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Sustainable Christmas - Advent Calendars

Published: 20/12/2022
Christmas advent calendar made of recycled brown bags

The festive season is a time for friends, families and celebration, but many of us are looking for ways to make this time more sustainable.

From the things that we eat and wear, to the places we shop and the gifts we give, there are so many ways we can have a more sustainable festive season that won’t cost the planet.

So, this year our Climate Officer has shared their plans and ideas for simple sustainable alternatives this Christmas.

Let’s start with advent calendars:

Advent calendars have undergone a tremendous change, from waking up in the morning and peeling back the window to see what Christmassy picture lay beneath, to the famous chocolates (who doesn’t like starting the morning off with a sweet treat). Now more recently, they’ve become a pre-Christmas gift, with the sky the limit for what can be found behind each door, from cheese, miniature bottles of gin or even a whole new make-up bag of products!

I set myself the task of looking for different ways I can bring countdown cheer to my home, which can be repeated in years to come and enjoyed by the whole family.

The advent lorry was the first idea to come up on my research. Although it is an initial cost for the lorry, it is made to be used yearly, with empty draws so that you can pop your individual daily treat inside. I plan on adding some notes and activities to mix it up.

I also found the idea the Christmas Book Countdown. Having gone through my children’s books recently I found an awful lot of Christmas/winter based stories. I am going to need to get a few more at the library, but I plan on reading a story every night in December.

We can all do this together in the front room under a blanket (to keep warm!) and it will help get in the spirit. If still want to have the surprise element you can make a Christmas draw string bag to hold the Christmas book for that night.

The final idea was a reversible advent calendar – the calendar that gives back. The idea is simple; instead of opening the door to a chocolate or picture (or gin!), you do the giving. You put aside a donation each day of non-perishable advent, so they have a collections of goods ready to drop off in time for Christmas.

All you have to do is:

  1. Pick a charity or food bank you would like to donate to
  2. Contact the organisation to find out what items they are most in need of and when you should drop them off
  3. Put aside a box – depending on how creative you are – decorate it or add numbers
  4. Get collections and let the countdown begin!