Paperchase Advent Calendar Review: Is It All For Show Or Worth The Cash?

For £35, it promises 24 days of stationery joy.
HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK

Over the years, I’ve rolled my eyes at the growing fashion for gimmicky advent calendars. I love gin, tea, and even cheese – but I don’t need to open a little door to them every morning. Plus, they ruin the cheap but nostalgic tradition of eating chocolate before breakfast in December. Christmas costs too much as it is – adding a £300 advent calendar to the mix makes it worse.

That was, until I saw Paperchase had launched one this year. You see, I love stationery. I have a bullet journal, a three-storey craft trolley, and I use different pens for different purposes. I have 10 spare notepads at home, just in case, and always ogle over stationery online and in the shops. When I worked on the same road as Paperchase’s flagship store in central London, I’d go in almost every lunchtime. So this calendar was made for me.

For £35, it promises 24 days of stationery joy. Is it all for show, or worth the cash? As a cynical advent-calendar-buyer, I put it to the test.

First impressions

It’s massive. Like, really big – and I wonder where this would go in my flat if I bought one. I’m impressed, though, I love the graphic design and the quality feels top-notch – plus the old-school font promises “24 Days Of Stationery Joy”.

Yes, please.

The idea of getting a new bit of stationery every day for the best part of a month makes me a little giddy. I’m immediately drawn to the bigger doors on the calendar (isn’t everyone?) and can’t wait to get stuck in. The cardboard rips quite easily – or perhaps that’s just my excitement at getting going so quickly – so I’d be a little more careful if it was actually December and I was doing it for real.

HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK
HuffPost UK

The Products

Stationery, by its very nature, comes in small packages – pens, rubbers, stickers, post-it notes – so there’s no risk of being fobbed off here with too many minis as you might be by some beauty advent calendars. Miniatures are a) annoying and b) not great for the environment. So I’m pleasantly surprised as I open the doors– the first few products I’d definitely use, or even buy myself.

Mind you, I can never have too much stationery to add to my ever-growing pencil-case (or two, actually), so it doesn’t take much to excite me. I always want new crafty bits to decorate my journal – case in point: I was excited by the roll of washi tape.

There are a few minis involved – it’s hard to fit a full-size 2020 diary in a calendar door, after all – and personally, I find these a bit wasteful. One mini notepad I can deal with, but not two. But do we buy these gift-filled calendars with the intention of using every single thing? Probably not. We in it for the daily thrill.

Side note: there are quite a lot of pens. I couldn’t help but feel a little twang of disappointment as I opened another, but I’d say overall, I was surprised by the variety and range of the products. Trying not to give too much away, my favourite was the pastel-coloured binder clips (these are a dream when you need to keep all those scrap bits of paper safe in your trusty notepad).

There are a few things I wouldn’t use, as I’m sure this would be the same for anyone. But here’s where you could keep them and pass them on as stocking gifts, or little additions to presents, so they didn’t go to waste. And the £5 voucher is, of course, a brilliant addition (that’s no spoiler by the way – it’s written on the box).

The verdict

I liked it more than I thought I would, despite there being a few things I wouldn’t use, or that would only appeal to a younger audience. My reluctance to indulge would be more to do with not wanting to get sucked into the advent calendar craze than worrying about having too many pens. If you’re fully invested, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

And as far as these advent calendars go, £35 isn’t bad value. The stationery chain says the products are worth £55 – and I’d say you get what you pay for.

We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.