Children have been left in tears after stores ran out of Advent calendars due to supply problems.
Supermarket shelves have been left bare and websites say the items are out of stock, leaving many families missing out on the Christmas tradition.
Staff at Tesco in Foots Cray, south-east London, said children were devastated because parents were unable to find calendars anywhere.
‘I don’t know whether supplies have been affected by the pandemic but we didn’t have enough to meet demand,’ said one worker.
Supermarket shelves have been left bare and websites say the items are out of stock
‘Children have been crying. Advent calendars are almost as important as presents to kids.’
In nearby Sidcup, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre – which boasts of an ‘award-winning Christmas department’ – said Advent calendars are like ‘hens’ teeth this year’.
A staff member said: ‘We ran out in November and can’t get any more.’
Kasia, 38, a mum from Sidcup, said: ‘I have two girls aged 11 and 12 and they are really upset.
'It doesn’t feel like Christmas without two Advent calendars in our kitchen.’
The traditional Advent calendar took children through the nativity story.
But religious themes have now been pushed aside in favour of Disney characters and superheroes.
And shoppers can now find a vast range of products in their calendars such as wine, whisky, perfumes and even cheese.
Staff at the Co-op supermarket in Blackfen, south east London said their supply of advent calendars were sold out as soon as they went on the shelves.
‘Word must have got round that there was a shortage as our calendars were sold out immediately. They all sold out last weekend,’ a sales assistant said.
Most advent calendars will have been sold through supermarkets, which have remained open over the past month.
However, even retailers that have been closed, such as John Lewis, listed many of the calendars, even expensive adult versions, as ‘out of stock’ on their websites.
The list of sold out items included the Happy Socks Sock Advent Calendar, with 24 pairs of socks, at £149.95; the Cowshed 24 Day Advent Calendar at £130, which includes beauty products; and, for children, the Woodmansterne Where’s Wally 3D Advent Calendar at £9.99.
Similarly, the websites of Oxfam and WH Smith did not have any, although individual stores may have stocks on shelves.