Do something different this Advent

Thursday 29th November 2018

This weekend Advent is upon us and in homes across the country, cardboard doors will be opened in the traditional countdown to Christmas.

Recent trends have seen Advent Calendars move towards luxury brands offering treats like miniature gin bottles and make up, some costing in excess of £150. This is a long way from the pictures of sheep behind cardboard doors that many of us will remember from our youth.

The idea of Advent Calendars date back to 19th Century Germany where chalk marks were made on doors between the 1st December and 24th December. This allowed people to physically mark the ‘coming toward’ of Christmas as they prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ.

This idea of preparation and waiting has been lost in many of the Advent Calendars available today. Children (and adults) no longer use the calendars as a countdown to Christmas but are instead rewarded with a gift each day.

But just as some look to luxury, others are choosing to reverse things this Advent – with a calendar which gives back. You may have heard this described as a reverse Advent Calendar. The idea is simple; instead of opening the door to a chocolate or picture, you do the giving.

For every day of Advent you put a donation into a box so that by the time Christmas is here you can have a collection of goods ready to drop off at your local charity or foodbank. Last year the Trussell Trust reported a 45% spike in the number of food parcels it gave out in the two weeks before Christmas and they are expecting the same again this year. Without donations foodbanks and charities will not be able to meet this demand.

Reverse Advent Calendars are a great idea, and an easy way for you to help someone else this Christmas.

How to make your own reverse Advent Calendar

  1. Pick a charity, organisation or food bank you would like to donate to. You can find out where you nearest foodbank is on the Greater Manchester Poverty Alliance website:  or Caritas Diocese of Salford have a number of projects you can donate to.
  2. Contact the organisation to find out what items they are most in need of and when you should drop them off.
  3. Put aside a box.
  4. Get collecting and donate!

Remember that you should be donating non-perishable tinned and dried food and don’t forget that foodbanks also accept essential non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products.

If you’re planning to donate any festive food or gifts, it’s worth doing so earlier in the month so volunteers have time to sort and distribute your donation.

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Tagged | Caritas

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