Advent in Tawhero, in reverse

Is it really a year since my last Advent post?  Wowzers, this year has whizzed by for me.

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I have to share this pic again, it cracks me up.  Candles are sooo exciting!

I’m ridiculously excited to celebrate Christmas with my children this year as at almost 2 and a half, Chip will be old enough to understand what’s going on.

Like last year as we journey towards Christmas, we will read Christmas stories and talk lots about Baby Jesus, Mama Mary and Papa Joseph.  We’ll light our advent candles during dinner.  We’ll sing Christmas carols and dance like lunatics to ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.  We’ll be in our church Christmas pageant.  We’ll do some Christmas crafts and decorate the tree.

This year I’m doing TWO advent calendars. (More on calendar number two in a later post.)

Advent calendar one is a reverse advent calendar.  You might have seen this idea doing the rounds on social media.  I think it is absolutely brilliant.  The idea of a reverse advent calendar is to put one grocery item into a basket that then gets donated to a food bank, or a family in need.  I am all over this idea as I want my children to associate Christmas with giving.  But let me just say that this calendar is also for me.  Last year I carefully stockpiled a whole day’s worth of meals and treats for a family that I knew really, really needed it – a grandma looking after 11 kids, bless her.  The look on her face was the best present I got.  So the reverse advent calendar is something I’m keen to get behind.

Obviously if you want the recipients to enjoy it at Christmas you’ll have to donate your basket before December 24th.  We’re going to hold on to ours until our local food bank re-opens, as the after-Christmas period is a super-busy time for them.  Many people go all out for Christmas Day, and get caught short later.  If you need ideas as to what to put in, here are some tips from my time working at a Soup Kitchen:

  • Nothing you wouldn’t eat yourself.  If you haven’t eaten that jar of quince paste or pack of kale chips lurking at the back of the shelf, they probably won’t want to either.
  • Tinned tuna, salmon or chicken, and beef jerky are always greatly appreciated for a important protein boost.
  • Buy items that go together e.g. pasta and pasta sauce.  Nothing is sadder than chowing down on plain pasta because the rest of the cupboard is bare.
  • Canned vegetables (especially the cans with pop-up rings so no tin openers are required)
  • Beans, rice, noodles etc
  • Toiletries: tooth paste, tooth brushes, deodorant, tampons, nappies, shampoo, sunscreen, moisturiser, razors, pain killers (some places can’t dispense these), bug spray, vitamins, loo paper
  • Socks and underwear
  • Muesli bars, fruit roll-ups, snack packs of crackers and cheese, chips etc 
  • Treats, because life on the breadline is pretty grim

I started gathering items to donate in November, but you could start even earlier so you’re not faced with a bill for 24 cans of baked beans all at once.

Do you like the reverse advent calendar idea?  How do you give to others at Christmas?

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5 thoughts on “Advent in Tawhero, in reverse

  1. Pingback: Advent in Tawhero, pt 2 | Tots in Tawhero

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