Reverse advent calendar: The Christmas tradition that will teach children to give back
We are inching closer and closer to December, and for my family, as I am sure is the same case for yours, that means it is almost time to start opening the advent calendars.
It is a tradition with deep roots in my family, and following in my mum's footsteps, I always make advent calendars for my own children, filling 24 (times two) little presents with a mix of treats, fun little bits (bath bombs, Pokemon cards etc.) and practical things (new fluffy socks, underwear etc.).
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I gather the bits in the weeks leading up to December 1st, and on the evening of November 30th, when the children are in bed, I sit down and wrap all the little presents, before stacking them carefully into two wooden crates decorated with their names in glitter and a string of fairy lights. And voila – our advent calendars are done.
This year, as well as our regular calendars, we are also starting a brand new family tradition – a reverse advent calendar, and when you hear how it works, I am convinced you are all going to want to do the same:
What is a reverse advent calendar?
Reverse advent calendars, as the name suggests, work in reverse to a normal advent calendar, in that instead of taking something out of it every day, as you would your normal calendar, you put something in.
Every day, you will put in an item of food or clothing that, once you have filled your 'calendar' can then be taken to a food bank or charity in order to help those less fortunate that are struggling at Christmas time.
Isn't this such a beautiful idea?
What this means, is that come December 24th, you can take all the things you’ve saved to your local help scheme, homeless shelter, church, charity, etc. and know that you’ve given a Christmas present to someone that really needed it.
I think this is such a lovely tradition to start doing now that my own two children are old enough to understand the spirit of Christmas a little better. It is something we can do together, and something that will teach us all the importance of helping others and seeing the bigger picture at Christmas time.
What to put in your reverse advent calendar
Keep in mind that different charities are looking for different things and contributions, so it might be an idea to check with some of your local charities before starting your collection, such as for instance Aware, St. Vincent de Paul, Focus Ireland, as well as women's shelters and your local food bank or church, if they do a food drive or collect items in the run-up to Christmas.
Some ideas might be tinned foods, baby clothings, children's clothing, toys, nappies, crackers and biscuits, toiletries, Christmas sweets, hats, gloves and scarves etc.