My family’s choice of advent calendar always involved little-hidden foil wrapped chocolates and mini bottles of something strong for the adults. When I was a child, like many others I looked forward to waking up each morning during the Christmas month of December to find out what hid behind each window of my advent calendar. Christmas had begun and the emphasis was on some giving and a lot of receiving.
Rebecca Taylor, cybrarian (Internet librarian) at International School of Beijing in collaboration with New Hope Foster Home (NHFH) are bringing new meaning to Christmas for children during this festive season. The Reverse Advent Calendar gives families the opportunity to give a little more this year and for their children to think about others who do not share the same privileges as them. With this calendar, a family can choose an item or find one of their liking for each day of December. The boxes they fill with each item are then collected on Christmas Eve and delivered to the charity.
Taylor, who grew up in a family that embraced acts of servitude, made it a principle of theirs to teach and be an example of what others can do to give back to the community they live in. “My parents have been outstanding role models of how to give back to the community through volunteering time and materials,” she said. Taylor’s family adopted strategies for shopping sustainably and encouraging her as a young child “to see the world through a lens of kindness,” she added.
This fortified in Taylor the need to be personally proactive in serving others, first at home with her own family and in her role at the school where she works. “About 10 years ago, I created a new way of gift giving in our family that helped push our service even further. It is called DORRRRMS,” Taylor explained. Taylor’s family acronym stands for Donate – giving to a charity in the name of the gift recipient, Offset; paying to offset someone’s travel miles by buying trees, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-gift, Make; crafting a gift for someone, and finally, Support and Serve; buying from local businesses or charities and offering them time in the form of volunteering.
Inspired by her upbringing, family ethos, and new read, “Barefoot Investor for Families” (a resource to help families learn better money habits), Taylor saw an American version of the Reverse Advent Calendar and decided to share the idea on her WeChat Moments. The idea went down well – so she created one!
Taylor has worked with NHFH before and chose to make them the main recipient of the calendars items this time around, however this idea can be applied however one may wish, “The point was to release the idea to the world in order for people to make their own choice, in their own contexts, about who to donate to,” she said. And anyone can participate in this one led by Taylor. If you fancy the idea of bringing joy and kindness to others and encouraging your family to do the same, get in touch and spread the love.
If you’re thinking of donating to a charity of your choice, find out what is needed and customize a list especially for the recipient. Taylor says, The Reverse Calendar, “adds another way to give back at a time when we are most certainly reveling in getting!” so on that note – let giving be you and your family’s gift this Christmas.
Contact New Hope on WeChat: NewHopeFoundation.
Photos: courtesy of Pixabay