Tag Archives: Reverse Advent

Giving back this Christmas – Our Reverse Advent Box

This December we have been taking part in Reverse Advent and it’s been a wonderfully heartwarming family task. If you’ve not heard of Reverse Advent before, it’s where you take a box and each day you add something to it with the intention of giving the box away to someone in need.

I chose to donate our box to our local foodbank – Chorlton and Didsbury Foodbank. The foodbank opened in 2014 and last year gave over 1000 people and families three-day emergency food supplies. 

Although we’ve never been at the point where we’ve needed to get a referral to a foodbank, there have been times when the cupboards have been bare and I’ve not had the money to buy food. There have been times where I’ve skipped meals to make sure the boys get food in their belly and I’ve wondered how I’ll feed them their next meal. As frugal as I am, sometimes the money just doesn’t always stretch as far as I’d like. 

In late November the Co-op sent me a big blue box and some ideas for my Reverse Advent. Every time I popped to the shops I’d put a few extra tins, jars, or packets of dried food in my basket and when I got home I put them in my box.

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

I knew my local foodbank would appreciate the box of food supplies before Christmas, so I did cheat a little and over the weekend I filled my box, packed it up and it’s ready to be delivered to the foodbank.

As a blogger we get sent a lot of things over the year, some of which we use, some of which we give away to friends and family. I’d saved a big bag of children’s books and lots of craft kits (the kind where everything you need is included, so you don’t need extra glue or paint, or things people may not have). So I’ve donated those to the foodbank too. They’ll be given to the children attending their Christmas party and I can’t think of a better home for them.

Putting the Reverse Advent box has been really easy. Buying a couple of items each time I popped to the shops was a doddle and didn’t make a huge dent in our budget. When you first get your box it can be hard to think of what you could fill it with. So I’ve put together a suggested shopping list (below) if you need some ideas to get you started…

Giving back this Christmas - Our Reverse Advent box

The Reverse Advent box is definitely something our family will be embracing as a family tradition. We know how fortunate we are to have food in the cupboards and a warm house to live in. It’s only right that we give a bit of what we can, when we can.

For more information about the Reverse Advent campaign with The Co-op read their blog. To find your nearest foodbank and to find out more about their work, or how to access their services, visit the Trussell Trust website.

Merry Christmas xx

Stories for life – childhood books we love to read

In our house there are some things we do every day. We brush our teeth, go out to school, work or to the park, we talk and share food and we always, always read at least one book together.  I’m thinking about sharing “stories for life” with our children, and the kind of books that make great presents – not just Christmas presents either!

When the small boy was Christened, we asked our friends and family not to give presents, but if they did want to give a gift, to give the boy a copy of their favourite childhood book. This meant at the great age of six months my son had a reading library which was full of variety, and each book had a lovely back story attached to it. We hoped that this would cement a love of reading in him. He certainly loves a good story or three at bedtime.

For his Christening we got everything from Rupert Bear and Spot the Dog to a full set of Harry Potter books and of course a host of Roald Dahl classics.

Stories for life

I was the most avid of readers as I child, and over the years my love of reading hasn’t diminished, but the opportunity to curl up for a quiet hour with a good book has. This is something that makes me a little bit sad sometimes.

Looking back, I suppose my favourite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is still a much loved classic today. Once I reached the age of 7 or 8 I fell in love with Roald Dahl books and read them all, even the slightly unsuitable ones (I’ve read his NSFW adult books too, but I was over 21). 

I’m not sure what books my son will look back with fondness on, but we’re reading a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine stories at the moment. Our bedtime reading is an eclectic mix of the Biff and Chip style books school sends home to read, non-fiction books about transportation, construction and geography (all subjects he loves) and fun books we read with him.

Stories for life

This week we were sent a selection of books to read or give away as gifts from Puffin Books. I think the books they’ve sent us would be absolutely ideal for the the small boy, but I don’t want to be greedy, so I think we will choose to keep just one of these stories for life for Christmas and give the others to other children who might enjoy reading them.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter is about a boy who gets a very hungry dinosaur for Christmas. His dinosaur eats everything in sight, including all of Christmas – but as we know, what goes in must come out! This sounds like exactly the sort of book my dinosaur obsessed boy would enjoy!

Max and Bird by Ed Vere is about a kitten called Max who meets bird and wants to eat him. But Max soon discovers that friends don’t eat each other, instead friends try and help each other, so that’s what they do. Max and Bird is on the New York Times Bestseller list and it’s a very sweet story about friendship.

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is a wonderful book to read if your child struggles to wind down for sleep and can really help them to drift off to the land of nod. The story is a wonderful tale about Ellen the Elephant who goes on a journey through a magical forest, meeting fantastic creatures along the way, eventually ending up in dreamland.

These are three really, really lovely books. I’d be very tempted to keep them all to share with my son, but this month we are doing a Reverse Advent calendar with our local Foodbank. I’m collecting some small gifts and books for them to distribute to families who have been referred to them this Christmas. I can’t actually think of a better recipient for these stories for life.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?