It’s finally here: Tomorrow, the advent calendars will commence once again, and the tiny jars of Bonne Maman jam will take their rightful place all over my For You page, with people revealing one gingham-topped jar per day until Christmas and sharing a flurry of reviews. Last year brought such delights as wild blueberry with lemon balm and sweet orange and passion fruit to my feeds, but this year, who knows what whimsical, limited-edition flavors will stand out? Perhaps the fancy-sounding mirabelle plum? Chestnut and orange with spice also sounds quite nice.
The advent calendar has humble beginnings — maybe as a child you opened a door on a paper calendar to reveal a picture per day, or found a piece of candy inside a pocket. But due to the relentless consumption culture of the holidays, the branded advent calendar category has become a well-saturated one. These days they contain: cheese, wine, snacks, Dolly Parton’s favorite treats, skincare, make up, (potentially disappointing) Chanel goodies, and so on.
Yet amid this crowded niche, Bonne Maman’s advent calendar — which, this year, comes in 12-day and 24-day options — has earned well-deserved affection. Nothing makes a cute jar of jam even cuter than making it mini. It is this simple premise that allows the Bonne Maman advent calendar to sell out quickly and predictably. It’s also what has led to solid views across social media.
When user @kitschytchotchkes started her Bonne Maman advent calendar series on TikTok last year, her inaugural video got over 1.4 million plays. There are a handful of other creators who’ve also shared their takes on what they’ve called “Jamvent” and “Jamtok Advent,” some of whom have teased that they’ll continue to do so this year. It is, to be clear, not the largest TikTok niche; the clunky hashtag #bonnemamanadventcalendar has just under a million views total.
The appeal of the advent calendar as social media content is, in part, the predictability and the gratification of the daily reveal. The advent calendar is just a bunch of mini unboxings. As such, there is always something new for a creator to share and always something new for a viewer to come back to.
But the true appeal of the little niche of Bonne Maman advent calendar TikTok is the vicarious thrill of seeing someone discover a very cute, new jam. Will they like today’s jam more than yesterday’s? What will be the highlight of the season? That’s what I’m there to see. While cynically, the branded advent calendar is just another form of consumerism, the mini fandom around the Bonne Maman advent calendar on TikTok is, more optimistically, about relishing in a bit of daily delight. And like all good things, it’s fleeting. A year’s worth of jam reviews might not be for me, but a month’s worth is something to look forward to.
In an internet where people are now more likely to come together to dogpile the bad take of the day, there’s something wonderful about seeing people unite over something so wholesome as mini jars of jam. It’s sweet, even if you never have a taste.