Best Vegan Advent Calendars: Store Bought + Homemade

Create the ultimate Christmas countdown with a vegan advent calendar! Fill it with dairy-free holiday chocolates, small toys, love notes, or daily acts of kindness. Here are your best vegan options!
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Christmas is one of the most anticipated times of the year for many people all around the world. It’s a time for slowing down, continuing beautiful traditions, enjoying delicious food, and sharing memorable get-togethers with family, friends, and loved ones. If you are Christmas obsessed (like me!), you’re probably well versed in the tradition of the advent calendar. If you’re not—then you’re about to fall in love with this special season-enhancing tradition!

But…where can you find (or how can you make) a vegan advent calendar? 

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.

Psst…They’re Not Just For Christmas!

These festive calendars aren’t limited to Christmas—you can make your own version for Hanukkah or other fun events or seasons too. Here are a few countdown calendar ideas!

…the sky is the limit!

How Do Advent Calendars Work?

The purpose of the calendar is to count the days leading up to Christmas—and here’s how they work. Every day from December 1st until December 24th you (or your children) open a mini-surprise present or treat to commemorate each day until Christmas Eve (or any holiday you’re celebrating). 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.

DIY sustainable vegan advent calendar in paper envelopes.

Vegan Advent Calendars (Store-Bought)

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, and below you can explore a curated collection of our favorite vegan options.

Vegan Chocolate Advent Calendars

Woman holding up a Moo-Free advent calendar filled with vegan holiday chocolates.

Best Advent Calendars for Kids

  • National Geographic’s Gemstone Excavation Advent Calendar (This is one of our favorites! Each day is an excavation activity for kids with a special gemstone inside that they can keep forever, or give as gifts to friends.)
  • Lego Advent Calendar (Keep the kids busy all season long with this fun lego-style insect-building advent calendar! This is also a STEM toy because it has lots of benefits for kids inspiring them to get creative, problem-solve, and learn hand-eye coordination. You can also find versions featuring vehicles for car loving kids, and more.)
  • Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Calendar (Perfect reusable and more eco-friendly advent calendar if you want to shift the focus from treats and sugar to didactic and learning.)
  • Homemade advent calendar (see ideas below)

Best Advent Calendars for Teens

Advent Calendars for Adults

Make Your Own DIY Advent Calendar

Another option is to buy an empty reusable advent calendar and customize it yourself! Here are a few examples of gorgeous advent calendars you can purchase (or make yourself) and reuse for years to come.

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!

Guide To Vegan Advent Calendars: Store Bought & Homemade | World of Vegan | #christmas #calendar #holidays #vegan #conscious #eco #worldofvegan
Photo: Etsy

Pocket Advent Calendars

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.

Advent calendar with pockets to fill with toys or vegan chocolate for kids.

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. 

Rustic ladder with hanging bags you can fill with Christmas treats as a homemade advent calendar.

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 gingersnaps 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! Peruse our vegan gift guide for hundreds of ideas.

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 doing a coloring page 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 or documentary while munching on some vegan popcorn (did someone say Love Actually?).
  • Go ice skating or sledding.
  • Bake Christmas cookies and decorate them together with vegan royal icing and sprinkles.
  • 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. Consider making your own salt dough ornaments instead!
  • 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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  1. Andrea White says:

    Loved learning the backstory of these cool calendars. Thanks for such a detailed article!

  2. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    My kids love these 😀

  3. What awesome ideas for Advent Calendars! Our family favorite is usually a LEGO kit but, this year, I bought a book (Cat Family Christmas) which is an adorable picture book with over 140 flaps to lift. It’s super sweet and I’m really enjoying it! I might try the mini jams or the day-by-day watercolor calendar next year 😀

  4. Such a great and comprehensive guide on advent calendars … thank you!

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