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Advent calendars have a history dating back to the first printed one in the early 1900s, but they didn’t always include sweet treats. The Advent calendar was 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.
Best Overall: Godiva Chocolatier Holiday 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.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk, dark, and white; filled and solid
Best for Peppermint Bark 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 their 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.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Semisweet and white chocolate with peppermint candy
Best for Kids: Simon Coll Milk Chocolate Children Advent Calendar
The Coll family has been making artisan chocolate since 1840, so they know a thing or two about delicious bite-sized confections. The brand's Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar contains 24 pieces of creamy milk chocolate featuring festive wrappers printed with various holiday designs, including snowmen, reindeer, candy canes, figure skaters, singers caroling, and more. Each one even has a game printed on the back for a little added fun. Furthermore, the calendar can be flipped over for art time, as it features a blank canvas ready for little hands to design.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk
Best Gourmet: Uncommon Goods 12 Days of Holiday Chocolates
Uncommon Goods is providing a new take on Advent calendars with its 12 Days of Holiday Chocolates offering. Handmade in Richmond, Virginia, each dark chocolate piece features a different flavor profile, from ginger Moscow mule to hot buttered rum to mulled cider, providing a tasting extravaganza for those seeking a gourmet chocolate experience.
The design on each window features art deco-inspired images that pay homage to traditional holiday moments, like stretching in front of the fireplace, clinking Champagne glasses with friends and family, building gingerbread houses, and more.
Pieces: 12 | Type of Chocolate: Dark chocolate
Best Vegan: 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 the tasty treats, 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.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Vegan dark chocolate
Best Classic: Lindt Chocolate Holiday Advent Calendar
Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier, known for its rich truffles and chocolate, has its own Advent calendar that is both classically adorable and also delicious. The milk chocolates and hazelnut balls are individually wrapped in foil for a fun unwrapping and delicious tasting experience. If you're a fan of Lindt chocolates, this might just become a part of your yearly family traditions.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk
Best DIY: 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 each year.
Pieces: None | Type of Chocolate: Customizable
Best Affordable: 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.
Pieces: 24 | Type of Chocolate: Milk
The Godiva Chocolatier Holiday Gourmet Chocolate Advent Calendar (view at Amazon) is our top choice because of its wide selection of treats and premium Belgian chocolate created by artisans in small batches. If you are looking chocolate and more, go for the Dolly Parton Advent Calendar (view at Williams Sonoma), which features hard candy, sour chews, and mints.
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 treats, 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.