A reverse advent calendar could be the kindest gift you give all year

From luxe beauty products to artisan alcohol to stationary, 2018 has produced arguably the best batch of alternative advent calendars so far. But in addition to treating yourself to a countdown with a difference, you can also use advent as a reason to give back, by creating a reverse advent calendar too.

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What is a reverse advent calendar?

Simply put, a reverse advent calendar consists of collecting an item of food every day throughout November and donating it to charity in December as a generous act of festive goodwill.

Many families choose to give their reverse advent calendars to food banks, but you could consider donating to any charitable cause. You could also make a child-friendly calendar for your local hospital or refuge.

What should you put in a reverse advent calendar?

A reverse advent calendar typically consists of 24 gifts, but you can present this however you want – upcycle a cardboard box or wine carrier, use a spare hamper or basket, or simply fill bags. Ultimately, it’s what’s inside that really counts.

What you include depends on who you intend to give your calendar to, but items that are likely to have the most benefit including non-perishable, long-life food and drink, toiletries and hygiene products, toys and games suitable for appropriate age groups, and household essentials such as washing-up liquid.

It’s a good idea to contact the charity you want to give to to find out what they’re most in need of, and tailor your calendar appropriately.

  • Food and drink – cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned vegetables, sauces, lentils, beans and pulses, tea and coffee, tinned fruit, biscuits, UHT milk, juice
  • Household items – laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid
  • Toiletries – deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand wipes, sanitary towels and tampons
  • Baby supplies – nappies, wipes, baby food, toys, clothes, gifts

When should you give a reverse advent calendar?

Most charities ask that you give as early as possible, to give them time to distribute the contents before Christmas.

Charities that you could consider giving to include:

Be sure to get in touch with your local branch to check the best way to deliver your reverse advent calendar.