Life & Style, Special Occasions

The Best Reusable Advent Calendars For All Budgets

Give single-use the shove this Christmas, starting with this guide to the best eco-friendly and reusable advent calendars. These refillable calendars will delight kids (and even grown-ups) for years to come.

About six years ago I decided to give single-use advent calendars the cold shoulder. After reading some scary facts about the excess waste generated at Christmas, I decided I wanted to lessen my family’s impact over the festive season.

One of the first things I did was to invest in a reusable advent calendar. As well as being friendlier for the planet than single-use advent calendars, can I just tell you how much joy it brings? Reader, it brings my kids so much joy. The whole process of looking in the pocket each morning in December to see what’s there is so exciting for them. More so than with a standard shop-bought chocolate advent calendar.

And do you know what else? It brings me so much joy. Yes, me! I find it so exciting picking out what items are going to go in the calendar. From little chocolates to notes of fun family activities to do, to the occasional treat – I find the whole process of putting it together one of the Christmas activities that I look forward to the most.

Guide to The Best Eco-Friendly and Reusable Advent Calendars

Image showing a Nordic style selection of wooden numbered houses, with a blue text box that says guide to the best reusable advent calendars.

If you are looking to make an eco-friendly switch, then let me share my favourite reusable advent calendars at a variety of different price points. And at the bottom of this post, I’ll also share some ideas of what to pop in the pockets of your reusable advent calendar, in case you are looking for any inspiration.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Under £10

hessian stockings

Coming in at a budget-friendly £8.33 is this cute hessian reusable advent calendar*, available on Etsy. With this set comprising of 24 stockings, pegs, and 3 metres of string, you’re all set to begin the countdown to Christmas in a budget-friendly and sustainable style. Simply hang it up on your wall or mantlepiece, and slip a little sweet treat into each mini stocking.

Under £25

white felt advent calendar with pockets

This reusable advent calendar* (£22) features a hanging felt house with 25 pockets in varying shapes. Each pocket is embroidered with a number in gold, ready to be filled with tiny treats to enjoy during the countdown to Christmas.

Under £50

reusable advent calendar from Etsy

This personalised reusable advent calendar* (from £49.99) is available in two different sizes, depending on how large you want the pockets to be. This one pictured is the large size. And for an extra sweet touch, this calendar can be personalised with any name, siblings’ names, or just a surname. Your kids will love waking up to this calendar every day!


reusable bunting advent calendar

This pretty bunting style reusable advent calendar* (£32) features 24 numbered flags with pockets to add a little treat each day in the lead-up to Christmas. The calendar is made from natural coloured calico with Christmas patterned pockets, available in different designs. The pockets are the perfect size for chocolate coins or other small treats.

The bunting is approx 2 metres in length, plus there’s enough extra ribbon on each end for hanging. However, if space is an issue, you can buy two shorter lengths of 12 flags each.


Wooden house advent calendar

This adorable wooden house advent calendar* (£33) is one of these reusable advent calendars that will be cherished for years to come. Simply fill the hollow centre of each house, with a sweet treat, to count down the days to Christmas in style.

As well as the 24 houses, you also receive the stand. In addition, there are four decorative green wooden trees and two wooden reindeer for an extra sweet touch.


The Reusable Advent Calendar With A Difference Under £50

build a Christmas village kit

For reusable advent calendars with a difference, try this wooden Christmas Village advent calendar* (from £46). Instead of finding chocolates behind each door, open the suitcase to reveal numbered trays featuring beautifully crafted decorative wooden festive pieces. Day by day you’ll create a charming Christmas North Pole village scene. Here you’ll find Santa and his elves, reindeer, a snowman, a sledge full of gifts, and a beautiful Christmas tree.

After Christmas, the pieces can then be popped back in the suitcase and reused again the following year.

Under £60

Scandi style advent calendar

This Scandi style reusable advent calendar* (£55) has been quilted by hand and is decorated with various Christmas-themed illustrations. This is one advent calendar you’ll be excited to pull out year after year.

Do note that this wall hanging has three loops at the top for you to add your own wooden pole for hanging. Pick this up at any DIY store.


pom pom numbered bag kit

If you’d rather make your own reusable advent calendar, then try this pom pom advent calendar craft kit (£54)! First choose your pom pom colours (neon, pastel, or natural). Next, iron on the wool-blend felt numbers before sewing on the yarn pom poms. Then you are all set to fill the 100% cotton drawstring bags with treats!


Finally, this reusable advent calendar box* (£59) is another unique way to count down the days until Christmas. Featuring optional personalisation, The wooden box is individually made, hand-sanded, and personalised in the UK.

The box has 25 sections for you to fill with your own treats or gifts. You can choose to add 25 linen bags to the product for an additional £15, or you can simply wrap your 25 little parcels yourself.

What to Fill Your Reusable Advent Calendars With?

You might be wondering what to fill your reusable advent calendar with?

I do mostly stick to chocolate. It’s cheap and easy, and it’s easy to find plastic-free chocolates. I go for foil-wrapped small chocolates, which are easy to find at Christmas time in any shop.

Some days I like to mix things up, and instead add a note about an activity to do that day. I find this helps to shift the emphasis away from stuff towards experiences at this often consumer frenzied time of year. For example, the day’s note might say things like:

I try to put these in the reusable advent calendar pockets on days when I know that I will have time to do the activity, or would correspond with when we plan to do a particular activity. Some evenings I have to admit that I have reorganised the order of notes to fit a change in our plans!

For more ways to green your Christmas, do check out my ultimate guide on how to have an eco-friendly Christmas. I have tons of ideas in there, taken from almost a decade’s worth of writing here on Moral Fibres. From the most eco-friendly Christmas tree to zero-waste decorations you can make, to gift ideas as well as Christmas dinner ideas, it is all there!

Life & Style, Special Occasions

Secondhand Gift Ideas To Help Find the Perfect Gift

Let me share with you my favourite secondhand gift ideas to help you find the perfect sustainable gift.

While I recently shared my eco-friendly gift ideas post, something I wanted to chat about today are secondhand gift ideas.

Compared to buying new, shopping secondhand is an even more sustainable way to treat our loved ones at Christmas, or for birthdays or other special occasions. And it can be gentler on our bank balance too. Yet there is often a stigma around secondhand gifts, that prevents more people from giving secondhand.

When it comes to secondhand gift ideas, there is often a stigma attached. However, there is a huge difference between a bobbly, misshapen jumper, or dog-eared book, compared to a well thought out piece that’s perfect for your recipient. It’s important to remind ourselves that secondhand does not mean second-best. There are a wealth of ideas of secondhand gift ideas for everyone, that would be a delight to receive.

I’ve set out some of my five favourite secondhand gift ideas. I’ve also shared ideas on where to shop for them. In most cases, I’d recommend starting your search online, in order to gather inspiration.

Your search might take you minutes, to a few days or a few weeks. However secondhand websites are usually updated frequently, so the right gift is bound to appear. With both patience and persistence, you’ll find the perfect gift within your budget, that’s meaningful for your loved one.

secondhand gifts ideas for christmas and birthdays

My Top Five Secondhand Ideas for Sustainable Gift Giving

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Vintage Vinyl

Secondhand gift ideas that work especially well are gifts that people expect to be old. One of these is vinyl.

Vinyl records are enjoying a revival right now, with, in 2019, vinyl outselling CDs for the first time in forty years. If your loved one is into vinyl, then a vintage record from one of their favourite artists would make a great secondhand gift idea. You may have to ask some prying questions first to discover what gaps they have in their collection, but it’s worth it to avoid buying something they already own.

Once you’ve worked out what record they would love, it’s time to get searching. Online eBay, Oxfam Online, and Discogs are great places to look for secondhand vinyl. Check out my eBay buying tips if shopping there. Locally, you might have a secondhand record shop near you. Alternatively, Oxfam has six dedicated bricks and mortar music shops across Scotland and England that are a joy to browse in.

Vintage Jewellery

I always think there is something really special about vintage jewellery. I think it’s the idea that the piece has had a whole life of hidden stories with someone else. For that reason, I think it makes for one of those really great secondhand gift ideas.

Vintage jewellery is another thing that people expect to be old. And the great news is there is a ton of choice out there. From ostentatious costume jewellery, to elegant and refined vintage pieces, you name it, and I guarantee you can find it.

Etsy and eBay are good places to look online, as is Oxfam Online. Charity shops and antique shops are also a delight to browse for vintage jewellery. And if you have a specific piece in mind the shop may be able to call you if something comes in matching your description.

Toys

I’ve been buying my kids’ secondhand toys for their Christmas and birthdays since they were little, like in this post. Although that two-year-old is now almost a nine-year-old…!

We look for things that are in good condition. To make it special for the big day, we give the toys a wipe down and wrap them up prettily in a box with a bow on top.

Toys that we have found that work well secondhand include things like Lego and Duplo, as well as wooden toys. We’ve also had success with dolls (less so Barbie dolls, because their hair and costumes don’t always stand up to kids play), bikes, and games. Just check all the pieces are there first.

Charity shops, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree are all great places to look. I’m having the most success with Facebook Marketplace at the moment – prices are reasonable and many sellers are open to negotiating on price.

Vintage Homeware

I’m not a person that buys a lot of clothes. Instead, my Achilles heel is vintage homeware. I cannot walk past a charity shop without having to go in to look at their homeware section. There’s not an antique store I don’t love. Right now the secondhand holy grail for me are these beauties* and vintage mirrors.

If this sounds like your loved one, then a piece of vintage homeware is a great choice, as long as you are certain what style and which era they are into.

If you are pressed for time, then I find Etsy the best place to look online for vintage homewares. Both eBay and Facebook Marketplace can be a bit hit or miss, however, there are bargains to be had in both places if you get lucky. Charity shops and antique shops can be enjoyable to browse, but there are no guarantees you’ll find what you are looking for.

Unused and Unboxed Items

It’s a sad fact that people get given gifts that they don’t necessarily want. In the UK, British people receive over £2bn-worth of unwanted gifts, many of which are never opened, and donated to charity or sold on. An eye-watering figure if ever there was one.

Gifts are unwanted for a number of reasons. It could be the wrong size or style, or just not to their taste. It could be a duplicate of something they already have. Just because it’s unwanted, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. Indeed, someone’s unwanted gift could be another person’s treasure, so it is worth keeping an eye out in case it’s the perfect thing for your loved one.

Charity shops and Facebook Marketplace are good places to look for unused and unboxed items – just check the box hasn’t been torn or ripped. eBay and Depop are good for clothes that still have their tags on them but haven’t been worn. Here are my top places to shop for secondhand clothes online.

What would you add to this secondhand gift ideas list? I’d love to hear!