oct and it has now sold out online. You'll be able to purchase in store (find your nearest) from Thu 4 Nov, though it'll likely be popular so go quick if you want one.

    It contains 24 short stories based on characters from classic and modern Disney movies including Cinderella, The Lion King, Toy Story, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Bambi, Finding Nemo, The Jungle Book, Frozen, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Lady & The Tramp, Mulan, 101 Dalmatians and more. Aldi says it's suitable for ages three and above.

    The next cheapest we found this advent calendar is £15.98 at Amazon.

Wooden advent calendars

  • Probably the most eagerly awaited beauty advent calendar for MoneySavers is the £35 M&S advent calendar* – see our full round-up for other advent calendars.

    MSE Update, Mon 5 Nov at 10.23am: M&S has confirmed the advent calendar is now sold out online. It says stock is available in store, but will likely go quickly.

    It's available in stores (find your nearest*) – but there's a catch – you'll also have to spend £35 on clothing, beauty and/or homeware (excluding furniture) to even be eligible to buy it, so technically you have to spend at least £70 at M&S to bag this calendar. It's a good excuse if you need to top up on some extra underwear for the winter, or replace all those socks with holes in.

    Even if you don’t have much use for an advent calendar, it’s often cheaper to buy beauty products in sets such as this – but see our Beauty deals page for other ways to get beauty products cheaply.

    By our calculations, the M&S calendar's filled with products that would cost £250+ in total if bought separately from the cheapest retailers, including items from L'Occitane, Eyeko, Balance Me, and Ren.



    Here's a list of what the M&S beauty advent calendar contains, and where we found the products cheapest if bought separately on Fri 26 Oct...

    • Nuxe Luxurious body cream, 30ml, £6.75 based on the full-size 200ml at M&S.
    • Diego Dalla Palma eye pencil, 12cm, £14.50 at M&S.
    • Eyeko Lash Alert mascara, 4ml, £10 at Space NK.
    • Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery, 50ml, £6.60 based on the full-size 150ml at Feel Unique and others.
    • The Hero Project Hyasoft Instant Moisture Boost, full-size (30ml), £15.50 at Mankind.
    • This Works Deep Sleep pillow spray, 10ml, £2.04 based on the full-size 75ml at Lookfantastic.
    • This Works In Transit Camera Close-up mask, moisturiser and primer-in-one, 20ml, £12.50 based on the full-size 40ml at Amazon.
    • Skyn Iceland Berry Lip Fix with Wintered Red Algae, full-size (12ml), £12 at Amazon.
    • Philip Kingsley Pomegranate & Cassis elasticizer, 40ml, £7.69 based on the full-size 150ml at Lookfantastic.
    • Leighton Denny High Performance nail colour, 12ml, £9.60 at M&S.
    • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment, 30ml, £5 based on the full-size 60ml at Feel Unique.
    • Studio 10 Lip Perfecting balm gloss, £22 at M&S.
    • PUR Afterglow Skin Perfecting powder highlighter, 2.4g, £6.75 based on the full-size 8g at Lookfantastic.
    • Leighton Denny mini crystal nail file, £12.50 at Boots.
    • Filorga Time-Filler Eyes, 4ml, £11.51 based on the full-size 15ml at Amazon.
    • Stila smudge stick waterproof eye liner, 0.28g, £14.50 at Amazon and Boots.
    • L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Cream Advanced Anti-Aging Skincare, 8ml, £11.23 based on the full-size 50ml at John Lewis.
    • L'Occitane Verbena shower gel, 50ml, £2.88 based on the full-size 250ml at Debenhams.
    • Autograph blusher brush, £8 at M&S.
    • M&S Formula Absolute Ultimate sleep cream, 15ml, £6.60 based on the full-size 50ml at M&S.
    • PRAI Ageless Throat & Décolletage Crème, 15ml, £7.50 based on the full-size 50ml at Lookfantastic.
    • Balance Me Wonder eye cream, 10ml, £8.89 based on the full-size 15ml at John Lewis.
    • Pixi Rose Tonic, full-size (100ml), £8 at Lookfantastic.
    • Autograph Luminosity Luxe Multi bronzer, £12.50 at M&S.
    • Ren V-Cense Revitalising night cream, 15ml, £7.19 based on the full-size 50ml at Amazon (third party seller, fulfilled by Amazon).
    • Shay & Blue Black Tulip Natural spray fragrance, 10ml, £16 at Asos.
       

    M&S won’t confirm stock, but last year it sold out so go quick if you want it.

  • Discount superstore Aldi is getting in on the beauty advent calendar trend with its £49.99 'Luxury Collection' calendar – see our advent calendar round-up for others. It includes 24 mini beauty products including body cream, hand and body lotion, hand and body wash, eau de toilette, and candles.

    MSE Forumites and online media outlets have compared these products favourably to much more expensive Jo Malone products.

    Aldi's beauty advent calendar will be available in stores (find your nearest) from Sun 4 Nov, or you can pre-order online now – delivery's free.



    Here's the full contents...

    • Four 15ml body creams – freesia & pear, peony, dark amber, and pomegranate.
    • Four 10ml hand & body lotion – pomegranate, blackberry, lime & basil & mandarin, and velvety rose.
    • Four 25ml hand & body wash – lime & basil & mandarin, peony, velvety rose, and freesia & pear.
    • Seven 15ml eau de toilette – dark amber, pomegranate, freesia & pear, peony, blackberry, lime & basil & mandarin, and velvety rose.
    • Five 52g candles – pomegranate, peony, freesia & pear, lime & basil & mandarin, and blackberry.
       

    Is it worth it?

    By our calculations, the contents is only worth £13.37 when based on the proportionate cost of the full-size versions at Aldi, so it seems you're paying a hefty premium for the gift packaging. It's not worth getting this calendar just for the products inside – you're better off buying the full-size versions separately.

  • If you're looking for an advent calendar that you can fill yourself, Aldi is offering wooden Christmas advent calendars with LED lights for £9.99. There are two available – wooden house and elf (both pictured below). There's also a 3D truck, which doesn't have LEDs.



    MSE Update, Tue 30 Oct: Originally Aldi told us you'd be able to pre-order these calendars online from Thu 1 Nov, but frustratingly it launched them earlier, on Sun 28 Oct and they sold out online within a day. You can get them in store (find your nearest) from Sun 4 Nov – they are likely to sell out fast, so go quick if you want one.

    Are they good value?

    We've spotted other light-up wooden advent calendars from £20 at Hobbycraft and Matalan, so if you've had your eye on one of these then you can make a big saving getting one from Aldi.

    The drawers are empty, so you'll need to buy (or make) small treats to fill it yourself, but it's the same for the more expensive ones.