The United Kingdom is great for at least one thing and that is providing us with an amusingly low-stakes seasonal kerfuffle. This time, it involves an expensive advent calendar sold under the brand of a wildly successful YouTuber.
Zoella is a successful British YouTuber whose particulars I cannot remember, in the same way that once you reach a certain age, you can no longer hear certain high tones. Let’s just say that she appears to be a young woman of some renown, with 11 million subscribers and quite a few products for sale at the pharmacy Boots, and congratulations to her. But she is getting some heat for one specific item from her Christmas line, which is an advent calendar that costs £50 and and yet has a mere 12 doors containing surprises, which is half the traditional number of doors containing surprises, and the surprises aren’t especially thrilling, either.
The calendar contains a cookie cutter, a small pack of confetti, a packet of seven stickers, a star-shaped cookie cutter, a small bag, a 130g “Festive Cookie” candle, a 30ml “Christmas Clementine” room spray, a pen, a fluffy key ring, a gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter, a mini notepad and a 130g “Cosy Christmas” candle.
The entire contents of the advent calendar, which is being sold at Boots and has received an overall rating of one and a half stars so far, can be purchased for about £20 separately.
The calendar has drawn criticism on Twitter and racked up disappointed reviews on the Boots website. Meanwhile, it’s a whole thing on the platform where she lives, so to speak; here is another YouTuber’s review of the calendar:
A spokesperson told the Independent that while “Zoe is incredibly proud of the Christmas collection and excited to see it in stores,” she doesn’t actually set the price: “However, the pricing and in store promotional strategy of the collection, including the calendar, is at the control of third parties and is not set by Zoe.” Zoella herself said the same thing in a behind the scenes video, explaining that she provides the creative input but then it’s up to the merchandisers (skip to 33 minutes):
Boots has now cut the price of the advent calendar in half, to £25.00, which sounds much more reasonable—as reasonable as any advent calendar ever sounds, considering that the chocolate is never as good as you might wish.