Ok, so here’s my beef with advent calendars. I’m talking about the store-bought ones that are filled with chocolate, or more recently, toys and lego.

  1. They are unhealthy. Kids get enough junk to eat throughout the holiday season. Why would I want to encourage them to eat a chocolate a day?
  2. They are wasteful. My nephew gets a lego advent calendar every year and I have yet to see him play with any of the new pieces he acquires. Also, the packaging is wasteful, as most contain unrecyclable plastic that end up in our landfills and waterways.

Now, I sound anti-Christmas, but I assure you I am not. I am however anti-consumerism and waste. I dislike the consumerist culture Christmas brings out in most of us. By all means, I am not perfect. I try very hard every year to not be influenced by others and the media, but I do end up buying more gifts than I planned.

However, advent calendars are one area where I have stuck to my guns. We don’t buy them for the reasons mentioned above. 

This past Christmas, my kids were asking about getting an advent calendar because they see their cousins with one. Well, I didn’t get around to fulfilling their request this year, so I am making an effort now to find an environmentally friendly advent calendar for the 2020 Christmas season (and beyond). I know that if I leave this task until Christmas time, l will get busy again and it will be forgotten.

As always, I am going to share with you what I found when I traveled down the wonderful google rabbit hole of ecofriendly advent calendars.

Ecofriendly advent calendar fillers

The most environmentally friendly advent calendars are ones that you fill yourself. You know, the wooden ones you can buy or if you’re talented you can make yourself. 

These are ecofriendly because you can reuse them year after year and most likely aren’t packaged in a bunch of plastic that will end up in the landfill.

So what do we fill these advent calendars with? Well, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.


What kid doesn’t like stickers? Cheap, easy, and fun. A no brainer for filling up your advent calendar.

Rubber Stamps

Stamping is one of my toddlers favorite activies, so why not encourage it over Christmas?

Temporary Tattoos

Again, kids love temporary tattoos! Not everyone may be on board with this filler, but they are fun for kids.

Crayons/Markers/Pencil Crayons

For kids who love to draw and color, get them some age appropriate coloring utensils. Include a bonus gift of a coloring book for kids or teens. It would be a nice added surprise since it probably won’t fit in your calendar.


Little kids love erasers, come to think of it, my 11-year-old does too!

Homemade Playdough

Super easy to make at home, and you can make your kids favorite color using food coloring. Here is an easy recipe.

Homemade Goodies

Make some delicious snacks at home. You know all the ingredients involved and taste much better than the cheap chocolate in traditional advent calendars.

Hair accessories

Hair clips and scrunchies are great ideas for little and big girls.

Mini Figures

Purchase your kids’ favorite movie characters in mini figurine form, such as Frozen or Trolls characters from Amazon.

Glow Sticks

Glow sticks are so much fun and with it getting dark so early, the kiddos have a chance to use them outside. Also, a good way to get your kids outside in the winter!


My kids love getting money (I mean, who doesn’t?). There are gumball machines that are still only a quarter nearby, so it doesn’t take much to keep them satisfied!

Movie Passes

Older kids can enjoy going to the movies with you or their friends.

Face Masks

Charcoal facemasks are a hit with teenagers! Couple it with some nail painting and you and your kid can have a nice, bonding, at-home spa day!

Lip Balm

Fight those dry lips that tend to happen in the winter. Try these natural lip balms from Amazon.

Nail Polish

Older and younger kids love nail polish, it’s a fact.

Diary or Journal

Journals are great outlet for your teenage or preteen child. My 11 year old even draws pictures in his.


Get creative and make a bracelet or necklace. My kids recently got into making paracord bracelets. They are fashionable and useful!

Trading Cards

Pokemon, anyone?

eco friendly advent calendar

Sustainable advent calendar

Ok, so now you have some ideas of what to put in your advent calendar. What about the advent calendar itself?

I personally like this one from Amazon. It’s reusable, plastic-free, and rustic looking. The reviews are great and it doen’t break the bank.

The only hiccup might be that the drawers are a little small, but a helpful reviewer suggested leaving notes in the drawers and send the kids on a hunt to find their treasures. I like that idea, it adds a little bit of an extra special element to the advent calendar fun.

There are a ton of great-looking, functional ecofriendly advent calendars on Amazon. I am not going to go through every single one. You know your taste and what you’re looking for better than I do (I hope) so peruse at your own leisure.

DIY Environmentally friendly Advent Calendars

For those of you with the skills or just plain gumption, a DIY advent calendar might be more your style. Check out this detailed list compilation from mindfulofthehome.com. These are definitely unique DIY ideas that are far above my skill level! Try them out, if you’re brave enough!

DIY ecofriendly advent calendars allow you the freedom to do what you want. It’s a great way to make them customizable to your needs and values. For example, you can make a plastic-free advent calendar (YAY!) if that’s important to you, and/or a zero-waste calendar if you’re trying to minimize the excess waste in your life.

If you’re not into packing up the advent calendar every year, try making a recyclable advent calendar made from recyclable and/or biodegradable materials. This way, even if it is just used once, you’re not contributing to landfill waste.

I like this DIY advent calendar here,  it’s minimilistic, almost zero waste, and I feel like even I could make it.

Chances are, I am going to go for the reusable wooden advent calendar from Amazon for this holiday season, as I’m not much of a crafty DIYer. 

I will be giving my full review, so stay tuned for that in a quite a few months!

Do you have an advent calendar? What do you fill yours with? Have you tried to DIY an advent calendar? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers, and have an awesome day!



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