PEOPLE are being asked to vote for the best - or more
accurately, worst - Advent calendar that bears little or no
connection to the actual season.
The eight candidates include one from the lingerie supplier Ann
Summers, featuring chocolate "bums, boobs and willies", and a photo
of a hunky male wearing nothing but a strategically placed
And there is a £149.95 special containing 24 different "premium"
The poll, which closes on Sunday, has been organised by the
Christian website Ship of Fools (ship-of-fools.com). The site's
co-editor, Simon Jenkins, said: "The historical fusion of a
midwinter festival and the incarnation, to create Christmas, was
always going to throw up conflicting messages.
"However, a recent spate of bizarre calendars has meant many
have lost the original meaning of Advent, and prompted us to find
the least inspiring on the market."
Other entrants include one with a Heavy Metal theme showing
Santa Claus with his foot on a crushed skull, and offering the
devil's-horns hand sign. Another has the Lego Star Wars baddie
Darth Vader sporting a fur-trimmed, red Santa costume. "Plenty of
people asked Jesus 'Who's your daddy?' but, as far as tradition has
it, Darth Vader wasn't one of them," Steve Goddard, the website's
Less contentious, but tackier, is a 24-piece nail-polish
collection, and a Barbie version with a different fashion accessory
behind every window.
Mr Goddard said that about ten million calendars are sold in the
run-up to Christmas. "We're not calling on shops to get rid of
these products," he said, "but to give shoppers alternatives that
tell the Bethlehem story. We've also discovered that only two
calendars are fairly traded, and just one, the Real Advent
Calendar, has a charity focus.
"This is disappointing, given that the original message of
Christmas is aspirational: peace on earth, goodwill to all people,
the hopeful search of the Magi, the selfless giving of God's
"Modern Advent calendars are another depressing sign of the way
big business tramples on something beautiful in its desperation to
make a profit."