Here are 24 last-minute gift ideas to fill your guy's Advent calendar.
I used to think Advents calendars were limited to the paper kind. You know those with little punch-out doors hiding a bite size chocolate behind? I have heard they have gotten crazy in the last years; some of my friends even told me you can buy a an "Advent-ure" calendar filled with a wine-per-day for $99 at Costco. But at the end of the day, they are still paper with doors filled with treats.
However nothing prepared me for how Germany does Advent calendars.
Advent calendars in Germany on the other hand come in all sorts of creative forms. The bags and numbered day stickers above are a common way alongside the box or Kiste, but I have seen all sorts of creative variants, from this mountain cable car calendar to little stuffed animals.
When I was a child, one Christmas my mom decided to do a "12 Days of Christmas" where I got a gift every day for the twelve days leading up to Christmas. Obviously adolescent me was all about this, but my mom never did it again due to the nuance of finding 12 additional gifts, plus the general excess that comes with it. The German culture is not an excessive one - normally I would associate excess more so with the US - but the Advents calendar, while fun, is excessive.
First of all, you won't have just one Advent calendar. You will at least get two or via your combined network channels of work, friends, and relatives, but here I am going to focus on the big one - the one for your special someone. Our first Christmas together, Markus didn't get an Advent calendar from me because well, I am more of a stockings-on-Christmas-morning gal. But hey, I am adaptable and now here I am making over-the-top Advent calendars and sharing my ideas to support anyone else who is trying to come up with gifts to all 24 days leading up to Christmas.
The ideas can be broken down into four categories: things to eat or drink, things to wear, things to do, and other things.
Things to Eat and Drink
This category comes first and has the most suggestions because we both like to eat and drink, and let's get real the best gifts are the gifts that you also get to enjoy.
Try Something New
Germany's best gingerbread or Lebkuchen from Lebkuchen Düll. These are without debate the best gingerbread in Germany. They are Elisen gingerbread, which means they are made without flour.
Whisky or Rum Tasting Set (or just an airplane bottle). Find a little taster they haven't tried yet from their favorite liquor of preference.
Haribo Watermelons. This may seem random, but these things are the best and might belong in the next category. (USA | DE)
I like the German word Feinkost better than delicacies because it sounds less pretentious. This category boils downs to things you feel guilty buying yourself, but are easy to justify spending money on when it is a gift:
Amabito No Moshio, a Japanese seaweed salt. If your guy watches Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (Netflix series based on Samin Nosrat's bestselling cookbook) or is a salt connoisseur, then you must buy them Amabito No Moshio (USA | DE).
Mānuka honey. Your honey deserves only the best honey and that is New Zealand's Mānuka honey. Some even say it has healing powers (USA | DE).
Truffle, or truffled-something like butter or oil. Truffled anything is alway appreciated. You can even opt for potato chips because if potato chips weren't addictive enough, flavor them with truffle.
Pâté. Elevate your next cheeseboard, although he probably won't let you share.
Keep it simple for yourself (at least on some of the days). We are all happy to restock some of our favorites:
Things to Wear
Apple Watch Band. We all love our Apple Watches, but sometimes our watch band doesn't match the occasion. No matter what, it is nice to mix it up and Amazon has a wide range of affordable options (USA | DE).
Socks. Socks are only boring when you are under 30. We all have so many sock needs. Get them some specific to their favorite sport, like cycling or hiking, themed socks, or just some classic good wool socks.
Underwear. All men need could use some fresh undies.
Pajama Pants. Ok, clearly there is a theme here in the things to wear, but get your guy some seasonal cozies that he can also wear on Christmas morning.
Things to Do
Games. Whether you throw in some NYT Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku, or a new deck of cards, we can all use an outlet to exercise our mind that isn't sitting in front of our devices.
Lotto tickets. You can't win if you don't play. Not to condone gambling, but buying lotto tickets for someone else is definitely exempt. The scratch-off lottery tickets in particular are my favorite stocking stuff and can also be behind door number 7 or 8 or... you get the picture.
Gift voucher. Gift cards are only lame if they aren't personal, because as always it is the thought that counts. Grab them a voucher for one of their favorite stops: coffee shop, sushi bar, driving range, squash court or spin class.
And Other Things
For the guy who has it all, here are some final suggestions to fill your Advent calendar's doors, bags, drawers, or cable cars.
Christmas Ornament. I adore the ones from Old World Christmas and have gifted Markus a cigar box and grill in the past (USA | DE).
Latest issue of The Economist, or another magazine
(New) case for their phone or Air Pods
No touch door opener keychain. The COVID-friendly gift they don't have yet (USA | DE).
For those who made it the very end of this post, I am going to leave you with a ⭐Pro Tip⭐ that we did this year: split a calendar and one person gets to give / receive a gift on even days and the other on odd days.
What would you add to the list? We will all need new ideas next year 😉.