Have you heard of a reverse Advent calendar? In case you haven’t, I’m going to share a bit about this wonderfully unique idea for celebrating the Christmas season with a reverse Advent calendar.
What is a reverse Advent calendar?
Often an Advent calendar is used to count down the days until Christmas by opening a box and discovering an ornament or something that helps you focus on the Advent journey. A reverse Advent calendar focuses on giving something instead of receiving – a Christ centered idea indeed – since Christmas is all about God giving himself to us as a baby.
The idea behind a reverse Advent calendar is simple. Pick out a sturdy basket, box or bag and fill it with food donations for your local food pantry – one item for every day in December. Then, when your bags are filled, take them to the food pantry of your choice. I, personally, like to chose a Christian faith-based organization who provides ministry along with the food. A quick online search of your hometown will provide plenty of options.
The reverse Advent calendar encourages us to think of others as we wait to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. What a great way to serve this Advent!
How do you make a reverse Advent calendar?
The beauty of this reverse Advent calendar is in the simplicity but also in how it can be customized. You can add one item a day or purchase several items every time you shop. You can collect 25 items from your whole family or 25 items from each member in your family. You can start collecting the items in the middle of November or wait until the beginning of December. You can focus on food items or practical donations or a combination of both. You can create the reverse Advent calendar however you and your family choose.
You can include some of the most requested food donations such as:
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Canned soup
- Instant potatoes
- Spaghetti sauce and pasta
- Pancake mix
- Canned meats (tuna, chicken, beef stew, etc)
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Macaroni & cheese
- Instant Oatmeal
- Granola bars
- Biscuit or baking mixes, particularly those that require only water
- Boxed meals that require only water
You can also give practical donations such as:
- Body wash
- Bars of soap
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Baby wipes
- Toilet paper
- Laundry detergent
- New underwear, undershirts and socks are always needed!
Here’s an interesting list of what food banks need the most as well as what they receive the most. While every donation is always appreciated, consider giving some of the more needed donations with your reverse Advent calendar.
It goes without saying that donations are needed year round – not just at Christmas. We are planning to use this reverse Advent calendar idea this year, but I would like for us to make it a regular process in our family.
We also celebrate the waiting of the Advent season by reading a different Christ focused Christmas picture book every day. You can find the list of the 25 Christmas books we use here.
What does your family do to celebrate the Advent season as you wait to celebrate Jesus’ birth?