Limited edition Biscuiteers advent calendar by Sophie Conran (Biscuiteers/PA)
Limited edition Biscuiteers advent calendar by Sophie Conran (Biscuiteers/PA)

Forget the Christmas tree, decorate your home for Advent first and you’ll enjoy it more

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, says Claire Spreadbury.

Claire Spreadbury
Tuesday 16 November 2021 09:15

Many of us are feeling the urge to go ‘all out’ this Christmas. From food fests to socials, decorations and lights, reigniting coming together and brightening up the place feels very much needed right now. After all, when life gives you lemons, sometimes it helps to slice and slow bake them, before creating a gloriously sustainable festive wreath to feel good about…

So many houses with be covered in twinkling lights as the trees go up, and Christmas decorations are all well and good, but for December 1, it’s Advent you need to ready your home for.

“This year, we’re expecting Christmas to be bigger and bolder than ever, thanks to 2020 being a much smaller and isolated affair,” says Holly Harper, head of inspiration and new partners at notonthehighstreet. “For many of us, this will mean making the most of seasonal decorations for longer, especially during Advent. And whilst we don’t all want to have the Christmas tree up and lights on the front of the house from the beginning of December, decorating for Advent is a great way to inject a little Christmas spirit into the home, without going overboard.”

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Advent brings with it calendars (obviously), wreaths, candles and a few twinkling touches, giving your home a sprinkling of festive love. Then, a couple of weeks later, you can bring out the big guns and decorate the tree.

It means you won’t get bored of the way your home looks before the big day, and helps you enjoy those mini gifts of Advent (sweet treats, parties with no pressure, the anticipation of Christmas…) just that little bit more.

Advent calendars


At notonthehighstreet, ‘Advent Calendar’ has been amongst the top 10 search terms since the beginning of September, showing that shoppers are clearly looking to make a big deal about the festive countdown. And why wouldn’t you? Is there anything nicer than peeling open a door and receiving a tiny gift every day of December – I’m pretty sure we all deserve it.

And calendars come in many shapes and forms. For make-up and skincare this year, we’re loving Amazon‘s Beauty Advent Calendar 2021, containing £260 worth of swag for £70, and Aldi’s Lacura Advent Calendar at £54.99, packed with creams, masks and balms, and available in store while stocks last. For those who like a tipple, Aldi comes good again – we especially love their Sparkling Advent Calendar (£59.99), within which you can pop the cork on eight mini bottles of prosecco, eight sparkling Italian rosés, and eight bubbly pinot grigios. But if gin’s your thing, you cannot better The Very Merry Gin Advent Calendar by Craft Gin Club. It’ll set you back £99.95, but behind each of the 25 doors is a 50ml miniature from a different distillery.

For anyone simply wanting to elevate their me-time cuppa, Bird & Blend have released a lovely limited edition Tea Advent Calendar (£38) with two tea bags in each box, so you can share the love. It also pairs wonderfully with the Biscuiteers advent calendar (£125 for a limited edition Sophie Conran hand-embroidered calendar, and £58 for a box of 24 Advent biscuits). For chocolate treats, we love Montezuma’s, which are available in a variety of offerings, from £9.99. And for kids, there are swathes to choose from, but our favourite this year has to be Toucan Box‘s Very Merry Advent Calendar, currently on offer at £35, which involves a world of mindful crafting, making and baking each and every day.

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You could opt for sustainability and make your own, instead. The beauty ones are great for saving and re-filling in future years – sometimes with gifts or edible treats, challenges or inspiring words – it’s a lovely ritual to bring out annually. Or you can wrap mini presents and hang them from string – brown paper works a treat for this, and can be made to look festive with red ribbon.


Jo Malone Travel Candles start from £25 (Jo Malone/PA)

Who doesn’t love a flickering wintry candle to make your home smell festive? All the main stores sell these in abundance, and you can either pick one up with your food shopping or Christmas presents, or treat yourself to a Jo Malone – the queen of all candles. Try their Orange Bitters or Pine & Eucalyptus, from £25 – they’re both divine.

“We’ve seen advent candles return in a big way this year,” Harper continues, “both in more traditional ways and modern ones.”

Winter themes

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“This year, it’s all about elongating the festive season, and making the most of celebrations with family and friends,” says Andrew Tanner, design manager at Habitat. “The approaching Advent offers the perfect excuse to start the seasonal transformation early. Home accessories and tableware that give a subtle nod to winter work best, giving the home a wintry feel that can be layered with decorations come Christmas.

“Think sumptuous faux furs, celestial candle holders, acorn-themed accessories and crisp pastel tableware. The beauty of these pieces is that they can be used all year round, so no need to store away come January.”

Festive touches

Set of 3 Pre-Lit Hessian Effect Star Lights, £39.99 (Very/PA)

“We also recommend decorating with wreaths and garlands that offer a more subtle nod to the season, whilst leaving the more overtly ‘Christmassy’ decorations for later on in December,” adds Harper. “Some of our favourites include patchwork design or dried flower options.”

And excuse the repetition, but better still, make your own. Entwining twigs and flowers around a wreath shape and winding wire to keep it in place is a simple (and mindful) process, and can cost as much or as little as you like. Add a few fairy lights and your home is transformed into a sensationally subtle winter wonderland.

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