Alternative advent calendars

The advent calendars we’ve all become accustomed to are usually single-use, filled with chocolate and are thrown away and forgotten come Christmas morning. But what if there was another way? Check out our list of alternative advent calendars that create less waste and more joy. 

Scroll down now to see a selection of our favourite alternative advent calendars for 2021.

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Alternative advent calendars for children and families

This selection of family-friendly alternative advent calendars will get your children squealing with delight for 24 days straight (and the adults will love them too). Christmas magic, ahoy!

Scratch-off activity advent calendar from Perfect Personalised Gifts

We love these plastic-free advent calendars with scratch-off panels, designed to get families doing Christmassy activities together during the build-up to the big day. They can be personalised with your child’s name for an extra-special touch that will also help stop festive sibling arguments.
Price: £14.99 at time of publication


Reusable advent calendar kit by The Conscious Party box

This might be in the children’s section of this roundup but we think this reusable, plastic-free advent calendar kit from the Conscious Party Box would be suitable for just about anyone. 

As with all of their products, TCPB have thought of all the details, from kraft boxes and bags all ready to be filled with whichever delights you choose, to pegs (wooden, of course) and twine for sealing and hanging your little packages. The best bit? Nothing disposable – you can pack all this up after Christmas and use it all again next year. 

Price: £25 at time of publication.

Eco chocolate advent calendars from Playinchoc

If you’re not ready to let go of the chocolate advent calendar tradition, but are looking for a more eco-friendly alternative, Playinchoc could be the one for you. They’re not cheap, but each window opens to reveal a plastic-free toy, creamy dairy-free chocolate, and a fun facts card. Then, once they’ve munched their way through the lot, the packaging opens up to create a beautiful play landscape for their new toys.

Price: from £27.50 for a 12-day calendar.

A virtual musical advent calendar from Street Theatre

Not keen on having more stuff in your home? This could the the answer. 25 songs in 25 days!

Enjoy one beautiful Christmas song every day from 1st to 25th December, delivered to your inbox to bring festive cheer. The Street Theatre 2021 musical Christmas advent calendar is the perfect gift for music lovers. Low on environmental impact, high on joy! 
Price: £20


Alternative advent calendars for adults

It’s no secret that the grown-ups like a little festive treat, too. Here are a few alternative advent calendars for adults to spread some joy without a toy in sight.

The Greener Beauty alternative advent calendar for beauty lovers

This eco advent calendar is for beauty lovers who deserve a treat. It comes with 26 natural beauty products. 24 of those are full-size, so you’ll be seriously stocking up on your beauty products before Christmas.

Everything inside is vegan, cruelty-free and plastic-free. 

Price: £154.95 for the 2021 calendar.

Wax melts alternative advent calendar from Mecoco

Scotland-based social enterprise Mecoco have made a plastic-free advent calendar full of wax melts,  a Christmas candle and a beautiful bottle of extra-long matches (who knew matches could be so pretty?!). 
Everything is made by Mecoco’s disabled and non-disabled colleagues and 100% of profits are reinvested towards their mission, which is to help as many people as possible to experience the workplace in their community should they wish to, regardless of their level of ability. They also welcome work experience students from local mainstream and additional support schools every week.


Delicious dairy-free Belgian chocolate advent calendar from Annie’s Treats

The grown-up alternative to the traditional chocolate advent calendar! This calendar consists of 25 Assorted Advent Chocolates (Orange Creams, Peppermint Creams, Strawberry Creams and Honeycomb), all foil-wrapped and packed in labelled paper bags. 

Price: £9 at time of publication

24 days of gifting by That Counts

Behind each box in the 24 Days of Gifting Advent Calendar is a gift from a UK-based, purpose-led small business. Some days you’ll be supporting the creators at That Counts (they donate a portion of their profits to two Impact Partners – Make Bank and Refugee Action, as well as championing other small businesses). On other days, you’ll be supporting another wonderful cause, such as children’s education projects across the globe. It’s never been easier to give back at Christmas!

Alternative advent calendar for dogs

We couldn’t leave our furry friends out of this roundup!

Reusable dog advent calendar from Collar Club

This advent calendar for dogs comes in 3 different designs and includes a bag of treats to fill it with. Then all you have to do is find somewhere high enough to hang it so your dog won’t raid the whole stash in one go!

Alternative advent calendars – your suggestions

We’d love to hear about your favourite alternative advent calendars. The best way to do this is to head to Instagram and tag us (@ailunacommunity) in a post by your favourite brands. We can’t wait to find more for our list!

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