By Ciéra Cree
Christmas is fast approaching, and as we all know, that can only mean one thing – shopping, shopping, shopping. Perhaps some of you have already been shopping in preparation for the big day – it’s not uncommon. Presents prettily piled under a Christmas tree laced with lovely lights, this is for sure a festive sight. But I’m here today to introduce you to a ‘new’ idea which might help you bring the idea of ‘the season of giving’ closer into your heart. Introducing: ‘The Reverse Advent Calendar’.
For those who are unaware, an advent calendar is a tray of festive chocolate shapes hidden behind little doors. There are twenty-four or twenty-five of these doors and for each day of December, you get to open one and see what’s behind it.
The idea of ‘The Reverse Advent Calendar’ could be applied to those twenty-five or twenty-four doors, the “twelve days of Christmas” or in whichever way best suits you. It’s a simple and easy thing to do either by yourself or with a group of friends or flatmates.
You take a box and for each day of December you put in an item(s) to donate to charity – and that’s it. At first, it may not seem like much, but it builds up! Going to a charity shop or donation bin around Christmas Eve or New Year with a box full of things to give away feels so refreshing, and doing this is also a great way to help declutter your life a bit before 2020.
For us here at Anglia Ruskin there’s a British Heart Foundation donation bin around the corner of Peter Taylor House (and a few others around in different places too!) which not only accepts clothing, as many donation points exclusively do, but also brick-a-brack and other items from books to scarves and old shoes. The donation point here will not accept blankets, carpets, cushions, glass, metal, pillows, quilts, rags, rugs or videos. But imagine the impact we could make as a university if each of us even just found one thing to pass on! Giving back this Christmas is for sure a great way to warm the hearts of those in need.
There are plenty of beautiful things about the holiday season to be grateful for, and numerous don’t come in the form of a physical item. Spending time with people you care about, the memories you make with those people, and the atmosphere of the period itself carries something indescribable for many, but to some this time of year is their hardest.
To those reading this I ask you to take a moment to reflect on all the things and people in your life that you have to be grateful for. Hold them close and appreciate them as not everyone is as fortunate.