The Advent of Giving Calendar

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Like most parents, I want to impart the true spirit of the season to our kids. Although we should be doing what we can to help those less fortunate throughout the entire year, Charles Dickens said it best in one of my favorite lines from “A Christmas Carol”:

“It is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. … We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

Whether celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, it is easy for kids to get caught up in the receiving rather than the giving part of the holiday season.

This year I was trying to think of a unique way to help the kids help others and “rejoice in their abundance.”  I decided to borrow the idea of the advent calendar. My kids are always excited to open their advent calendars, identify the shape of the chocolates, pop them in their mouths and announce how many days until Christmas.

So this year, I have made my own Advent of Giving. Starting on Dec. 10, the two-week countdown to Christmas will create an opportunity to shift the focus back to the spirit of the season once a day. And I will receive some extra help around the house as I have designed it so that the kids will have extra chores to raise the money to make some necessary purchases.

The first day, tomorrow, we already have plans to walk in a 5K. After that, each day of giving will be a surprise for the kids, but I will give my readers an exclusive peak at the Advent of Giving here.

I invite you to join us or share your holiday giving traditions with me so that I can improve upon this idea.

Here goes:

Dec. 10 – Walk on our friend’s team (Team Shira) in a 5K Walk for Hope and Possibility in San Diego.

Dec.11 – Drop off stuff at city hall for the Marine Care Pac Program.

Dec.12 – Make and drop off Christmas cards at Hoag Hospital.

Dec .13 – Donate books to a school library in need.

Dec. 14 – Pick an item off the Orange County Ronald McDonald House Holiday Wish List to donate.

Dec. 15 – Pick something off the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen Needs List and make a donation.

Dec. 16 – Go to the fabric store and pick out fleece to make a no-sew fleece blanket to donate to a seniors center.

Dec. 17 – Host a tea party for adults with Alzheimer’s at a residential facility.  Provide the cookies and teacups, and juice.

Dec. 18 – Make a meal for someone who is going through a difficult time.

Dec. 19 – Pick out a new toy and bring it to Share Our Selves

Dec. 20 – Choose an item from the wish list of the Orange County Rescue Mission and drop it off to help the homeless.

Dec. 21 – Make toiletries kits to donate to Illumination Foundation.

Dec. 22 – Drop off canned goods at the Aids Services Foundation.

Dec. 23 – Bake cookies for the patients at the VA hospital.

Just as they get ready to eat that last piece of chocolate from their Trader Joe’s Advent calendar this year, I hope they will realize their holiday season has been made sweeter by the joy of giving and the true spirit of the holidays.

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  1. I love this idea! My oldest daughter’s favorite part of Christmas is shopping for our donations to the giving tree or angel tree program. But I never thought about extending it into advent activity. Love it – what a great way to really instill the spirit of giving during the Christmas season. thank you for sharing!