Reverse advent – charitable giving over Christmas

October 17, 2017

As soon as the Halloween decorations go up in our house, I know that I can start thinking about Christmas soon as it’ll be November when they get put away. Don’t shout me down just yet – each to their own! I am just a huge Christmas-time lover; I love the build-up and the magic of the festive season….

This year as every year, we will be incorporating a family charitable tradition in among the other traditions. My children are extremely fortunate to live the lifestyle we lead and it’s important to us that they understand that other families don’t have what we have and that they shouldn’t take their belongings and lifestyle for granted.

Where last year we supported our local Children’s Centre by decorating and filling a festive hamper for a local family in need, this year I’m so happy to be working alongside the whole UK Money Bloggers community to encourage our collective readers to put together a parcel to donate to their local food bank for Christmas parcels.

Reverse advent calendar

Our campaign is based on the concept of a reverse advent calendar.


With a normal advent calendar, on each day of advent, you open a window and get something out. The idea of a reverse advent calendar is simple – it’s the opposite to a traditional advent calendar in that you don’t take, you give.

Find yourself a big box and for 25 days, pop one item a day in to it and at the end, deliver it to your local food bank.

christmas treats for food bank

It is an easy and fun way to collect items for your food bank, especially for those of you with children. I have been talking to the girls about it and they have come up with some lovely ideas of Christmas cards to make to go in there alongside the donations of food and toiletries.

Start early

Many food banks are only open for a couple of days a week and Christmas Eve is on a Sunday this year. In order to get your valuable donations out to those who need them, we think it would be good for the food banks to have them in plenty of time before Christmas.

In our home, decoration of the Christmas box has already started.

Foodbank box decorating

We’re going to be starting to fill our box on 1st November with the first item. We’ll be delivering our filled box to the food bank at the end of November before we start to enjoy our regular advent calendars on 1st December. For us as a family, I know it will make the girls appreciate their small gifts and chocolate in their advent calendars more by talking about why we have food banks in the month before.

Clearly it doesn’t matter you want to start this challenge well into November or even December as the food banks will still need those donations in January! But I would love it if you joined me with this – head over to my Instagram to see how we are getting on with our donations and for Instastories on the delivery.

What to put in a food bank parcel

Food banks provide a minimum of three-days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable tinned and dried foods. Here are some ideas of things to go in to your donation:

  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Pasta sauce
  • Beans
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tea/coffee
  • Tinned fruit
  • Biscuits

Non-food items are also welcomed:

  • Toiletries – deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand wipes
  • Household items – laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid

toiletries for food bank donations

  • Feminine products – sanitary towels and tampons
  • Baby supplies – nappies, baby wipes and baby food. (Please note, most foodbanks will not accept formula milk.)

Your local food bank

If you don’t know where your local food bank is, you will find a collection box in most of your local supermarkets with details of your nearest one. They will usually also indicate what your local one is short of at the moment – this is the sign up on the collection box at our local Waitrose this week. PLEASE donate your #FoodbankAdvent box directly to your local food bank though rather than to one of these boxes.

most needed items for food bank

It doesn’t matter if your donation is 25 of the same thing – one for each day of the reverse advent – especially if it is something which they really need at the moment. They will be divided up in to individual parcels for distribution.

I’d love to see my readers involved in this great campaign. If you post any photos on social media, use the hashtag #FoodbankAdvent to join with us in making this Christmas a little more bearable for those who really need our help. Thank you!!

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