It seems that advent calendars are becoming an increasingly important part of the build-up to Christmas, evidenced by the plethora of articles that have already appeared in the national and high-end lifestyle media, sign-posting shoppers to the best on offer this year.

And, if there was any doubt about the growing popularity of advent calendars, you need look no further than the launch of the Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent calendar last week.

With £300 worth of tantalising beauty products, available for £40, when customers spent £25 – the calendar is already sold out on-line, after just a couple of days.

What a change from the advent calendars of yesteryear.

It is said that advent calendars originated in the 19th century when German Christians counted down the four weeks of advent by making 24 chalk marks on a door and rubbing one away every day.

We were reminiscing in the office about just how excited we were as children to see what image was behind the numbered window.  Will it be a snowman, a robin or a Christmas bauble?  And the sheer joy when the time came to open the double window on Christmas Eve.

The first advent calendar with a little chocolate behind the numbered doors is believed to have been introduced in 1958, but didn’t become really popular until the 1980s.

Today, it seems that you can get almost anything hidden behind those 24 doors, from toys to gin, cheese to make-up and jewellery to sweets.

Last year, GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, revealed that 55.6% of UK consumers surveyed stated that they intend to purchase at least one advent calendar this year.   We’re betting that this is even higher this year.

As Marks & Spencer has shown, advent calendars are big business, and a now proven way to increase sales and extend the Christmas key selling period.

Will you be embracing the new extravagant trend or sticking to something more traditional?

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialises in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PRFood PRRetail PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at www.escapadepr.com/about-us