Slowly but surely, even the last supermarket shelf is filling up with delicious Christmas cookies, Christmas markets are being set up and the seductive smell of roasted almonds and mulled wine is in the air. There are only a few weeks left until Christmas, but there is still so much to do - clean and decorate the apartment, get and wrap presents and you wanted to make an Advent calendar, too? Sit back for a moment and make yourself comfortable with a cup of tea, because in this blog post we show you what you can fill your Christmas calendar this year for your favorite people sustainably.
The trend of Do it yourself (DIY) Advent calendars
This year, DIY Advent calendars are especially trendy: from paper and fabric bags to large and small pouches, there are almost no limits to your creativity and passion for crafting. Once you've decided on an Advent calendar, it's time to plan how to fill it.
The current sustainability trend is also reflected in the selection of the Advent calendar as well as in the filling. Unfortunately, waste increases by 20-30% during the Christmas season (Merkur, 2020), which of course includes gift packaging and Christmas calendars. That's why we present you 24 sustainable ideas for your Advent calendar filling, which are not only good for the environment, but will also delight your gift recipients.
Not just something for children: most adults in Germany also like to eat sweets (Süddeutsche, 2020). Therefore, the Advent calendar filled with sweets is still the top 1 among the filling ideas. How about chocolate, for example? We recommend sustainable packaging, such as paper or recyclable plastic, instead of disposable packaging.
Door #1: Chocolate in sustainable packaging (Source)
Sustainable packaging also plays a major role for us. To help you get started in the big world of sustainable packaging options, check out our blog post "How to choose sustainable labels & packaging for your product".
In addition to sweets, people also like to give away homemade cookies and Christmas pastries, such as speculoos or gingerbread, during the Advent season. These alternatives to sweets are usually even less packaged and directly create Christmas spirit, not least because of their tempting scent. If you can't find the time to bake your own, you'll find a diverse selection at organic supermarkets, unpackaged stores, or Christmas markets.
Door #2: Pastries in your advent calendar (Source)
To give back to our planet, our idea #3 is to give flower bulbs and/or seeds as gifts. Growing your own flowers and vegetables not only protects the environment, but also has a positive impact on your health (National Geographic, 2021). So our recommendation is to check out your local hardware store or online for seed packets for Christmas plants and trees, such as spruce, or flower bulbs, such as lavender. Then the person receiving the gift can look forward to spring right away!
Door #3: Flower bulbs as advent calendar filling (Source)
Especially in the winter time, the skin tends to dry out quickly and needs a lot of care. Therefore, cosmetic products are always a suitable gift for both him and her. We particularly recommend massage oil or bath salts, for example, to give the skin and body a little time out.
Door #4: Massage oil as a gift idea for Christmas calendar (Source)
Door #5: Coffee as a filling idea
Mainly due to the past lockdowns and more time at home in the home office, coffee consumption among Germans has increased by 1.5% (Deutscher Kaffeeverband, 2021). This means that coffee as a gift is very popular with most Germans and makes a good filling for Advent calendars. Of course, it also depends on the variety, but fair coffee suppliers, such as Coffeecircle (unpaid advertising due to brand naming/recognition) not only offer aromatic coffee beans, but also invest in our climate and in globally sustainable coffee cultivation.
Door #5: Give coffee in Advent calendar (Source)
Food is generally well suited for your Advent calendar, as it can be consumed and thus bring joy twice: when unwrapping and when consuming. Honey in particular is a popular and natural alternative to refined sugar and can be purchased regionally: Whether at your favorite organic farm or in the regional produce section of the supermarket. Our tip: Look for the seal of the German beekeepers' association, which guarantees the quality of the honey and species-appropriate husbandry of the bees (Deutscher Imkerbund, n.d.).
Door #6: Honey as a filling idea (Source)
Not only your Advent calendar itself, but also its composition or filling can be DIY: How about DIY baking mixtures or mulled wine mixtures, for example? These do not always have to be put together yourself and can alternatively simply be bought in online supermarkets or locally in the health food store, such as the delicious mulled wine spice from Spicebar (unpaid advertising due to brand name/recognition).
Door #7: DIY spice blends as filling idea (Source)
There are now many disinfectants that, in addition to their disinfecting effect, smell very good and are free of chemical ingredients or synthetic dyes.
There are disinfectants that are infused with natural fragrances such as ginger or lavender. Our favorite is the disinfectant from LaBrise with silver fir and orange (unpaid advertising due to brand name/recognition).
Door #8: Disinfectant for your Advent calendar (Source)
During the winter and especially Christmas season, fairy lights and candles can be used to create a relaxing atmosphere - perfect for your Christmas calendar. Depending on your preference, there are scented candles, such as those from Müller Licht Pro Natur, which are made from natural ingredients and rely on packaging made from recycled materials (unpaid advertising due to brand name/recognition).
Door #9: Special candles and scented candles as a gift (Source)
Do you offer candles yourself and need help designing your labels? Our label configurator will guide you through the ordering process in just a few steps.
Most of us have our Christmas decorations in the basement or attic and can't wait to finally unpack them. Fancy Christmas tree baubles as a small gift in the Advent calendar are ideal to increase this anticipation even more. Glass baubles in particular are always a little highlight.
Door #10: Christmas tree balls as filling in the Advent calendar (Source)
Homemade cookies are always time-consuming and require some practice and a lot of patience. So why not just use a traditional, fail-safe recipe from your parents or grandparents as a gift for your Advent calendar instead? We swear by our grandmothers' vanilla crescent recipe.
Door #11: Give away tried and true cookie recipes (Source)
Even if you don't find much time for cookie baking yourself, in addition to the recipe (door #11), you can give a gift voucher to bake cookies together. This makes baking a nice event and turns the stress of baking cookies into a shared event.
Door #12: Voucher to bake cookies together (Source)
Speaking of cookies: Not everyone has cookie cutters on hand, so as an extension of Door #12 (gift certificate for baking cookies together) and Door #11 (cookie recipe), it makes sense to give a cookie cutter as a gift to round out this idea. Again, there are sustainable alternatives, such as recycled plastic or stainless steel cookie cutters.
Door #13: Cookie cutters as a gift in your Advent calendar (Source)
In line with Door #5 (giving away coffee), we have the following tip: Why not give away a cup or coffee mug that matches the coffee? There are many eco-friendly containers that are made of glass, recycled plastic or paper, for example. One example is the thermal mug from Circular and Co, which is made from recycled disposable paper cups (unpaid advertising due to brand naming/recognition).
Door #14: Coffee cup as Advent calendar filling (Source)
The trend of colored socks is now widespread and offers especially in the winter time a suitable product to fill the Christmas calendar. It does not necessarily have to be socks with Christmas motif, but can generally be something fancy, such as our current and sustainable favorite: The "La Dolce Vulva" socks from MSTRY Berlin (unpaid advertising due to brand name / recognition).
Door #15: Give away (Christmas) socks for Advent (Source)
Are you a designer yourself and create your own garments and need advice on sustainable packaging options? Then take a look at our online store.
Door #16: Homemade Christmas treats
Besides cookies and pastries, you're always happy to get little treats like applesauce or even alcoholic drinks like eggnog or mulled wine. Are you still missing some inspiration? Then we can recommend you the eggnog recipe from Küchengötter (unpaid advertising due to brand name/recognition).
Door #16: Wrap and give homemade Christmas treats (Source)
Don't you just love the delicious smell of roasted almonds at Christmas markets? You can create exactly the same feeling with homemade almonds and give a little joy to your employees or other important people in your life. You think that the production of roasted almonds is very time-consuming? We can reassure you: It only takes 30 minutes to prepare and it's definitely worth the effort. We recommend the recipe "Roasted almonds" from einfach backen (unpaid advertising due to brand name recognition).
Door #17: Homemade almonds as a gift (Source)
This gift idea for your Advent calendar filling requires a little more creativity: just do some soul-searching and think about what your favorite products are. Do you have a favorite shampoo or drink that you can't live without? That creates a personal bond.
Door #18: Your favorite product as filling in your Advent calendar (Source)
Who knows it: You plan to read more this year, but unfortunately you do not manage the planned 2 books that have been lying on the bookshelf for some time and collect dust unread. How would it be then with it to give away books, which one would like to read perhaps no more or which one already read and from heart to recommend can? It doesn't always have to be purchased gifts in the Advent calendar, because re-gifting and sharing is also a lot of fun.
Door #19: Give away books you have read or new ones (Source)
Some appointments are simply easier to remember if you have them written down by hand. Even though more and more people are switching to online notebooks or calendars, a physical notebook is a special gift that is becoming a rarity. 18HOCH2, for example, offers sustainable notebooks made from old coffee mugs (unpaid advertisement due to trademark attribution/recognition).
Door #20: Give away notebook for the next year (Source)
The good old card game used to bring people together and fill evenings with lots of joy. A small card game can therefore revive old memories and is very suitable for the Advent calendar filling. Depending on your taste, you can choose either the familiar playing cards made of paper and cardboard or playing cards made of recycled material.
Door #21: Playing cards in Advent calendar (Source)
A slightly less known and special idea for your advent calendar filling is the oat milk powder from BlueFarm. Unlike cartons of milk or cases of water, this product is light and easy to transport and doesn't require lugging up the stairs. Do you know someone who likes to drink oat milk and wants to try something new? Then this oat milk powder could be the right choice. Here's the link to the online store (unpaid advertising due to brand recognition).
Although most people already have a good supply of winter essentials, winter clothing items and accessories, such as hats, gloves or scarves can be a nice gift idea, as they keep you cozy and warm while strolling through the Christmas market. Here, too, there are sustainable alternatives, such as the hat from Nikin (unpaid advertising due to brand naming/recognition), a brand that relies on recyclable materials and plants a tree for every hat sold.
Door #23: Sustainable hats in the Advent calendar(Source)
In general, the doors should have a personal touch - and what could be more appropriate on December 24 than a self-written letter or a small personal gift chosen with care?
Door #24: A personal letter as a gift (Source)
A self-filled Advent calendar is something very special. It sweetens the pre-Christmas period for the person receiving the gift - so the 24 days until Christmas are guaranteed to pass even faster. To increase the anticipation of Christmas, we have presented 24 great ideas for your personal Christmas calendar filling and are happy if you can take one or the other inspiration from it.
Your Palamo Team wishes you a Merry Christmas <3