Making Giving ACTUALLY Fun at Christmas

The Christmas ‘I want’ lists are being made and Santa’s ears are bleeding from all the items that kids are begging for – but as we all know, Christmas isn’t about getting, the heart of it is really about GIVING. So how do we teach our kids to get excited about giving? How do we Make Giving ACTUALLY Fun at Christmas?!

This year we were invited to participate in the Reverse Advent Calendar. Essentially, the popular advent calendar idea’s, polar opposite. Giving something instead of getting a chocolate or toy as you countdown to the big day.

Here’s how it works…

Late November we went out and bought food items to donate to a family in need at Christmas.

Each girl got a box and decorated it like a present.

On November 30, after the kids were in bed, I took the first can out of the grocery bags stored in our basement and hid it somewhere on the main floor.

The next morning when the girls woke up, they had to search the house for their can of beans!

They LOVE the game ‘hot and cold’ for trying to figure out where things hidden so it makes it really fun! Once they found their food, they put it into their decorated box, which of course, always requires a bit of tetris.

Each morning another item is hidden in the house, found and added to their boxes.

At the end of the countdown, when our boxes are full, we will head down to our local food bank and donate our box to those in need. This year a few families have jumped on board, and we will have a little cookie party at the drop off!

Here’s why I love this idea…

1) It makes giving fun at Christmas – from the shopping, to the craft boxes, to the finding – every aspect of giving has been enjoyable!

2) The kids learn that some families don’t have the same things – like peanut butter – that we do and so we need to share.

3) A few times people have come to visit and asked about the boxes. Hannah, my 4 year old is getting good at explaining what the boxes are for and who they are for. Which is great, reinforcing the message and the meaning will hopefully stay in her heart!

4) Mega Bonus: There are no 8 a.m. chocolate crashes from eating the chocolate advent calendars!

5) And of course: Providing food to our local food bank as a family is a win – win – win!

If you’re thinking – “Great Idea Debbie, thanks for telling us halfway through the month!” Well I do apologize, this is our first time trying this, and seeing how we seem to be into the rhythm of it I thought I’d share.  It’s not too late to play though, the food banks can always use whatever you collect!

Have a happy holiday and happy giving! From our family to yours!


For some inspiration, we are helping a family so our list looks like this:

2 cans of ham
2 cans of vegetables
2 cans of soup
2 cans of tuna
1 can of beans
1 can of stew/chili
1 bag of rice
1 large can of fruit
1 bag of cookies
1 bag of crackers
1 jar of peanut butter
1 box of cereal

I hope this helps making giving actually fun this Christmas!

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