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So my Facebook feed BLEW UP yesterday with people going crazy because it was Aldi Advent Calendars Release Day. Yup, I put that in all caps like a holiday. Because people are SERIOUS about it!
What is Aldi?
Aldi is a grocery store chain known for lower prices and unique offerings. Borrowing a cart costs you a quarter (you get it back when you return the cart). You are responsible for bagging your own groceries – and if you didn’t bring your own grocery bags, you’ll have to pay for them. They largely carry their own brand, priced lower than name brands in ohter stores. However, there are also name brands offered – mostly items that didn’t sell well in the bigger stores is my theory. The store brand is delicious and you can pick up some cool name brand items, like GT’s kombucha. They also have an aisle of random stuff – toys, household items, kitchen utensils, clothes, holiday decorations, etc. The Aldi bee boots have recently been very popular.
What’s the big deal about Aldi Advent Calendars?
Last year the Aldi Wine Advent Calendar came out and people went crazy! Most stores got them in very limited numbers, if at all, and sold out in minutes. So thousands of people were super excited to try to score one this year.
The box contains 24 mini bottles of wine to enjoy each day of December. There’s also an Aldi beer calendar, containing 24 full bottles of beer. Oh, and don’t forget the Aldi cheese calendar! They have other options, too, including the traditional chocolate advent calendars and one for DOGS!
People on Facebook were making plans days in advance. I saw posts about people taking time off work, getting someone else to take their kids to school and crafting elaborate strategies involving team participation. There were also posts of people scoffing at the costs and declaring the whole thing a waste of time and money.
So I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Aldi Holiday Madness
My plan was to get up early and be there when the store opened. Early morning me disagreed with that plan. I slept in and got to there at 11. The beer and wine calendars were long gone. I spoke to a couple of store employees who reported dozens of people were in line outside when they arrived at 7 a.m. – two hours before the store opened. The employees said it was a frenzy, and that the crowd kept shopping after they secured their beer or wine calendar.
The Aldi beer advent calendars were priced at $49.99 and the wine calendars at $69.99. Aldi wine starts at $2.99 for a full size bottle, which is why many of even the chain’s most loyal fans scoffed at the price.
I don’t typically like wine and am very picky about beer, so I was never going to buy one of these calendars. I just wanted to see the show – but you snooze, you loose. Since I was there, I wandered the aisles. The early morning shoppers did a number on inventory all over the store! Lots of near empty displays.
Aldi Holiday Special Buys
Aldi offers a lot of seasonal purchases and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Here are some of the cool goodies I saw:
Dog advent calendars
Grain-free treats for your pooch!
Chocolate advent calendars:
These start at under $2. I grabbed one of the larger $7.99 varieties.
Toy advent calendars:
Paw Patrol, Barbie, Disney, Hot Wheels. The Barbie one was my favorite. It comes with a full size doll. Each day gifts the lucky child pet, an article of clothing, pair of shoes or accessory for their new doll.
Facebook testimonials say these 3-wick candles are just as good as the much pricier Bath & Bodyworks variety. I got a pumpkin and a pine. My store was almost out of these – in fact, I got the only pine candle. (I lit it up yesterday and agree – the quality is great!)
Aldi Cheese Advent Calendar
There were about a dozen Aldi cheese advent calendars left. I thought about buying one, but it just didn’t seem like a good deal. It cost $14.99 for 16.9 oz of cheese. There were only five varieties of cheese in the box. I’m a huge cheese fan, but the cost just didn’t make sense when whole blocks of specialty cheese are three or four bucks there.
So, I decided to spend the money on full size blocks of cheese instead. In fact, it was my lunch when I got home. Cheese plates are my favorite meal. I made a big one and snacked on it all afternoon. It had blackberries, artichoke hearts, garlic stuffed olives, salami, cranberry goat cheese, truffle cheddar, coffee rubbed cheddar and Parmesan.
I’ve always done an advent calendar with my kiddos, but ours is the kind where you just move a little token on a ribbon to the next pocket each day. There aren’t treats involved. However, I got my daughter a nail polish advent calendar last year on a whim and we really enjoyed it, so I picked up a chocolate one to do when the girls are home – if it lasts that long. Aldi has good chocolate!
Did you grab one of the Aldi Advent Calendars? Let me know!