What is a ‘reverse advent calendar’ and how do you do it?

Give back to those in need this festive season by adopting a new Christmas tradition – the ‘reverse advent calendar’.

After the year that’s been 2020, counting down to Christmas by opening up a daily gift from your advent calendar is sure to cheer you up. But while advent calendars are a typical Christmas tradition, let’s face it, it’s been a year of embracing new traditions which is where the ‘reverse advent calendar’ comes into play.

This new celebration is becoming increasingly popular, and the idea is that instead of (or as well as) eating a piece of chocolate, unwrapping a beauty item, or opening up a new bottle of wine to mark the days that lead up to December 25, you put aside an item each day to donate to a food bank or charity.

On the final day of your 12 or 24 days of Christmas, you take your collected goods to a donation point, such as a food bank or charity shop, or you can even lodge an amount of money online.

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has posed a severe threat to Australia’s charitable sector, with wealth manager JB Were forecasting a 7.1 per cent fall in donations in 2020, followed by an 11.9 per cent drop in 2021.

Moreover, predictions by Social Ventures Australia and the Centre for Social Impact has shown one in seven (14 per cent) Australia charities are at risk of collapse by September 2021 and approximately 170,000 charity workers could lose their jobs as a result.

Since charities are having to do more with less, the reverse advent calendar is a small concept that could make a huge difference to those in need.

How to make a reverse advent calendar

Firstly, decide on whether you’ll do a 12 or 24-day calendar. Then, choose what charity you’re going to support and what items you’re going to collect. It could be a specific theme – for example toiletries, CDs, books, clothes or food – or it could be a mix. It’s a good idea to contact your chosen charity to see what they need the most before making your final decision.

Each day, place an item in your reverse advent calendar box and then on the final day, take your box to your point of choice.

You could also choose to put aside virtual money each day and then on the final day donate your total amount to a charity online.

How to choose a charity for your reverse advent calendar

Due to COVID-19 risks and restrictions, donating to a charity this Christmas may be a little different. Therefore, it’s worthwhile researching and contacting several organisations to see who is, and how they are, accepting donations this year.

Charities to support this Christmas

A few examples of charities you can support this Christmas: