The Advent, to some Christians, is the four Sundays before Christmas. More generally, the variation of the Latin word for "coming" marks the season to prepare for the holiday.
Among rituals associated with the Advent is keeping an Advent calendar. Some reusable versions begin on Dec. 1, and many include windows, doors or pockets to reveal a poem, portion of the Christmas story or a small gift.
It's the latter aspect of Advent calendars that has gone completely bonkers in recent years, offering dog treats, bath bombs, socks, booze and even a limited-edition behemoth stuffed with pricey treasures from Tiffany & Co.
U.S. & World
Here's a peek:
TIFFANY & CO.: It's aptly named The Ultimate Advent Calendar, and it's shaped as a 4-foot-tall replica of the company's Fifth Avenue flagship store. Each of the 24 compartments holds a gift in a Tiffany blue box. There's a sterling silver paper cup and a T True bracelet in 18-karat yellow gold. This one is more aspirational than attainable. Only four are available, starting at $112,000 each. Contact the concierge at VeryVeryTiffany@Tiffany.com to figure it all out.
HARRY POTTER: The Harry Potter Infinity Box is perfect for young fans. The compartments of the YuMe Toys calendar are stuffed with a range of items, including plush toys, travel tags and enamel pins. One version includes 24 pieces for $59.99, and another 18 pieces for $39.99. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Others with the same theme exist.
CHOCOLATE: Sweet treats, Advent calendar style, are more traditional and all over the place. Harry & David offers two, the Chocolate Advent Calendar Duo, with 24 doors each for a total of $34.99. The packaging is merry with Santa front and center. Milk chocolate only. Each door includes a little festive message. The Godiva Advent Calendar includes limited edition snowmen and Santa pieces in chocolate. Available in Godiva boutiques around the U.S. $29.95.
PETS: Dogs and cats are people, too, when it comes to Advent calendars. Options are everywhere. Target sells the Bosco & Roxy's Advent Calendar for Dogs with a forest fairy theme and 24 biscuits. $14.99. The same brand also has one called Bark the Halls with 24 days of festive dog cookies. $24.99. Shop around for others, including the DreamBone Furry Christmas Advent Calendar, with a variety of mini chewables. $14.99.
ETHNIC PRIDE: The Calendario de Fiestas from Sol Beer celebrates Mexican American culture with 25 items designed by Mexican American artists, including Jessica Resendiz of Raggedy Tiff, which creates apparel and accessories inspired by her roots, childhood memories and Mexican culture. There's a burrito pinata freshener, a Corazon de Oro sew-on patch and Pan Dulce shoelaces. While supplies last at SolHolidayCalendar.com. $30.
SAY IT WITH CHEESE: Food blogger Annem Hobson thought up the So Wrong It's Nom cheese calendar to much internet fanfare from folks looking for alternatives to chocolate. It includes 24 pieces of individually wrapped cheese in five varieties, including Jarlsberg. Must be refrigerated. Target, Supervalu, Sprouts, Schnucks, Meijer, Jewel, Lidl and Publix. Sold at Target, Supervalu, Sprouts, Schnucks, Meijer, Jewel, Lidl and Publix. $20.
GET BOOZY: The Drinks by the Dram distiller has a nice selection, including 24 days of Scotch. It ranges from new discoveries to world-renowned brands from across Scotland. $160. Ships from the U.K., so takes about a week to arrive in the U.S. There are also 12 days of Christmas options, since 12-day calendars traditionally start on Dec. 25. Available at drinksbythedram.com.
BEAUTY: There are so many, from bath bombs to makeup sponges. Birchbox offers the Countdown to Beauty calendar with 12 days of goodies and extra surprises from a variety of sellers, including Lancome, M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown. $40. And for men, there's Countdown to Grooming with 14 days of finds, from Kiehl's moisturizer to Harry's body wash. $35. Shop at birchbox.com. Target sells 12 days of Lip Smackers in a festive box for $10 and 15 days of Game of Thrones-themed socks for women for $15.