The “Giving” Advent Calendar

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Each year I try to come up with a great way to get my children excited about giving back to their community. Last year they decorated a a cardboard box and I placed it in my work and bothered my co-workers incessantly to fill it up. We had great success with this and my children loved driving to a center downtown to donate everything to people in need.

This year, however, I want the giving to be a bit more hands-on on their part. I want THEM to give.

So I decided to do a “Backwards” Advent Calendar.

We will still use our amazing gingerbread house advent calendar to dole out candy during the long wait for Christmas, but we will also contribute something to the “Giving” Advent Calendar each day.

Making the box was oh-so very easy. Working as a bartender I have access to lots of cardboard boxes with partitions, however, you can also hit up your local liquor store and ask for a box or two.

Screw it, buy a 12 pack of wine. Have a fabulous drunken week and make your “Giving” Box as you sober up over the weekend.

Nothing says Christmas like booze!

You can keep the twelve space partitions or not. I chose to keep ours in as I think the kids will do better staying on it if they see there is still space to fill. Just chop off the box flaps and away you go!

Beware of tiny gnomes, they tend to congregate in boxes, particularly when said box are in use.







I took out the partitions and wrapped the box up like a present. In my opinion, the more the box shouts “holiday fun” the more the kids will want to fill it up! Throw some bows on there, a few stickers, corks from the wine you so generously drank for the cause, whatever you have around the house. Don’t make it expensive, the only thing you should put into the box is stuff for donation.

img_5234Once I was done decorating, and let’s face it, this took a while cause I got REALLY into it…I decided i needed to have some structure to what goes into the box each day. If my munchkins don’t have guidance they will throw dirty undies and broken action figures in there and call it a good. Ew.

img_5237Here is the list I created to give them ideas of what to put in the box each day as we get closer to the big holiday. You will notice i separated our donation list into two sections of 12 and organized it so we repeat after the 12th day. You can organize your days however you wish. I figured we would fill up the box and then repeat.

Day 1/13-  Hygiene – items include new toothbrushes, mouthwash, lotion, hand sanitizer, etc. Anything hygienic….go figure. (include feminine hygiene)

Day 3/14 – Canned Goods- this is pretty obvious. Try to choose cans that don’t require an opener.

Day 4/15– Baby Care – In my research to discover what people in need were in NEED of last year, baby items were at the top of the ilst. Diapers, wipes, lotion, rash cream, etc.

Day 5/16– Cold Weather Iteams- socks, hats, and gloves were a premium request from shelters last year.

Day 6/17– Dry Goods- non-perishable items such as Ramen noodles and snack packs of chips or even jello.

Day 7/18– Toys- You know your kids have 8 million toys they don’t play with that are basically brand new. Make them pick one or two to give to a child who might not get much this year.

Day 8/19– Reading Material- People in need get bored intellectually like everyone else.  Donate a few books or magazines to spark some interest.

Day 9/20– Medicine- bandaids and neosporin, aspirin or tylenol; homeless people get stick too, help them feel a bit better.

Day 10/21– Kids Clothing Items- My kids have a ton of clothes and they tend to only where 1/3 of them or less. have your kids go through their drawers and fine a few items they don’t wear regularly. Warm items tend to be better this time of year.

Day 11/22– Time- Most homeless shelters need personal help handing out items working lunches and dinners. My own children do not meet the age requirements for these activities yet, however, they can go out with a wagon and ask our neighbors if they wouldn’t mind donating a canned item or pack of bandaids.

Day 12/23– Adult Clothing Items- Just like the kids there always seems to be something hiding in the back of my closet that i haven’t worn in years and could be better served helping someone in need. Have the kids help you go through your stuff to pick out a few things. Use it as an organizational tool!

On day 24, when your box in full, take it to a local church or homeless shelter. Make sure the kids help you carry it in. They should feel how amazing it is to be generous and see how their items can help. When we drove to drop off our groceries and clothing items. my kids were floored by the amount of people living in tent cities in our town, in 20 degree weather. They wanted to help even more after we dropped off our donation.

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35 thoughts on “The “Giving” Advent Calendar

    1. getting kids involved is great, it’s so easy for them to just think of what they want without realizing what other people need…-Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  1. Thanks for sharing this, it’s a fab idea and I might do it with my daughter for our local women’s centre. #kcacols

    1. I am really looking forward to it, it hink it will be great to keep them in the spirit of giving all month long! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  2. What a fantastic idea! I have never come across this concept before and absolutely love it! I really want to do this with our little one now. Such a great way to teach little ones and get them involved in a hands on way like you say. I wonder if I have time to make one quickly for December! Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

    1. I made mine in about an hour, haha. I think getting the box is prob the hardest part and the rest is just fun 🙂 I would love to see how yours turns out! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  3. The gift of giving is the best gift of all, for both the giver and the receiver. Thank you for warming my heart and sharing your best tips on what people on the street really need. I love that you involve your kids and you’re teaching them some valuable life lessons. #GlobalBlogging

    1. I always get fristrated this time of year because my kids WANT so much, I need them to understand that most people don’t have it as good as they do and I want them to WANT to help. -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  4. Oh my word!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is the best idea ever!
    What an amazing and thoughtful way to change it up a bit!
    Definitely going to happen in my household! Thank you for sharing with us! #globalblogging

    1. Please let me know it turns out for your family! I would to collaborate on blog post about how it goes after the holidays! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

    1. Exactly! I really want them to learn humility and that helping others is the best gift of all! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  5. I think its great that your kids are so compassionate. I love the idea of a backwards advent calendar and you have given some excellent suggestions of items to include
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

    1. I certainly hope they end up being compassionate adults! It is something they struggle with sometimes, you know kids “me me me me!” lol -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

    1. Thank you so much for visiting! This is our first year doing this and i am so excited for it! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  6. I love this idea so much. I think I’d need to wait for next in order for my boys to really understand what they were doing, though. I’d seen vague ideas about filling a box that I liked but the sections and lists you’ve gone for really make this like a proper ‘advent’ activity (and also more helpful – like you say they could put any old crap in if left to their own devices). Thank you for sharing!


    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I am really hoping that it works out well, I am super excited to have them start adding to it! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  7. This is such a lovely idea! What a great lesson to teach your kids, too. I have a friend who did backwards “trick or treating” for Halloween this year by going around asking for donations for the vulnerable rather than asking for sweets for themselves. #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Oooh that’s a great idea too! My kids love getting candy and i’m not sure i could take that away from them (let’s face it, mama wants that free candy too!) but i would love to incorporate this somehow! Thanks so much for sharing and visiting Big Fit Fam! -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

  8. This is such a good idea. Good on you for giving back and teaching your children to do the same. I’ll have to keep this in mind for when my daughter gets a bit older. #GlobalBlogging #bigpinklink

  9. This is such a great idea! I used to do things like this when I was at school. You used to fill a shoebox every Christmas with gifts from a range of ideas on a list the charity [of that year] would give you. I used to love decorating all of the boxes and making/buying things to go inside! I recently found out that most schools no longer do this due to health and safety! Last Christmas we took a massive load of baby items my little man had grown out of, or some he hadn’t even used down to the local women’s refuge centre. They loved it, it cleared out some things we no longer needed, and best of all – Made us feel good! #Bigpinklink #marvmondays

    1. teaching children the beauty of giving is so important, it’s so easy for them to take advantage of the lives they have and not realize how difficult life is for so many. -Brandi with Big Fit Fam

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