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11.05.21

The secret personalisation & packing trend that could make your Christmas

Advent calendarChristmas brings so many opportunities to create eye-catching contract packing and packaging products that stand out from the crowd.

What was once a humble shower gel is now a jazzy stocking filler; what was once a crate of beer is now a thoughtful tree present.

Then there are the festive gifts that come out only once a year. There are opportunities here, too, to create something so special that everyone wants it with a synthesis of contract packing and personalisation: the Advent calendar.

Wait – Advent calendars aren’t a Christmas secret

Quite so! Early examples were created in about 1851 but the style we recognise now – with little doors opened to reveal a surprise or gift – have been around since the turn of the 20th century. They most definitely aren’t a new idea, or a secret.

What we’re getting at is that, while many brands enquire about luxury advent calendars year after year, only a modest proportion take them to production and fulfilment.

Why don’t luxury Advent calendars make it?

The nature of Advent calendars makes them potentially expensive to produce. We believe this is the main reason that brands shy away from producing them – they’re nervous about the price they’ll have to sell them at.

However, there has been a rise in popularity of the luxury Advent calendar. In the admittedly different world of 2017, The Guardian reported on all the different types available and their prices.

“At the higher end, Fortnum & Mason is selling a wooden calendar filled with sweets and chocolate (£125), The Pip Stop is selling a calendar filled with 20cl bottles of wine (£125) and Edinburgh Gin has one with 25 miniatures (£100)…”

Customers will pay for a ‘valuable’ product

Some Advent calendars retail for £500 or even more. So, it seems like consumers will, in fact, pay for something that has genuine value.

And for Christmas, the packaging has to be spot on, and preferably personalised. The Advent calendar format presents the perfect vehicle for the season.

And Christmas 2021 will be a big one

This Christmas, we do find ourselves operating in a very different marketplace than 2017.

However, considering consumers are looking forward to getting back together with loved ones for festive celebrations, they’ll be looking for something special to add glitter to their parties.

And we think that this year, if you don’t do an advent calendar, you might be missing a trick.

Contract packing requirements of the Advent calendar

The advent calendar itself is basically packaging – but it’s complex packaging that needs to be functional.

  • Physically fit for purpose – it needs to be robust enough to handle transportation, shelf life and 25 daily interactions when portions of it are pulled apart.
  • Good-looking – it needs to be attractive and, Christmas aside, completely on brand.
  • Quality contents – the value of the contents behind the Advent doors must be perceived to be of high value – or better still, a fabulous deal.
  • Personalised – this makes it into something really special. We have the facilities to custom print names and messages onto packaging as part of the fulfilment process and it really doesn’t hike up the price as you think it might.

Tips for taking an advent calendar to market

  1. Enlist packaging design consultants – packaging engineers make sure your design has the Wow Factor as well as being fit-for-purpose (both on the shelf and in-store) and on-brand. If sustainability is on your agenda, no problem – we help you meet your commitments by designing with minimal waste and eco materials in mind.
  2. Optimise your logistics and fulfilment – make sure your 3PL partner has vigorous processes backed by a powerful fulfilment platform. Granby’s SCOPe is a fine benchmark for what a fulfilment platform should be – user friendly, full visibility of data and progress, easy reporting and intuitive features.
  3. Go big with your promotional campaigns – think cross-platform and cross-channel. We can handle microsites and API integration to give you full control over the digital side. Don’t forget that Advent calendars are similar (by virtue of the selection of your products) to a sampling campaign, so investigate ways to tie this in to a nurturing or loyalty campaign using the tech at your disposal.
  4. Plan ahead – some brands and creative agencies start planning in January for the following Christmas; some start in the Spring. Whenever you start, make sure you’ve got a strong contract packing partner at your back for smooth running.
  5. Think outside the box – puns aside, Christmas Eve boxes and Mother New Year gifting ideas are also coming back into fashion. So you can be creative with your ideas and go all out. If you have a good contract packing partner, they’ll be able to rein in the wild ideas and turn them into something that will achieve everything you want it to.

It’s not too late

It’s still possible to get on board with something amazing and ambitious, even if you start now. Get in touch and see how Granby can help you turn your Advent calendar into a seasonal win.


Photo by Jan Romero on Unsplash

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