December 3, 2021

Countdown to Christmas

As the holiday season gets underway it’s evident that advent calendars continue to resonate as a hot packaging trend across categories. As the ultimate luxurious, festive gifting items they enable lucky recipients to discover everything from high-end  skincare products to chocolates,  candles , fragrances, socks, dog toys and even diamonds.. behind their doors.

Things have come a long way since the German Lutehrans invented the advent calendar concept in the late 19th Century. Recent years have seen these calendars grow from a ‘nice-but-niche’ treat to a truly mammoth category, with brand stalwarts such as Tiffany & Co., Dior, Jo Malone, Godiva, Harrods, Lancôme, Net-a-Porter and hundreds more all creating their own offerings.


Beauty Advent Calendar


Jo Malone Advent Calendar


Tiffany & Co Advent Calendar


“Today, multiple global brands and retailers offer advent calendars for the holiday shopping season,” says Karen Groenewald, Senior Packaging Designer at IPL Packaging. “As a festive packaging solution, it speaks to a wide variety of market segments, customer preferences and price-points, allowing brands to introduce new products as well as entrench tried and tested bestsellers.”

The appeal for the holiday season shopper or gift-giver is just as apparent. Experts say consumers love this festive concept that delivers joy in the unboxing experience and allows them to sample a wide range of products. “An engaging packaging and unboxing experience always delivers a positive impression of the brand and this is an innovative way to enable consumers to sample a wealth of both newly launched and iconic classics, without having to invest in the cost of full-size products,” says Groenewald. “To make sure they stand out in the crowd, it all comes down to how they look just as much as what is inside.”


“It goes without saying that incorporating seasonal elements into the design of advent calendars elicit a positive response from customers,” she comments. “Colours associated with the holidays – red, green, blue, and white are definite go-to’s. So too is holiday imagery – Christmas trees, ornaments, snowflakes and gifts along with gold or silver foil details.”

“However, holiday-themed advent calendars should reflect more than just traditional Christmas design elements to effectively resonate with a brand’s customers,” she says. “Whilst it’s good to incorporate seasonal elements into the packaging design, you also don’t want to stray too far from the product branding.”


For funky, small batch spiced rum brand, Dead Man’s Fingers (part of the Halewood Artisanal Spirits portfolio) IPL Packaging produced a somewhat unconventional pack that offers up a tantalising selection of twelve flavoured rums housed in separate, removable drawers.

Dead Man's Finger Rum Advent Calendar


“Since its inception, Dead Man’s Fingers (DMF) has been all about breathing new life into the rum category, challenging perceptions, and experimenting with the latest flavour trends,” explains Groenewald. “This same vibrant attitude was translated into the packaging design.”

“Finding the perfect balance of seasonal packaging and consistent branding, the 2021 DMF advent calendar incorporates seasonal colours and imagery reminiscent of falling snowflakes, whilst also introducing the distinctive DMF ‘skull’ branding and bold colour palette, that like the brand itself, kicks convention to the curb!”


Constructed in a similar style, IPL also produced similar packaging solutions for Halewood’s gin brands (including Whitley Neill, Berkshire Gin and JJ Whitley). These calendars were also designed as book-style rigid boxes that open from the centre. Once opened, the structures reveal separate pull-out boxes in which you won’t find ‘a partridge in a pear tree’ but rather a singular unboxing experience for each individual, award-winning gin.

Let the season begin advent calendar

“Options for luxury advent calendars are really only limited by imagination,” says Groenewald. “People love a little bit extra – whether it’s a clever opening mechanism, secret compartment, decorative features, metalwork, boxes that slot together to create an impressive style and encourage second use – or materials such as tin or wood which can elevate the brand and create an amazing, memorable reveal to really impress consumers. The sky is the limit!”

Gin advent calendar


IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to gain insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.

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