Don’t Throw Out Your Advent Calendar Just Yet — Do This Instead

published Dec 19, 2023
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DIY advent calendar made of tags with small holiday decorations
Credit: BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy

‘Tis the season of festive decorations, holiday joy, parties, and gifts — and so much waste. All of the beautiful trees and perfect wrapping make the season magical, but what’s left at the end is bags upon bags of discarded paper, bows, and boxes. 

Most of those items will end up in the trash — unless you find a way to give them a holly jolly second life. There is garland to be packed away for next year, red and pink ornaments that will double as table decor in February, and bows to be reused as napkin rings at your next dinner party. Single-season Advent calendars full of beauty products, foods, craft supplies, and other tiny goodies might not be an obvious candidate for recycling. But with a little creativity, you can give them a second life. Here are three ways you can use those Advent calendars again in the holiday season and beyond.

Credit: Ashley Cramp

Make Ornaments

There’s a clever use for the little boxes that are left long after you’ve used all of the darling sample-size products in your beauty advent calendar.

“Beauty advent calendars are beautifully packaged, so why not reuse those pretty little boxes to make hanging tree gifts in preparation for next year?” says Ashley Cramp, content creator at the Lazy Daisy Jones Blog.

Credit: Ashley Cramp

Cramp took the boxes that her small products came in, and wrapped each in a simple newspaper wrap that is perfectly juxtaposed with the vibrant pom-poms she glued on top. She used the tiny gift boxes to decorate a mini tree with a whimsical touch.

Use the Box to Organize Small Items

A lot of single-season advent calendars have small boxes that you pull out of a larger box, each perfectly fit into the space like a puzzle. This provides a prime spot to organize small items, like makeup, office supplies, craft supplies, or anything else that would benefit from having a neatly organized home.

“In a world where sustainability matters, we discovered a clever way to repurpose an advent calendar box — as a makeup organizer,” explain the bloggers behind Beautyworkers, Rita and Joana.

You can mix and match the compartments by taking out some and leaving in others to create a space that’s customized to exactly what you need.

“This idea helped keep our makeup neatly organized in different compartments, making it easier to see what we have,” Rita and Joana add. “It was also a relaxing experience that allowed me to declutter and throw away unused or expired products.”

Credit: Fall for DIY

Wrap Gifts

While the earlier idea wrapped the small boxes to create faux gifts, Francesca Stone of Fall for DIY suggests actually using your advent calendar to wrap gifts. She used the boxes from her Advent calendar, which had larger items within it, and repurposed them thanks to their striking winter floral design (no wrapping paper needed!).

Credit: Fall for DIY

But Stone did take it up a notch by dressing up the boxes with sumptuous velvet ribbon, a wax seal, and fresh greenery and flowers. The result is beautifully wrapped gifts that are ready just in time for the holidays — no tape or careful cutting needed.