Advent calendars 2020: the best eco friendly options to buy in the run-up to Christmas

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Whether you’re in the mood for chocolate, vegan beauty products, or something completely different, there’s an eco-friendly advent calendar to suit everyone. 

Updated on 20 October: Back when we were kids, advent calendars looked very different. Forget the luxury beauty and chocolate options: our parents tended to treat us to a simple illustrated calendar – with a festive illustration behind each door.

Indeed, some of us (this writer and Stylist’s Felicity Thistlethwaite included) would even re-use these same calendars year in, year out. Which was… 

Well, it was a very sustainable way to do the countdown to Christmas, quite frankly.

Nowadays, of course, you don’t have to choose between your eco-friendly credentials and your desire for a treat-packed advent calendar. Because, thanks to a recent surge of sustainable options, you can have your metaphorical cake and eat it, too.

Of course, it might feel a little early to be talking about all of this. After all, it’s only October. However, brands are already releasing details about their sustainable advent calendars for 2020 and opening waitlists – and we have a feeling that many are guaranteed to sell out, fast.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite eco-friendly advent calendars for 2020 (a list which we fully intend to keep adding to as and when more options are released).

All that’s left for you to do is scroll through and figure out a) which one tickles your fancy, and b) whether you’ll be buying it for yourself or someone else.

Happy shopping.

Thriving Box Co Advent Calendar 

Advent calendars 2020: the best eco friendly options
Thriving Box Co Advent Calendar

As reported on 9 September: Enticing you to have a very merry Christmas – after a not so jolly year – The Thriving Box Co is bringing out a very special advent calendar to keep you stocked on all things nice, whilst safe in the knowledge that each purchase has given a boost to shops in numerous cities across the UK.

“Having provided a critical lifeline for businesses across the country throughout the pandemic and continuing to do so in its aftermath, the Thriving Box Co. partners with only the best of the best local independents and places sizeable orders before creating these must-have calendars,” explains Holly Allen of Thriving Box Co.

“Not only do we want to support brands hit hardest following a global pandemic, but we want to remind people that there is still joy, fun, laughter and hope – even at the end of a disastrous year. 

“Each of the products in each of the calendars has been specifically chosen to incite memories of happier years – whether that be through the spicy taste of a gingerbread cake or the smell of a rich mulled wine. Christmas is a time to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy yourself; this box helps not only the customer, but also the brands, to do that.”

How much does the Thriving Box Co Advent Calendar cost?

The advent calendar retails at £125 but is worth £200.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It will be available to buy from the 16 November at Keep Edinburgh Thriving. However, you’ll have to be quick: there are just 50 available of this limited-edition advent calendar.

Love Cocoa Advent Calendar 

Love Cocoa advent calendar
Love Cocoa advent calendar

From William Shakespeare to the Spice Girls, this decadent advent calendar is a celebration of British icons – and it’s packed to the brim with a selection of mini chocolates and truffles, too, including our favourite Gin & Tonic Dark option.

Best of all, though, is the fact that this calendar – in line with all Love Cocoa products – has excellent eco-credentials. All the chocolate is sustainably sourced and made without palm oil, and the calendar itself is also completely plastic-free and 100% recyclable.

Throw in the fact that every purchase will see three trees planted in northern Cameroon, supporting Love Cocoa’s ‘Plant A Tree’ commitment to fight against deforestation, and you have an advent calendar that truly gives back. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

How much does the Love Cocoa Advent Calendar cost?

£20.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It will be available to buy via Ocado and Love Cocoa from mid-September.

Kindred Fires Advent Calendar

Kindred Fires' advent calendar candle
Kindred Fires' advent calendar candle

Fancy something a little different? Kindred Fires’ soy candles are cruelty-free, with hand-poured designs crafted in Manchester – and they’ve given the traditional calendar a stylish twist.

All you have to do is light their advent candle for one hour each day and cross off the number on the label whilst the beautiful festive scent of orange and cinnamon will fill your home. With a 25 hour burn time, this candle will last until Christmas day.  

Better still? That gorgeous glass pot is completely reusable once the candle has burnt.

How much does the Kindred Fires Advent Calendar cost?

£16.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It is available to buy (and personalise) now from the Kindred Fires website.

Whittard of Chelsea Advent Calendar

Whittard Of Chelsea's advent calendar
Whittard Of Chelsea's advent calendar

Tea lovers, rejoice, as Whittard Of Chelsea has just launched a showstopping keepsake Tea Advent Calendar, opulently dressed in art deco glamour. 

The advent calendar stars 94 individually wrapped teabags (four per day), spanning the company’s best-loved black, green and white teas and fruit and herbal infusions.

The box itself is beautiful and can be refilled each year or used a keepsake. And, you guessed it, all the teabags are compostable and all the wrappers are recyclable.

How much does the Whittard Of Chelsea Advent Calendar cost?

£60.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It is available to buy now via the Whittard Of Chelsea website.

Bonne Maman Advent Calendar

Bonne Maman advent calendar
Bonne Maman advent calendar

What better way to count down to Christmas than by slathering your crumpets in a different flavoured jam each morning?

Each door on Bonne Maman’s advent calendar opens to reveal a cute 30g glass mini jar of jam or marmalade, each of which offers a different and unusual fruit flavour combination not usually available in the UK. And, on Christmas Eve, you’ll receive a surprise festive treat, too!

Now the eco-friendly bit: the outer sleeve, the calendar itself and inner packaging are all made of recyclable cardboard, nothing is wrapped in plastic, and its delivery from the website also comes in a brown cardboard box.

The jars, meanwhile, are much sought-after and recycled through the home for many years. 

How much does the Bonne Maman Advent Calendar cost?

£23.99.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It will be available to buy via www.bonnemaman.co.uk from 1 October.

Lakrids Liquorice Advent Calendar

Lakrids Liquorice Advent Calendar,
Lakrids Liquorice Advent Calendar,

Discover moreish liquorice balls from Danish maker, Lakrids, with this luxurious advent calendar. Lakrids began life in 2007, when Johan Bülow made it his aim to blend liquorice with other ingredients, treating the sweet snack as a spice, and a way to enhance other flavours.

Expect to find both classic pairings and surprising flavour combinations behind each door, from coffee, caramel and cinnamon to sea buckthorn and wild blueberry (there are two pieces for each day, but sharing is optional!).

With regards to this calendar’s eco-friendly credentials, it’s worth noting that it boasts sustainable packaging. Indeed, the tray is made of bagasse – a pulpy, fibrous waste product which reduces the need for plastic, and makes it easier to recycle. And the liquorice itself is made using sustainable methods, too.

How much does the Lakrids Liquorice Advent Calendar cost?

£39.99.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

It will be available to buy later this autumn via www.souschef.co.uk.

Holland & Barrett Advent Calendar

Holland & Barrett Advent Calendar
Holland & Barrett Advent Calendar

Holland & Barrett’s sellout advent calendar is back, featuring beauty products from sustainable favourites such as UpCircle, Ethique, Weleda and Q&14.

The calendar boasts 14 full-sized and 11 sample-sized products – which if sold separately would retail for more than £170.

Better still? This calendar is not just suitable for the 1.1 million vegans in the UK: it promises to be an eco-friendly purchase, too, thanks to its 100% cardboard packaging.

And, to quote Joanne Cooke, beauty trading director at Holland & Barrett, every single product is “zero waste, recyclable, refillable, waterless, and palm-oil free”. Win.

How much does the Holland & Barrett Advent Calendar cost?

£40.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

The calendar will be available in-store and online from the 19 September, but you can get your hands on it first by signing up to the waiting list here.

PLAYin CHOC Advent Calendar

PLAYin CHOC advent calendar
PLAYin CHOC advent calendar

Looking every bit as pretty as a Pinterest board, PLAYin CHOC’s eco-friendly and sustainable advent calendar isn’t just good to look at.

Packed to the brim with organic vegan chocolate (all of which is slave-free, child labour-free and animal cruelty-free), it promises a delicious countdown to Christmas.

As if that weren’t tempting enough, the calendar is plastic-free, making it 100% recyclable and home compostable. And, on top of that, proceeds from the calendar goes towards five charities, including WWF and the Whitley Find For Nature.

How much does the PLAYin CHOC Advent Calendar cost?

£55.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

The calendar is available to buy now from John Lewis.

Livia’s Advent Calendar

Livia’s Advent Calendar
Livia’s Advent Calendar

Livia’s naturally indulgent advent calendar launches in October, and it promises to be a humdinger!

Filled with scrumptious Nugglets, Million Squares and Dunx, every door hides a plant-based treat, each of which has been crafted using natural ingredients.

Meanwhile, the calendar itself, and all the packaging used, is recyclable. 

How much does the Livia’s Advent Calendar cost?

£39.99.

When is it available and where can I buy it?

The calendar will be available from October via Selfridge’s and www.livias.co.uk.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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