Christmas decorations on pink background
Image by Artboard Studio on Unsplash

Sustainable advent calendar ideas: Count down to Christmas without the waste

As the nights draw in it’s only natural for thoughts to turn to Christmas. But this year, the OPOH team is aiming for an eco-friendly Christmas. We got our heads together to discover some of the best sustainable advent calendar ideas for 2021.

Opening the doors on an advent calendar is a traditional way to mark the run-up to Christmas. And while in years gone by it was an activity just for kids, these days, grownups are getting in on the action. In fact, almost half of all British adults expect to receive an advent calendar.

That’s 16.5 million advent calendars: enough to spread from London to the North Pole.

It’s now possible to get everything from gin or specialty chocolate to perfume in an advent calendar. But most of them contain plastic and foil, adding to the environmental cost of Christmas. This makes advent calendars an environmental nightmare.

But if you’re concerned about sustainability, you don’t have to forgo the excitement of your advent calendar. For an eco-friendly Christmas, try one of these ideas instead

Get a reusable advent calendar

A reusable advent calendars is a sustainable advent calendar. And it can be used time and time again. Get it right and it will become an important part of your family Christmas tradition.

Vera-Bee sells a cute fabric Father Christmas advent calendar for just £14.95. Fill it with goodies of your choosing. But be sure to choose plastic-free gifts for a more sustainable Christmas.

Or how about an interactive nativity advent calendar? At £35 it’s a pricier option, but it comes with all the wooden figures your child needs to recreate the nativity

Make your own advent calendar

If you’re the crafty type, making your own sustainable advent calendar is a no-brainer.

For £67, this Lauren Aston kit contains all you need to knit your own personalised advent calendar to use each year.

For those who don’t like following precise instructions, how about getting some inspiration from sustainability blogger, Jen Gale? She’s come up with 24 crafty activities to get your kids involved in doing rather than having.

 Source ethically

If you’re sure you want a more traditional chocolate advent calendar, opt for an ethical one. There are plenty of options out there these days.

We love the Moo Free vegan advent calendar made using Rainforest Alliance chocolate. It comes in fully recycled and recyclable packaging and is a snip at just £3.99.

But real chocolate connoisseurs shouldn’t miss Tony’s Chocolonely Fairtrade advent calendar. It’s not cheap but it is amazing. Bigger than a normal advent calendar, this one hides a fairly traded chocolate behind each door. For £13.90, you’ll get 225g of chocolate (not all of it suitable for vegans). And there’s no plastic in the packaging.

Go alternative

Perhaps you’re looking for a different way of marking the countdown to your eco-Christmas.

If you’d rather sip tea than munch chocolate, this English Tea Shop puzzle advent calendar could be for you. Each box is filled with a premium organic loose teabag. The materials are fully compostable. And you can rearrange the boxes into three different pictures. At £8.95, it’s not particularly cheap but it makes the perfect gift for tea lovers.

And we love this Inspire Kindness advent calendar. It’s a reusable wooden tree-shaped calendar decorated with magnets. Each magnet corresponds to a day of the month and has an act of kindness written on the reverse. Inspire your children to be kind throughout December. And feel great about yourself. It’s £45, and 100% of the profit goes to charity.

Opt for an adult advent calendar

Some things are too special to share.

Treat yourself to a month of luxury with this Freedom Street advent calendar. For £185, you’ll enjoy a month of ethical goodies, from skincare products to edible treats.

If you prefer the simple things in life, this lovely advent calendar Christmas candle will light your way. Light it for an hour every day on the run-up to the big day. At £16, this is an adult treat that will fill your home with the warm scent of orange and cinnamon throughout December.

In your quest for a sustainable Christmas, don’t forget the small things. Choose plastic-free wherever possible. Don’t forget to recycle everything you can. And remember to be kind to yourself and others.