Every Christmas, money is tight and this year is no different. It’s always that little bit trickier as well for me, as Bear’s birthday is mid January and so it’s a double whammy but I am lucky enough to be able to buy him gifts for both events. We will eat an amazing meal on Christmas or Boxing Day and won’t ever have to go without as I have an incredible family who support me in every way.
As the days start to pass and we approach December, I start to talk to Bear about going through his toy collection and making room for new gifts by giving outgrown or un-played with toys, away to charity. I’m thankful that he has a really kind heart and is always eager to give things to the ‘children that might not get new toys’. Our local supermarket also hangs gift tags from a Christmas Tree in the entrance area. Each tag has an age and sex on it, for instance: BOY, 5-6yrs or GIRL up to 1 year etc. Every year, my Mum picks one or two and Bear and I pick one. He usually likes to choose a boy tag, the same age as him and then he chooses a suitable toy. We often go to a cheaper shop to purchase the gift and then drop it back off and then the supermarket distributes the gifts to local children in need via charities. I’ll never forget 2 years ago when he chose a Dump Truck – his favourite toy, to give to the charity. He wanted to buy a digger as well but I explained that I didn’t have enough money. When we got home, he brought one of his prized diggers and insisted that we give that too. My heart swelled.
I think it’s really important that no matter what stage or place in life we are, that we explain to children and remember ourselves, that there are often people worse off than we are. My heart breaks to think of children wondering why Father Christmas doesn’t bring them presents or people going hungry as the rest of us binge. I don’t have a lot but the Co-op contacted me and explained the Reverse Advent to me.
The idea is, that on every day of advent (1st-24th December), you pop something into a box. On Christmas Eve, or sooner if you fill it earlier, you give the box to someone in need. So as my son receives a chocolate every day from his advent calendar, we will also give something to someone in need, therefore reversing a usual advent calendar.
The Co-op have given out nearly 700 Reverse Advent packs to the public. Each pack contains a flat pack box, tips of what to include in your box and who to give it to and a £5 Co-op voucher to start you off.
Our box arrived and the first thing that I did was get in touch with a local charity that I knew distributed parcels to local people and families that may go without. I asked what type of things would be useful and when they needed a parcel by.
As they needed it as soon as possible, I decided to go out this morning and get my 24 donations. I told a friend (another Hannah) about the project and she kindly donated £5 as her life is crazy hectic but she wanted to do something but her time is tight.
So, off I went to my local Co-op. I wanted to buy a good mixture of goods, just in case it all goes to one family with some little treats as well if I could although I think it will be pooled and then distributed. Straight away, I saw that they had offers on a tin of custard for 50p, the same with rice pudding. That was a good start. My Co-op is quite small so I got 15 things from there and then popped into another local shop to get some more bits.
In total, I spent just over £15. The £5 Co-op voucher, £5 from my friend Hannah and a little over £5 from me. Not a lot individually but together, what I hope is a good donation.
For £15, I bought:
- 5 tins of soup
- 2 tins of meatballs
- 1 tin of ham
- 1 tin of corned beef
- 1 large tin of new potatoes
- 1 tin of garden peas
- 1 tin of ratatouille
- 1 tin of baked beans
- 1 tin of spaghetti hoops
- 1 tin of rice pudding
- 1 tin of custard
- 2 tins of fruit cocktail
- 1 large jar of pasta bake sauce
- 1 packet of pasta
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 pack of 2 toothbrushes
- 1 bar of white chocolate
- 1 bar of milk chocolate
- 1 bag of milk chocolate buttons
- 1 bag of white chocolate buttons
- 1 bag of midget gems
Thank you to the Co-op for giving me the nudge, the box and the voucher.