The Best Eco-friendly & Sustainable Advent Calendars

Are your children already planning their Christmas wish list for Father Christmas? To help them count down the days, what’s better than an Advent calendar? This fun-filled tradition allows families to get excited about Santa’s arrival with a little treat every day. But did you know how harmful they are to the environment? There’s a better way to mark the season. Here are our favourite sustainable alternatives that are still filled with fun and gifts, as well as charity advent calendars, and even make-your-own ones.

What’s wrong with a traditional Advent calendar you cry?

To make an Advent calendar more appealing to open they are decorated with plastic and silver foil. The cardboard is glued together making them more expensive to recycle. Most of the time, they are either burned or dumped into a landfill after just 24 days. We know it’s Christmas and it’s ‘just an advent calendar’ but with the huge amount of paper, food and gift waste at this time of year we thought we’d help you make an easy change to a more sustainable advent calendar. Here’s a stats heavy reason too…

According to waste and recycling company BusinessWaste, in 2019 there were estimated to be 16.5 million Advent calendars purchased in the UK. These contained single-use plastics, enough to stretch from London to the North Pole (good stat to share with the kids!). Today’s Advent calendars are filled with tiny yet extravagant gifts such as jewellery, tea, liquor, and beauty products. And where do these non recyclable items end up? Usually the bin. Then landfill. Bah humbug indeed! 

How about a beauty Advent calendar?

In recent years, one of the most popular yet wasteful Advent calendars is filled with small high-end beauty products.  These beauty Advents, sold by Selfridges, Boots, and Jo Malone to name a few, are so popular that buyers often need to be put on a waiting list for one. If you’ve been able to purchase one, you’ve earned yourself a badge of honour. But finding a small plastic-filled perfume or lip gloss each day only leads to more trash in the landfills. 

What’s the alternative?

But don’t despair! Sustainable Advent calendars are easy to find and fun to use. Alternative Advent calendars are much more sustainable–even beauty ones. 

Chocolate advent calendars

Looking for a traditional chocolate Advent calendar with a twist? Take a look at Moo Free’s milk, white, or dark chocolate offering. In addition to being budget friendly, it is plastic-free. Win win! Or try HaPPi Free From, a vegan and sustainable advent calendar filled with 24 delicious oat milk chocolate pieces. Its eco-friendly promise is that its packaging uses no plastic, is made from sustainable sources, and is fully recyclable. 

Happi’s Sustainable Advent Calendar

Tea advent calendars

Want to enjoy a new cuppa every day leading up to Christmas? The Ethical Superstore has a number of sustainable—and budget-friendly advent calendar options. The English Tea Shop Advent Calendar contains a selection of 25 premium organic beautifully blended teas, we can’t wait to decide which is our new favourite! Here’s the eco-friendly part: its tea boxes and exterior packaging is fully compostable. Its loose-leaf pyramid bags made from polyester are easy to recycle.

English Tea Shop Organic White Ornaments Advent Calendar - Piccantino  International
The English Tea Shop’s Sustainable Advent Calendar

Beauty advent calendars

Even beauty advent calendars can be sustainable. Greener Beauty’s limited edition 2021 offering contains 26 items behind 24 different doors. What’s the difference? Each item is plastic-free and the box is manufactured in the UK from 75% recycled cardboard and 25% sustainable sources. Plus, 10 trees are planted for each calendar sold.

Greener Beauty Advent Calendar 2021
Greener Beauty’s Sustainable Advent Calendar

Charitable advent calendars

Rather than get gifts for yourself, how about making positive changes for others? Advent of Change calendars do just that. Behind the 24 perforated doors on one such sparkler is a different charity recipient in which a 50p donation is madeProviding food and medicine, protecting the oceans or endangered animals are just a few of these charities. Plus, they are eco-friendly, plastic-free, sustainable, and recyclable advent calendars. Also available are a children’s and a premium version. Decorated with cheerful colours and easy-to-understand language, this charity calendar helps your child grasp the true meaning of Christmas. A premium version represents an even more generous £1 donation. 

Advent of Change Charity Calendar

Make-your-own advent calendars

And finally, don’t forget that you and your family can fill your own calendars with special treats year after year. Not only does this sustainable advent calendar option allow you to teach your children the value of being environmentally friendly but it also contributes to a cherished tradition and building family memories. 

Hobbycraft has lots of affordable options, including a train, Santa, castle, star and Christmas tree. We also love this knit your own Christmas boots version, although a little pricier and time consuming! If you want to get creative on a budget you could buy (or make!) some Christmas sacks which you number and each year decorate a new sack. Or if you’d prefer to do an activity each day then we suggest this personalised wooden advent calendar where you pop in notes each day instead of gifts. 

During this holiday season, isn’t it nice to know that your small actions can make a huge impact on the environment? It’s also a great way to show your children that having fun doesn’t have to mean buying things that create unnecessary waste. Start a new Christmas tradition and make a positive impact on the environment that helps transform the world.

Personalised Children’s Activity Advent Calendar
Personalised Children’s Activity Advent Calendar

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