Advent calendars have a history dating back to the very first printed one in the early 1900s, but they didn’t always include sweet treats. The Advent calendar was created as a way for people to mark the days leading to Christmas, and today it still serves that function, but in a more whimsical, tasty way.
Modern day Advent calendars come with lots of options for behind-the-window surprises, including crafts, wine, beauty products, inspirational missives, and edible concoctions—but the chocolate variety remains king. Whether you are looking for a vegan option, something for a child in your life, or artisan-crafted treats, there is an Advent calendar to help you and your loved ones celebrate the holiday season.
From gourmet assortments to kid-themed favorites, here are the best chocolate Advent calendars.
Godiva Chocolatier Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendar
Godiva has been crafting premium Belgian chocolate since 1926, and its Holiday Gourmet Chocolate Advent calendar is filled with the decadent confections consumers have grown to know and love. Altogether, it contains 24 pieces of assorted milk, dark, and white chocolate pieces hidden behind each window.
The elegant box is available in two designs—a blue, wintry scene and a red snow globe—and the chocolate surprises come in the shapes of snowmen, penguins, Santa, and more. Whether you lean toward raspberry-filled bites, a taste of cool mint, or solid chocolate, this Advent calendar has you covered as you count down to the winter holidays.
Price at time of publish: $40
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk, dark, and white; filled and solid
Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar
The Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar is a budget-friendly option for a consistent sweet treat every day. The chocolates, made from 100 percent sustainably sourced cocoa and vegetarian-friendly, are known for their light, fluffy, and milky consistency that melts in your mouth. This Advent calendar is also on the more affordable end, particularly considering the chocolates come from a reputable name brand.
Price at time of publish: $11.99
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk
Best for Peppermint Fans
Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark Advent Calendar
You know the holidays are coming when you step inside a Williams Sonoma store and displays are stocked with its signature peppermint bark. Made with a custom blend of Guittard chocolate and triple-distilled peppermint oil, each piece included in this Advent calendar is a flavor bomb of semisweet and white chocolate speckled with crushed peppermint candies. There are 24 windows to open, each filled with either a holiday tree, Santa, toy soldier, or snowman.
Price at time of publish: $29.95
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Semisweet and white chocolate with peppermint candy
Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar
Pure dark chocolate is usually vegan, but it is nice to have a certified vegan option when choosing an Advent calendar. The Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar is Vegan Society Certified, Fairtrade Certified, and Climate Pledge Friendly.
This Advent calendar includes 24 animal-shaped pieces of vegan dark chocolate. There are animal facts on the inside of each door to go with each one, too. Plus, you can feel good about purchasing this product as Divine Chocolate is a cocoa farmer-owned company that empowers its producers through sustainable business practices.
Price at time of publish: $14.44
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Vegan dark
Ghirardelli Advent Calendar
The limited-edition Ghirardelli Advent Calendar is a decadent way to kick off December. It comes as wall decor with a snowman holding an iconic Ghirardelli square as a gift. You can customize the content of your Advent calendar with the Custom Mix option on the website to ensure that every sweet bite is one you can fully enjoy. Even better, you can use this calendar year after year—just purchase new chocolates before each holiday season.
Price at time of publish: $32.95
Pieces: None | Type of Chocolate: Customizable
Vosges Haut-Chocolat Calendar of Advent
Vosges founder Katrina Markoff is a chef who trained under molecular gastronomy pioneer Ferran Adria, and she brings that philosophy to chocolate, sourcing high-end (and often unusual) ingredients to infuse into its products. The Vosges Advent calendar offers a little taste of everything the company makes, from a chocolate bar with cherries and South African rooibos tea to a treat incorporating dark chocolate, Italian hazelnuts, dulce de leche, reishi mushroom, and edible gold. The treats come in adorable shapes like gnomes and hedgehogs, and the calendar even lights up and plays "The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy." The calendar is now available for pre-order, for shipping starting November 15.
Price at time of publish: $195
Pieces: 48 | Type of chocolate: Milk and dark chocolate, marshmallows, caramels, and more
Best to Share
Harry & David Deluxe Advent Calendar
Not only is the Harry & David Deluxe Advent Calendar great to share, but it looks lovely on a holiday mantle. The outside features a classic ice skating tableau that opens to reveal 25 boxes containing sweet surprises. With 104 total pieces, it's a crowd-pleaser for every day of December.
There are four varieties of truffles, including dark chocolate raspberry, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate candy cane, plus mini mints. As a bonus, its sturdy construction makes it a prime candidate to be refilled and reused year after year.
Price at time of publish: $99.99
Pieces: 104 | Type of Chocolate: Dark, milk, and white
Lindt Teddy Sleigh Advent Calendar
Lindt's Lindor truffles, their hard chocolate shells filled with creamy ganache in a variety of flavors, are known around the world, and this calendar includes several, along with teddy bear-, Santa-, and snowman-shaped chocolates. The 25 treats come packaged in a sleigh-shaped package with an old-school winter scene, perfect for putting on the mantel or even hanging in the tree. It's a great Advent calendar for kids at heart.
Price at time of publish: $31.99
Pieces: 25 | Types of Chocolate: Truffles, milk, and white
Best to Reuse
Fortnum & Mason Filled Wooden House Advent Calendar
For more than three centuries, Fortnum & Mason has been selling gourmet delicacies from its London shop. The company is famed throughout the U.K. for its gift hampers and holiday presents, and you can get a taste of its old-fashioned British flavour (yes, we spelled it that way on purpose!) with this Advent calendar. It's an adorable wooden rendering of the Fortnum & Mason flagship store, with chocolates and candies behind each of 24 doors. This is an heirloom-quality item, designed to be refilled with new treats year after year. (Fortnum & Mason even sells a refill pack.)
Price at time of publish: $169.87
Pieces: 24 | Types of Chocolate: Milk chocolate, fruit jellies
Best With Candy
Williams-Sonoma Dolly Parton Advent Calendar
What holiday season would be complete without country music legend Dolly Parton’s delicious version of a hard candy Christmas? This fun Advent calendar from Williams Sonoma is filled with all of the singer's favorites, including red poles, sour Santas, Champagne bubbles, and gold-foiled milk chocolate stars.
The 24 individually wrapped confections are nestled behind windows that create a portrait of Dolly inside a holiday wreath. Each day leading up to Christmas unveils a colorfully packaged chocolate, caramel, gummy, or mint that honors Dolly’s holiday vision of “faith, family, food, and fun.”
Price at time of publish: $39.95
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Chocolates, caramels, gummies, and mints
Best Hot Chocolate
Yawn Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar
On those blustery winter days, nothing warms you up quite like a mug of hot cocoa, and now you can have one 24 days in a row. The Hot Chocolate Advent Calendar by Yawn has a multitude of flavors, including salted caramel, campfire marshmallow, pumpkin spice, and even something called "Christmas carrot" (a handful of the flavors are repeated). The cocoa is crafted with with a 65 percent Belgian dark chocolate base, and none of the blends contain dairy or animal products. As for the display, the vibrantly colored box features a mountainous winter scene.
Price at time of publish: $45.99
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Flavored hot chocolate mixes
No Whey! Foods Vegan Advent Calendar
A candy assortment like an Advent calendar can be problematic for someone with food allergies, as you never know which piece might include peanut butter, or if a dark chocolate shell has milk chocolate ganache inside. That's definitely not the case with this calendar, whose 24 pieces are made in a facility that doesn't process any of the top nine allergens: dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, wheat, sesame, fish, and shellfish. No Whey! Foods makes a "milkless" chocolate that's dairy-free, but captures the rich creaminess of milk chocolate.
Price at time of publish: $14.95
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Allergen-free
Best With Liquor
Anthon Berg Liquor Filled Chocolate Bottles Advent Calendar
Dark chocolate is an excellent pairing with many different types of booze, and this fun calendar explores many of them. Its teeny chocolate bottles are filled with a few drops of liquor, from straight cognac and rum to orange and coffee liqueurs. This calendar includes two bottles each of a dozen different varieties. The amount of alcohol in this calendar is tiny enough that it's not subject to stringent drinks-shipping shipping restrictions and can be sent anywhere in the U.S.
Price at time of publish: $39.95
Pieces: 24 | Type of chocolate: Dark
Best Budget British
Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly Chocolate Advent Calendar
Advent calendars are a bigger deal in the U.K. than the U.S., and there are tons of amazing options from Fortnum & Mason and other British brands that unfortunately can't be shipped across the pond. Thankfully, a few can, and this one gets you the full Fortnum & Mason experience with Christmas-shaped milk chocolates in a replica of the brand's main Piccadilly Street branch in London.
Price at time of publish: $25.77
Pieces: 24 | Type of chocolate: Milk
The Godiva Chocolatier Holiday Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendar is our top choice because of its wide selection of treats and premium Belgian chocolate created by artisans in small batches. For a budget option that won't disappoint, we recommend the Cadbury Dairy Milk Advent Calendar..
What to Look for in an Advent Calendar
Number of Pieces
Traditionally, Advent calendars were 24 pieces. As they have gained popularity, they have morphed to a number of days leading up to the winter holidays. If you want a traditional model, be sure to look for 24 days of chocolate. If you are open to something less traditional, there are options that come in different increments. If you plan to share with the family, you may want to opt for a shareable model that has more than 24 pieces.
Types of Treats
This is very subjective. Advent calendars come in all types of forms, from vegan dark chocolate to white chocolate to peppermint bark. There are also those that come in assorted varieties and even include candy alongside chocolate offerings. Just be sure to check the label if you are looking for something specific.
What is an Advent calendar?
At their inception, Advent calendars were used to count down the four-week period preceding Christmas. Though they began as a religious tradition, today they are used to also celebrate the anticipation and joy of the holiday season with a surprise behind each door or window of the calendar.
How many days are in an Advent calendar, and when should you start opening it?
In Western tradition, there are four Sundays during Advent leading up to Christmas, but Advent has morphed to cover the first 24 days of December whether it is four Sundays or not. Following modern practices, you should open your first window or door on December 1, depending on the calendar you choose.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who loves surprises, especially when they are chocolate. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has made her fair share of chocolate confections for the holidays. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
Jason Horn, who updated this roundup, is a commerce writer for The Spruce Eats. In 15 years of writing about food and drinks, he's eaten his fair share of chocolate, rarely one piece at a time.
The Vegan Society. The vegan trademark.
Fairtrade America. Why fairtrade?