Christmas is my favorite time of the year. So many beautiful traditions, amazing vegan food, and memorable family get-togethers. Those of you who are Christmas obsessed (like me!) might be familiar with the tradition of the advent calendar. If you’re not then you might be about to adopt it and embrace it every year to come! But…where can you find (or how can you make) vegan advent calendars?
What is an Advent Calendar and Where Does It Originate From?
The advent calendar is an opportunity to celebrate the exciting countdown to the holiday by bringing even more festivity throughout the month of December.
This tradition goes all the way back tot he 19th century! German protestants used to mark their doors with chalk counting the days until Christmas and slowly this tradition morphed into what it is today. Like many other customs, it started spreading to other countries and it became a ritual even for those who are not religious.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the advent calendar read this super informative article.
How Does The Advent Calendar Work?
So we now know that the purpose of the calendar is to count the days leading up to Christmas, right? Well, it gets better! Every day from December 1st until December 24th you get to a mini-surprise present or treat to commemorate each day until Christmas Eve. So fun!
So, How Do I Start This Awesome Tradition?
There are many options to choose from! You can buy pre-made vegan advent calendars that are already filled with surprises, or you can make your own.
If you’re short on time and don’t want to add more hustle to your (already crazy) Christmas prep schedule, you can choose a store-bought vegan advent calendar. There are so many options out there these days. Here are just a few:
- Moo-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Advent Calendar (Super cute for kids since the chocolate tastes like milk chocolate and not too dark.)
- Divine Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar (Great for the adult members of the family who are crazy for daily treats and look forward to Christmas morning as much as they did when they were kids. They are very inexpensive (less than $10) and you can often find these at Cost Plus World Market in the US.)
- Pukka Tea Holiday Selection Calendar (For all the tea lovers out there! A great way to try a new infusion every day.)
- Melissa & Dough Countdown to Christmas Wooden Calendar (Perfect if you want to shift the focus from treats and sugar to didactic and learning.)
- Lush Advent Calendar (This one is pricey! But if you’re feeling like a splurge, a generous gift for someone who needs to “treat themselves” more, or a fun way to get6 month worth of beauty products, then check it out!)
Make Your Own Vegan Advent Calendar
Another option is to buy an empty reusable advent calendar and customize it yourself! Some examples of gorgeous advent calendars you can purchase (or make yourself) and reuse for years to come include:
Advent Calendars With Little Drawers
These are usually made out of wood and they are beyond beautiful! A bit like something taken out of a winter wonderland. There are 24 mini drawers where you can place your little treat or mini-gift. These can be a bit pricier but they will certainly last for years to come. This one is especially gorgeous! Or this other one which is handmade and full of color!
(PHOTO FROM ETSY, find this calendar here!)
Advent Calendars With Pockets
These are simple and easy! It’s usually a rectangle made of fabric with 24 pockets on one side. You can hang it on the wall or from a bedroom door. This could a super fun project for those of you who are crafty (find great DYI ideas here!)
(PHOTO FROM AMAZON, find this calendar here!)
Advent Calendars Made With Hanging Bags
A row of hanging single bags is also a great idea! Each bag with its number from 1 to 24 and each with a lovely surprise treat. These kinds of calendars can also be easily made at home with a few simple materials.
(PHOTO BY DANNIELLE OCCHIOGROSSO)
Fill Them Up!
Now onto the fun part! Filling the calendars with some yummy or special vegan surprises. Advent calendars are most often filled with chocolate or candy, which is certainly possible to make vegan. But you can get so much more creative than that!
What I love the most about advent calendars is the simplicity of the gifts. You could get anything from a mandarin to a vegan keychain, a vegan chocolate coin or a note with a love message (my personal favorite).
Getting the idea? Let’s get to the specifics.
Vegan Advent Calendar Fillings:
- Vegan Chocolate, Vegan Candy, Snacks, Tea, or Cookies: We love buying a variety of vegan treats like dairy-free chocolate coins, vegan marshmallows or some ginger biscuits and placing them in a few of the days. No need to give candy or chocolate every day!
- Small Vegan Gifts (extra points if they’re sustainable too): Anything from bamboo straws, to vegan nail polish or vegan lip balm, to special rocks or crystals, to fun stickers!
- Sweet or Inspirational Notes: There’s no need to spend lots of money on your advent calendar. Sweet, simple notes to remind your loved ones how special they are or with words of inspiration can be the most meaningful surprises of all! I love taking advantage of every special occasion to write a letter about how proud I am of my kids and how they give my life meaning. They can keep those letters and compare them year after year as they grow an amazing collection of love.
- Seasonal Activities & Experiences: Write the activity you’ll do that day on a card and pop it in the calendar. So what could it be? Anything from watching a Christmas movie to building snowmen. So many cozy and enjoyable choices—check out some of our favorites below!
Advent Calendar Activity Ideas:
- Enjoy some plant-based hot cocoa.
- Watch a Christmas movie while munching on some vegan popcorn (did someone say Love Actually?).
- Go ice skating or sledding.
- Bake Christmas cookies and decorate them together.
- Cook something special for dinner together (perhaps try a new recipe from your favorite cookbook).
- Go to a Christmas concert (look into your local churches or town halls—they have so many free events with beautiful Christmas music to enjoy).
- Head out as a family to pick a Christmas tree!
- Decorate the tree with ornaments and lights.
- Build a snowman.
- Write a card to someone special.
- Light a fire in the fireplace, cozy up with a good book, and read.
- Shop for a gift to donate to a family in need.
- Make a donation to an animal sanctuary or favorite charity.
- Go on a neighborhood walk and look at all the Christmas lights.
The options are endless and this can help inspire you to make more unforgettable memories than you would have otherwise. That’s what life’s all about, isn’t it?
We hope this guide gives you some great vegan advent calendar ideas to use this holiday season. Happy holidays from all of us at World of Vegan!
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