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The Advent of Folly

Advent calendars are they worth the money?

Zoella 12 day advent calendar and others and legal rights






The Zoella Advent calendar

The Zoella Advent Calendar has gone on sale, priced at £50.

£50 for crying out loud… Now, to be honest, when I heard about this I had to look her up on Google. She’s a beauty vlogger for teens. Anyway, the cost is ridiculous. Guess what you get for £50? You never will so here’s the list:

candle 130g
cookie cutter x 2
jotter pad
key ring
room spray 30ml
stickers and
a votive)

I thought it was bad enough that it cost £50 when I thought it was 24 or 25 days but it’s only 12! Half a calendar! HALF. Many people have costed out the items and it comes to less than £20 if you bought the items from places like Primark and eBay.

Twitter is an amusing place. Put in #Zoella and there are some very amusing and poignant tweets and masses of them.

Boots is a respected brand. It should have thought twice about this before joining up with Zoella to con, for that is what it is, kids, young people and their parents out of so much money.

Since when was Advent 12 days?

So 12 days huh? Someone can’t count. Or indeed doesn’t understand the word “advent”. The Oxford English dictionary describes it as “The first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays”. (One could argue that other advent calendars with only 24 or 25 days may not have 4 Sundays but actually very few say “December Advent calendar”! So no-one has to start on the 1st December you should actually start on the 1st day of advent. Anyway, I digress…).

But it may be good to share this little idea. Perhaps all the customers of the Zoella advent calendar might like to return theirs with all the contents and demand a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 because it is not as described. It is not an “Advent” calendar. Go on do it and let me know how you get on!

Other advent calendars

Many other advent calendars are available. But see if you can beat the advent calendar at Fortnum and Mason. This gem, priced at £165, plays music when you open each of the doors. But….. it comes unfilled!!

Sad really, seeing the development of commercial advent calendars. (Remember the days when you loved the 24th because that day it was a double door nativity picture?!) Then there’s the WH Smith “calendar of erasers”, an advent calendar filled with rubbers. Just why?

Andy Webb from asked and hasn’t yet found an answer, although this was my favourite response:

I suppose some little kids love collecting them. But everso slightly unimaginative?

Even Greggs are coming out with advent calendars! But the Greggs calendar isn’t filled with yummy chocolates, it’s filled with paper vouchers to exchange for pastries and sausage rolls!

I suppose there is the line “Never miss an opportunity”, but it’s not clear yet whether those vouchers equal more, less or the same as the amount they cost yet! Much as I love pastry and cream cakes and much more so than the next person, do I really want to be encouraged to go to Greggs every day?! The walk won’t burn off the calories!

Really the only good one has to be the Aldi 24 days “bottles of wine” advent calendar for a penny less than Zoella’s half advent calendar. It’s already sold out though…

The advent calendar alternatives

1)    Consider making your own advent calendar for your offspring. You may like to do what we are doing in our household, which is the Reverse advent calendar. It’s a campaign supported by UKMoneybloggers where we put some food or toiletries each day in a box and at the end of the month give it to our local foodbank. Perhaps Boots might like to think about donating a whole load of beauty products and toiletries to all the food banks local to their branches?

2) You could also try Cass Bailey, Frugal Family blogger’s Alternative Christmas Advent Calendar. I absolutely love this idea, It’s about making your own traditions and doing something for yourself/family/friends etc. You can put in your own ideas, it is great. Check it out.

3) I’ve just printed a Kindness calendar from Eileen Adamson Your Money Sorted They are such easy simple little things that are just lovely.

Reviews of Advent calendars

Frankly, I find the rise in beauty product advent calendars and their prices staggering. That’s maybe because I need more than an advent calendar’s worth of products to make me look human. But that aside, I think consumers need to consider very carefully what’s inside these things before buying. Seriously, Google “beauty advent calendars” it’s shocking and in these days when people are struggling to feed their families, sickening. Looking around, it’s clear that Zoella’s isn’t the most expensive, although it may be the poorest value.

One 5 star review of the Zoella product surely has to be sarcasm. SURELY? “So I bought this for my 7 year old daughter and she loves it, she had hours of fun with the star cookie cutter and don’t forget the confetti and its cheap as well really helps a single mother!” Seriously? I’m just donating a box full of Play-Doh stuff to the charity shop, loads of cutters in there, probably cost you a few quid!

Superdrug has excellent reviews on their same priced make up calendar whilst Boots are dreadful! Go look! Lots are being reduced too so clearly aren’t selling well. It took rather a lot of condemnation on social media and the media to get Boots to reduce this one for another reason. Apparently, as of a few hours ago today (14/11/17) Boots responded to the criticism of the calendar:

“We are sorry to hear that the price of the Zoella 12 Days of Christmas Advent                          Calendar has disappointed a number of customers, we always listen to feedback.”

a spokesperson for Boots told Digital Spy. Maybe they thought half price because it is HALF A FLIPPING CALENDAR?!

The Zoella’s advent calendar review

This amused me. If you don’t mind swearing and can sit through an 8 minute long review, this is brilliant. Let it be a lesson to anyone else wanting to rip off kids, young people and their parents! An honest review of everything inside, have a look before you are tempted to buy!

I think I’ve only subscribed to a couple of consumer organisations on Youtube and no-one else. Today I subscribed to JaakMaate‘s channel. His witty sarcasm is right up my street!

My favourite is his review of number 8. Obviously. If you want to take on his idea for number 8 see Tips and if you want to write to the Boots bosses the contact details are here


Zoella response to criticism of her calendar

Here is Zoella’s video response to the criticism. Please don’t torture yourself by watching it all I have set it to go from her response to the criticism of her half advent calendar. You will see that Zoella says that she only had input regarding creativity on “great products” (remember many of these products are available in Primark and Wilko for less than £1) and worked on it for a year and had nothing to do with the pricing. Here are my thoughts on this:


1) She has ownership of the brand name, so why would she allow a contract to go ahead where she has no say in the pricing which reflects on her brand?

2) She’s made quite a bit of money in the past, are we to believe that she doesn’t know how business works?

3) No business, Boots and hers included, would discuss development of a product for a year without talking about projected sales and profits.

So, either Zoella doesn’t have a clue about business and is only making £1 a calendar or her response is just everso slightly disingenuous?

Boots response to the criticism of the Zoella Advent calendar

I asked Boots to comment on the 12 days and on Zoella’s claims in the above video. Boots failed to comment on this and a spokesperson for it added to the above with only…

“We will be offering the product at half price during our Christmas promotion, where             the calendar will be on sale for £25.00 from Thursday 16th November.

The Zoella lifestyle advent calendar is full of 12 exclusive treats which are all clearly               listed on and cannot be purchased separately.”


Have you bought her product? Are you happy with it? If so, you must have more money than sense. Hopefully, if you were happy, you are now outraged that not only was she part of a campaign to fleece children, young people and their parents, she is now trying to wriggle her way out of it by pretending she knows nothing about how business works.

Show us the contract, Zoella. Put your not so hard earned cash where your mouth is.