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The silly season has officially started and if you're anything like us you'll be sure to have kicked it off with an advent calendar. Because right now, nothing is more exciting than opening that first tiny door to herald in Christmas.

In simpler times an advent calendar was just filled with cheap chocolate. These days, however, it seems the possibilities are endless when it comes to what's behind an advent door.

But are these fancy calendars worth their price tags? Or are we just buying into a classic Christmas gimmick?


This week, in a very festive edition of Trial and Error, we review the best and worst advent calendars, to help with your selection and keep your wallet safe this holiday season.

It's a tough job but somebody has to do it!

Chocoland bear calendar, $1.99 from New World

The chocoland bear calendar was a cheap and cheerful addition to our line up and scored big points for its value for money.

The chocolate wasn't actually bear shaped, nor was it particularly tasty, but the cut-out gift tags on the back of the box gave it extra points.

Rating: 8/10

Essie nail polish, $69.99 exclusive to Life Pharmacy Newmarket

The festive Essie calendar scored high in the packaging department, sporting a striking bow that Gracie fashioned into a hat.

We could not keep our hands off this gem of a calendar. When we thought the camera was no longer recording, we may have opened every single door.

The panel agreed unanimously that with the number of products in this calendar, it was well worth the price tag.

Rating: 9/10

Charm bracelet calendar, $20 and fashion jewellery calendar, $15 from The Warehouse

These two advent calendars offer similar products: either a different piece of jewellery or a charm each day.

We think these would really appeal to particular demographics, such as a teenage niece, or a crafty aunt and Gracie thought it was a cute "kitsch" idea.

Rating: 7.5/10

Trolli Gummi calendar, $3 from Kmart

The panel went into the Trolli calendar with high hopes, which were quickly dashed when we discovered most of the tiny candy pieces were orange flavoured - who likes the orange flavour?

It strikes fear in most children and, as it turns out, 20-something-year-old women, too.

There was a gummy burger and pizza on the packaging, but none to be found inside, a huge disappointment to the panel.

Rating: 2/10

Bare Minerals Box of Wonders, $126 from Mecca

The Box of Wonders took top prize for packaging with striking gold foil and a pretty bow holding all the goodness together.

We were also impressed by the variety of products and some of the mini sizes are perfect to pop in your handbag for silly season celebrations.

Rating: 9/10

Minions calendar, $4 from The Warehouse

The Minions calendar was another case of deception. Everyone agreed the chocolate should have featured Minions on them, rather than random images such as a "dead sheep" and a "bow tree".

However, the chocolate tasted better than what was in the bear calendar and the packaging also featured a fun game, which we took as a win.

Rating: 8/10

12 Days of Christmas, $130 from Lush

The 12 Days of Christmas box is immaculately presented and the entire panel agreed they'd be excited to see it under their Christmas tree.

However, the box did have a few flaws: all the products are visible once you lift the lid, and a couple of the items were duds - we're looking at you green and yellow soap.

Rating: 8/10

DIY hanging calendar, $12 from Kmart

The DIY calendar was a hit with the entire panel. We love that you can create your own personalised advent calendar and it could be the perfect way to pop the question this silly season. Because what better gift than a life spent with you, right?!

Rating: 10/10