Are advent calendars one of your holiday traditions? Instead of purchasing a disposable calendar, try making your own!

Think about all the waste produced by advent calendars each year. Whether you’re filling your calendar with sweet goodies or daily activities, making your own calendar and reusing it from year to year is a great way to cut down on household waste. There are so many great design ideas online (bonus: choose a design that uses supplies you already have, or ones you can find at a thrift store).

We have two suggestions for your DIY advent calendar:

1. Providing sweets? Reduce packaging
Making your own calendar is great, but you will still be producing a lot of waste if your calendar is filled with individually packaged sweets. If you want to include daily sweets, try filling your own jars with candy from a bulk food store and incorporating those goodies into your calendar. This works especially well if you make a mason jar advent calendar.

2. Consider giving daily experiences instead of “stuff”
Instead of candy or toys, try putting experiences into your calendar. Kids could even help choose the activities that are included.

Click here for Advent Calendar Activity Ideas
  • Go sledding with friends or family
  • Build a snow fort
  • Give your kids the day off from chores (or better yet if your kids are making the activities…parents get the day off of chores?)
  • Movie night with friends or family
  • Craft night: make a Christmas gift for someone
  • Christmas baking day (bonus: head to your local bulk food store with your reusable containers to get all your ingredients)
  • Write a letter to Santa (bonus: let Santa know what you’re thankful for, rather than asking for more stuff)
  • Volunteer at a local non-profit
  • Make a list of new years resolutions
  • Put money in the calendar and let your kids choose where they want to donate it to
  • Do a puzzle with friends or family
  • Have a trivia night
  • Make a loved one a Christmas card
  • Go Christmas caroling
  • Make a red and green themed meal
  • Go skating
  • Make snow cones out of real snow
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Make snowflakes out of the paper in your recycling
  • Have a winter bonfire outside
  • Take a holiday themed family photo
  • Drink hot cocoa with all the fixings

Not ready to make your own advent calendar? Consider an easier option: print a sustainable advent calendar online. Our office uses one from “The Sustainable Advent Calendar” website which can be downloaded for free (in multiple different langues) here.

Whatever you and your family, friends, or coworkers choose this holiday season, remember to take waste reduction into consideration.

Protecting our planet today is the best gift we can give future generations.