The Proliferation of $500 Beauty Advent Calendar Videos on TikTok

Those visceral reactions are why so many content creators are investing in these pricey advent calendars for their TikTok and YouTube channels. “I really did spend over $20,000 on advent calendars,” said Mary Berry, who has been posting daily unboxing videos of luxury advent calendars on TikTok. Advent calendar videos scratch the same itch as online window shopping. Given the changes, advent calendar videos may be more lucrative than ever this year. “These advent calendars may seem like they’re not loaded with significance, but actually they are.

Are you ready to receive potentially distressing information? Are you prepared for news that may cause harm? Brace yourself, because luxury retailer Dior is currently selling an advent calendar for a whopping $4,200, complete with white glove delivery service. But they’re not the only ones cashing in on this holiday trend. Many other high-end brands, such as Vogue, Jo Malone, Neiman Marcus, Pandora, Yves Saint Laurent, and Swarovski, are also offering their own versions of indulgent advent calendars.

This may evoke a range of reactions – perhaps you’re seething with anger, or bursting with curiosity, or immediately hopping online to see for yourself. And if you’re anything like beauty enthusiast Mary Berry, you might even be filming daily unboxing videos of luxury advent calendars on TikTok, racking up almost 100,000 followers in the process. “I really did spend over $20,000 on advent calendars,” she confesses, already making a name for herself in the beauty industry through her highly-viewed videos.

These advent calendar videos provide the same satisfaction as window shopping online. It’s like virtually filling up a shopping cart and then abandoning it, never actually completing the purchase. As viewers, we eagerly anticipate seeing what’s behind each door, even though we could easily search for a list of all the products included. But that would ruin the fun, so we keep coming back for more.

While the revenue from these videos may only cover a fraction of the cost for creators like Berry, it’s still seen as a marketing expense for businesses like her cosmetics company, Cosmos Labs. “I couldn’t explain why I felt compelled to do it, but it just felt like the right thing to do – and now I’ve even gained clients through it, like actual beauty brands who see that I know what’s trending in the beauty world,” she reveals. “We’ve even received legitimate business opportunities from it, which is insane because for us, it’s not just about selling a product, it’s about building a brand.”

But even for creators who don’t have their own beauty companies, the revenue from these videos can often pay for the advent calendars themselves. TikTok content creator Amanda Golka of Swell Entertainment has been posting daily videos of her opening each door of the Vogue advent calendar. Within just a few days, she’s already nearly covered the cost of the $456 calendar. And with the recent implementation of the Creativity Program Beta on TikTok, creators who make videos longer than one minute are now eligible to make significantly more money than before. With these changes, it seems like advent calendar videos may be more lucrative than ever this year.

But let’s not ignore the elephant in the (virtual) room – advent calendars are traditionally associated with the Christian tradition of counting down to Christmas. Of course, a Kylie Cosmetics lip gloss countdown has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. However, Chris Stedman, a religion and philosophy professor, believes there is still some value and meaning to be found in these daily rituals.

In his research, Stedman has explored the role of the internet in people’s spiritual lives, particularly as fewer people are affiliating with religious institutions in the U.S. Younger generations may not attend church as much as previous generations, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t seeking to understand the world around them.

“If you’re not plugged into institutions that offer structure for reflecting on questions of purpose and meaning, you’ll still be doing that in the spaces where you spend time,” he explains. “TikTok is one of those spaces where people spend a lot of time.”

While it may seem like buying a ridiculously expensive advent calendar and then documenting its contents daily for the internet has nothing to do with spirituality, Stedman believes it can still serve as a form of daily ritual. It’s a way to create structure and meaning in our lives, even if it’s not in the form of traditional religious practices like prayer. “We have this modern idea that religion is just another commodity, something we can consume,” he muses. “You can shop around and dabble in spirituality through astrology, Tarot, or even wearing a rosary… Religion can simply be about creating your own personal sense of meaning, rather than participating in a collective experience.”

Whether it’s following a detailed skincare routine at night or choosing a Tarot card each morning, TikTok encourages and rewards the act of daily ritual. Trends and ideas that revolve around routine and repetition often go viral on the platform. Even the concept of a daily “hot girl walk” can be a way for people to impose order and meaning into their lives – and the same can be said for opening the next door on an advent calendar.

“Despite what we may think, we are still shaped by larger forces,” Stedman concludes. “These advent calendars may not seem significant, but they are. The meaning may be centered around consumerism, but it’s still there. It’s just a different kind of significance.”

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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