Christmas is literally right around the corner and to help you get ready, we’ve prepared these advent calendar activities. At Ever Change Productions, we try to live a life of simplicity. This enables us to live a less stressful life and produce good things in the world rather than being consumed by all the stuff during the holidays. These advent calendar ideas reflect our joy of helping our fellow humans, and the Earth along the way. Join us with these eco-friendly advent calendar activities and give back.
Leave a comment and let us know your favorite and check out our advent calendar tutorial below!
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25 Eco-Friendly Advent Calendar Activities Printable
In your printable packet, you’ll find a calendar, a printable list of activities for your paper rolls, and tags to label the toilet paper rolls for each day. You can download Eco-Friendly Advent Calendar Tags and Activities here. See the pictures below.
Here are examples of the eco-friendly advent calendar activities you’ll find in the packet!
Day One – Start a Reverse Advent Calendar
Starting December 1, collect an item every day to donate to a shelter, thrift store or some other non-profit where it’s needed. On December 24th, take the basket of items to it’s designation.
Learn more about how to make an reverse advent calendar.
Day Two – Start Meal Prepping
This day will look different for different people, but meal prep is helpful when it comes to the business of the holidays. Some people have more events than others, some people should have started meal prepping back in October. However, in the name of stress-free holidays, meal preparation ahead of time is important. If nothing else, plan your holiday meals today and your holidays will much smoother. Start making what you can now, such as rolls and desserts. For more ideas on meal planning, check out this blog post.
Day Three – Keep Produce Scraps from Your Holiday Meal Prep
If learning how to compost is on your New Year’s Resolution list, get a jump start! Learn how to compost in any kind of space, including composting in apartments! There is a lot of food waste, especially around the holidays, so it’s a great time to get started.
If composting isn’t up your alley, try keeping the vegetables scraps and bones to make vegetable stock or bone broth. You can keep all the scraps in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. You’re house will smell a-ma-zing!
You can also use leftover meat for turkey pot pie or sandwiches.
Day Four – Buy Something that Supports the Local Economy
Check out this list of awesome handmade gift ideas and ways to support local businesses and local farmers.
Day Five – Make Cards
You can use the cards you got last year, cut the backs off and send them as post cards. They’re cheaper to mail and you can save money and waste.
Day Six – Reconsider Your Christmas Tree
Did you know a toilet cleaner brush manufacturer invented the first plastic Christmas tree? The Addis Brush Company, created an artificial tree from brush bristles in the 1930s, acting as the prototype for modern artificial trees. How crazy is that?
That being said, we’ve had our plastic tree from before our more hardcore sustainable lifestyle. We’ve had this one for about ten years and the one before that we had until it was too broken up to use. When we need to replace the tree, we’ll be rethinking our choices since we’ve learned the following:
Despite their PVC contents, artificial trees are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, meaning they will sit in a landfill for centuries after disposal.
Furthermore, approximately 85 percent of artificial trees sold in the U.S. are imported from China, according to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), adding to their overall environmental footprint.
Real Trees have a smaller footprint. Christmas tree farmers tend to take better care of their land, so they can keep producing trees for years to come. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere AND they are recyclable. Real trees are clearly the winner here.
If you really want to get technical, you can purchase a living, potted tree and plant the tree once the holiday festivities are over. If you don’t have the land for replanting, your local parks department will likely accept your tree for planting after the holidays.
Day Seven – Decorate Mason Jars
I’ve discovered a marbeling effect when you dip glass into a pool of spray paint in a tub of water. I wanted to do it with the mason jars to get them ready for gifts. In the past, I painted them with One-Step Paint chalk-based paint then sanded the words for the distressed Mason jar look.
Day Eight – Make Mason Jar Mixes
This gift is great for making in bulk and it’s extremely low waste. Often during the holidays, people are gifted with more treats than they can eat. Mason Jar Mixes are great because people can eat them when they’re ready. Check out these ten awesome mason jar mixes for some great ideas.
Day Nine – Make Ornaments for a Stranger.
I know. I know. The holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love. I think my favorite holiday memories are spreading the love around.
For these advent calendar activities, you just need some paper bags from the store or the brown paper you get in shipped packages, ribbon, holiday decorations and a hole punch.
Check out the Stocking Ornament DIY here. If you want a little extra something, put a candy or two in the stocking and note to wish someone a Merry Christmas.
Day Ten – Make Puzzles with a Scroll Saw
Puzzles are a great gifts for any occasion. Learn how to make puzzles with a scroll saw.
If this is too outside your comfort zone, check out the ultimate gift list for infants, and preschoolers. Early age experiences develop skills used later in life. Christmas and Birthdays are opportunities to help children learn and grow into knowledgeable adults.
Day Eleven – Make Garland
There are tons of garland ideas all over the internet. You can use repurposed materials such as paper bags or packing materials to make gingerbread men or stockings. You can use sweaters, book pages, and even corks to make garland.
Another idea is to use materials that could later be repurposed, such as feeding popcorn and cranberry garland to birds.
Day Twelve – Make Ornaments with Repurposed Materials
There are so many options for repurposed ornaments. My favorite is to paint light bulbs with craft paint to look like penguins and snow men. Then I take scrap fabric or other little decorations I have to decorate them for the holiday.
I also love the hand-dipped marbled effect you get when dipping something in water and spray lacquer. The unique patterns you get are just so cool and it doesn’t take long before you’ve got a whole pile of decorations or gifts for your Christmas list. Find out more about our technique for hand-dipped ornaments.
Day Thirteen – Make Wine Bottle Candle holders
For Halloween I found these marbled wine bottle candles with black spray lacquer, but candles are a great decoration for Christmas as well. Take the tutorial I found, and mix it up using Brisson Red, Easton Green or your favorite Christmas High Performance Spray Lacquer colors.
Day Fourteen – Adopt a Solider
Although there was a holiday option back in November, there are several options still available to support our soldiers all year round.
You can now choose two different ways to support the deployed troops through Adopt A US Soldier. You can adopt an individual military troop member and support him or her through sending weekly letters/cards, and optional care packages for the length of their deployment, OR you can sign up for Project Frontlines for a one-time or short-term support only.
Day Fifteen – Make A Christmas Decoration with Natural Materials
Go on a hiking trip, to the park or simply step outside. Enjoy nature and pick up some supplies along the way to make a Christmas decoration or two for your home.
Day Sixteen – Leave a Gift in a Public Space.
Whether it’s your favorite book, game or just a note, leave it in a public space for a stranger to find. Bonus points for sustainable or handmade gifts! Public spaces include the subway, a laundry mat, a park bench or some other place you go.
Day Seventeen – Find Alternative Gift Wrapping
Did you know you can make your own gift wrap or gift bags?! In the past we’ve used kraft paper or newspaper, decorated with stencils and some paint and they’ve turned out so cute! The best part is it takes no more time than wrapping with regular wrapping paper.
If you want to step it up you can make your own gift bags. Newspaper, craft paper, paper bags from the store, or wrapping paper are all options for making your own gift bags.
Gift bags are perfect for those awkwardly shaped gifts that don’t wrap well. Check out these other eco-friendly gift wrap alternatives.
Day Eighteen – Gift an Experience
Ask almost any minimalist, zero waste enthusiast or environmentalist and they’ll tell you experiences are nearly always better than physical gifts. You can cut down waste in both production and consumption with experience gifts.
Experiences include simple things such as a trip to a salon or spa, movies, a vacation or cruise, an art class or something outside the box like indoor surfing, parachuting, etc.
Day Nineteen – Make Gift Wrap Bows
It’s time to finish up those gifts!
Making gift wrap bows is a great way to reuse materials and give your gifts a personal touch. You can use newspapers, used wrapping paper from prior years, paper bags, you name it.
Check out the gift wrap bow tutorial here.
Day Twenty – Rest
Day Twenty-One – Tip Big
Leaving a tip for your servers is important no matter the time of year. But money can be tight around the holidays, especially for those in the service industry. If you go out to eat during the holidays, make sure to leave a tip to make your server do a double take and make their day!
Day Twenty-Two – Do Something Kind for a Neighbor
This can be anything from clearing off the snow from their driveway or side walk, bringing their dumpster to the curb, cooking a meal for them, etc. Reach out to your neighbor, do something kind and get to know them a little better. There’s nothing better than having a friend right next door!
Day Twenty-Three – Reach Out
During the holidays, we get wrapped up in the events of the holiday. If you’re going to or hosting any kind of event, make sure you reach out to someone new to invite. Single people, elderly people especially have a hard time during the holidays, so reach out to make sure they know they’re not alone.
Day Twenty-Four – Donate the Reverse Advent Collection
Donate the items you collected during the reverse advent project.
DIY Advent Calendar Tutorial
- 25 Toilet paper rolls
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Eco-Friendly Advent Calendar Activities and Labels
- Paper Clips
Step One – Gather Materials
For this tutorial, you’ll need 25 toilet paper rolls and assorted ribbons or other decorations. As I started this project, I started feeling guilty for using so much ribbon, so I decided to use some plarn (plastic yarn) to add a little extra color, but also use as an additional repurposed touch. You can see how it looks on number 8 and 9 in the picture above. Not too shabby right? Learn how to make plarn here.
You’ll also need a hot glue gun and the advent calendar activities printables listed above.
Step Two – Cut out Tags and Activities
Cut along the lines or as desired of the printables. You’ll have 24 tags, leaving the 25th unlabeled. You’ll also have 25 activities to separate to fill each paper roll.
Step Three – Decorate the Paper Rolls
Glue down the top of each paper roll, then fill it with one of the eco-friendly advent calendar activities. Close the bottom of the paper roll.
Decorate the paper rolls however you wish. I loved the idea of making them look like packages, so most of mine had bows. Other decoration ideas include plarn, ribbon, twine, yarn or other natural materials you might have around your home.
Step Four – Add a Hanger
Once you’ve decorated your advent calendar activities, add a paper clip or some other hanger. I attached my hangers on the top portion of the ribbon.
Step Five – Display Them!
I screwed together 6 sticks and used green yarn linking the branches and giving the hooks something to hang on for a simple display, but you can display yours however you wish.
And now you’re ready to start your eco-friendly advent calendar activities! Let me know in the comments what you thought and which one was your family’s favorite!
Don’t forget to pin these eco-friendly advent calendar activities for later!