Advent Calendar Death Match is a four-part series pitting Advent calendars against each other in a fight to the death.
Advent is a yearly tradition during which we celebrate the final month of the fetal stage of the Christchild. During this holy period many years ago, the small King, desiring of equally small gifts, sent Bethlehem’s hustling-est Magi to gather daily offerings, in both sample and luxury-sample sizes, from His favorite brands. He then unboxed them on His intrauterine TikTok, which kept Him occupied during those final pre-birth weeks.
Now the Advent calendar does the same for us.
To honor the reason for the season, every week this month we’ll be pitting two of the best Advent calendars that we could get brands to send us for free against each other in a fight to the death. They will each be judged by the same parameters: Christmas magic; whether the calendar numbers are scattered or in the correct order; the gifts; the gift unveiling process; and “bonus.”
Only one will survive. (Each week.) (This means that by the end four will have survived.)
Susanne Kaufmann: There is an enchanting sturdiness to the Susanne Kaufmann Advent calendar. This isn’t an Advent calendar to be torn open and mindlessly tossed in the trash after being emptied of its gifts; this is an Advent calendar to consider keeping, even after the gifts are removed. This is an Advent calendar about which to have multiple discussions with your partner regarding whether you’d “use it” again (“for what?” it’s refillable “are you going to refill it?” maybe) before ultimately, with a heavy heart and a mind spiraling on the thought of your consistent wastefulness, putting it in the trash.
This is to say — it is special (its doors are a little magnetic), and it carries with it the Christmas magic of being quite obviously very far out of my personal affordability range. This is an Advent calendar for Serena’s mother on Gossip Girl. But instead, through the power of the baby Jesus and being a member of the media, I have it. That feels like Christmas magic to me.
Rituals: The Rituals Advent calendar is a 3D tree. I had to watch a video on the Rituals website to figure out how to put it together. It comes with fairy lights to hang on the tree post-assembly, and all of its gifts are in the form of ornaments. Like are you fucking kidding me with the amount of Christmas magic here …
Susanne Kaufmann: The numbers that represent the days on which you are meant to open each compartment are not in the correct order, which is correct. Advent calendars should be in part a frustrating number scavenger hunt.
Rituals: The numbers are not only not in numerical order, but are in fact scattered around a tree, making them even harder to find. At certain points I was sure some numbers weren’t even represented. This earns the Rituals calendar +1 bonus point, which will be rewarded in the “bonus” section.
Susanne Kaufmann: Christmas is not always fair, and neither is the fact that expensive things are often better than similar things that are less expensive. Even though trying out all of the different Susanne Kaufmann products for the face will give me acne, I am delighted to be able to try a serum that costs $150, for example, or an eye cream that costs $185 and is actually full-sized. Susanne Kaufmann also has great bath oils, and guess what — the Advent calendar offers mini versions of them that are as cute as they are $30 each when you buy them on the website. I don’t mean to be gauche but, well … here I am being it.
Rituals: Listen, if this Rituals calendar weren’t in a death match with the Susanne Kaufmann calendar, it would win this round. The fact that each gift is an ornament to be unwrapped alone is enough to give a devastating final blow to weaker competition. And we’re talking mini candles, moisturizers, soaps; a bunch of stuff that I love to currently be in possession of. However it does not offer a full-sized eye cream that otherwise goes for $185. And mama’s eyes are tired.
THE GIFT UNVEILING PROCESS:
Susanne Kaufmann: This is sort of a reverse of the last question. If the Susanne Kaufmann calendar weren’t fighting for its life against the particularly festive Rituals calendar, it would win this category handily. The gifts are stowed in sturdy little boxes full of red hay, and on top of each product is a little card telling you what the product is and how to use it. Very thoughtful. I feel held and loved by Susanne Kaufmann herself. However.
Rituals: These are fuckin’ ornaments you have to open like presents. Come on. That’s really good.
Susanne Kaufmann: No bonus points awarded.
Rituals: +1 for the numbers being particularly hard to find.
Susanne Kaufmann: 35.5