What is an Advent Giving Month?
I’ll be honest with you, I debated what the title of this should be for far longer than is reasonable. Advent Calendar Giving Month. December Advent Giving. Giving Back Advent Calendar. In the end though, I stuck with the name I came up with randomly two years ago when Christmas had ended and I gave Mr Never Cooks his 25th Advent Calendar gift.
This is going to sound sort of — mean — for a second here friends, so brace yourselves. I had just spent 25 days agonizing over every little trinket and bobble I stuffed into a tiny stocking for my beloved partner, eagerly awaiting his joy and surprise each December morning. Growing up we never had Advent Calendars, so upon learning what they were at the young age of 24 I dove in headfirst.
You know what I forgot, though? Mr Never Cooks isn’t really into getting random gifts. There were no Hallmark cheers of delight. I stepped on a Lego R2D2 more than once that year. Also, it was A TON OF WORK.
Ideas from my First Annual Advent Giving Month
So that Christmas night, I decided the next year would be different. On December 1st 2016, I knit a baby hat. It was tiny and green with a pom pom, destined for a premature baby in the local NICU. The next night I bought a book for a toy drive. It had little piano keys attached to the side and I probably tortured some parent out there when I donated it.
How an Advent Giving Month helps through tough times
Other nights I volunteered, like at the Catholic Grotto’s Festival of Lights. It was a rough year for me. My mother was really struggling to recover from her stroke enough to come home, my baby niece had developed a serious medical condition that wasn’t responding well to medication, and my Grandmother had entered hospice care. Though I’m not religious, a lit a candle for them that night at the Sanctuary.
I donated clothes and food, I made care packages for the homeless, I volunteered for hot meals programs, I ran and walked for charities, I donated to political campaigns I believed in.
And on Christmas Day, I promised to continue to volunteer and donate where I could throughout the year and beyond.
Second Annual Advent Giving Month
I’ve succeeded to a certain degree at holding to that promise, and I still volunteer at Knit for Newborns and hot meals programs. I donate money where I can. This year, though, I really want to discover new ways to get involved in the issues that matter to me so I’ll be doing my Second Annual Advent Giving Month.
Participating in volunteer and outreach programs not only gave me a sense of purpose that I felt was missing during the holidays. It also helped me through one of the toughest times in my life. I love hearing about new ways to give back to my community. If you have any causes that you love to support or volunteer with, please let me know in the comments!