Today marks the long-awaited day: The grand opening of the first advent calendar-door, hiding chocolatey-goodies or other indulgent gifts. Christmas is but a few treats away and so the season of traditions is upon us, as tradition has it.
But seeing that this year has been all but ordinary, why should our Christmas traditions stay the same? In true 2020-spirit, let’s shake things up by adding the ‘Reverse Advent calendar’-trend – with a student spin – to our daily activity of chocolate chomping.
The idea behind this concept is simple; rather than opening the door to receive a gift, you do the gifting. Most people that engage in this activity put aside small donations every day, collecting a set of goods to drop off to a foodbank on Christmas Eve.
Now, whilst that is a beautiful, wholesome and necessary action, the sad reality is that many students might not have the finances to donate to those in need. So this proposed Reverse Advent calendar will consist of actions, items or ideas that are near-to or completely free.
The aim is to spread love, light and smiles. To give back to those you care about, through cute gestures. Seeing that today is also Giving Tuesday; a global day of giving, this challenge could’ve not come timelier.
Let today be the start of an Advent full of sharing and caring by partaking in the activities listed below. It will brighten up the days of those around you. As we enter the darkest period of this strange year, let’s bring some light into the world!
Credit: Aine Donnellan
Tell someone whom you love that you do. (It’s easy to forget, and can never ever be said too much, no matter what Snow Patrol thinks…)
Smile at everyone you walk past on the street. (Might have to be more of a smize what with the mask and all, but just like Tyra Banks taught us, that can be just as powerful.)
Write your best friend a cute note and send them a photo of it. (Although Covid stops us from seeing one another, it cannot stop us from being there for each other in other ways.)
Listen in on whoever you speak to today, really listen. (Sometimes that’s all you need to do to make someone’s day, it’s actually a huge life-hack!)
When in line to buy your coffee for the day, offer to pay for someone behind you too. (Chances are they’ll politely decline, leaving them happily surprised by your kindness and you £3 richer than if they accept, and even if they do, it will leave you feeling like a hero: Win-win situation.)
Donate clothes you no longer wear to a local charity shop.
Send a letter to your grandparents. (If you don’t have any, send it to someone you know would appreciate it – it’s a very rare thing to receive these days.)
Bake cookies for your flatmate/family. (Was going to write neighbour, but corona… And If you live alone: Bake cookies for yourself – because you are awesome and why not?)
Compliment a stranger. (If you’ve ever had it happen to you, you know the power this simple but beautiful practice can have on someone’s day. Spread it wide and generously!)
Make your own hand-made Christmas cards for your family. (Regardless of how they turn out, this will make their hearts melt – even if they don’t immediately show it.)
Cook dinner for your flatmates/family. (And if you live alone…Make yourself a 3-course dinner, because you are brilliant and deserve the best!)
Offer your general help on one of your social medias. (Chances are someone within your network is in need of something which you are an expert at – and you will be the hero of the day.)
In each conversation you have throughout the day, try to not interrupt at any point. (It’s something we all do, but when you become mindful of it, it offers the path to true listening.)
Send a FB-message/email to someone whom you might not often speak to, but who has made a difference in your life and let them know. (Imagine receiving a message like that yourself? So heart-warming.)
Buy someone close to you flowers. (Alternatively, if in Stirling, go past Stirling Community Foods on 64 Upper Craigs between 10-12AM to potentially pick up some free ones.)
Forgive someone, let something go. (And if you have no one else to forgive, forgive yourself for whatever you may have been beating yourself up over – or the world, for some of its craziness. It’s a healthy practice and will leave you feeling liberated.)
Share the links/posts/music or other creative endeavours your friends are engaged in. (It can mean the world to people who are trying to get their name out there.)
Make a playlist tailored for a friend of yours and send it their way. (Music is such a personal and connective medium, it will feel like you’re there with them as they listen and enjoy.)
Do the laundry of the whole household. (As one of the most boring activities on this planet, you will make your flatemate’s/family’s day by tackling the mountain of dirty clothes.)
Write a positive anonymous note and put it on someone’s car window. (When someone’s going through a rough day, those tiny pieces of positivity can have a massive impact.)
Donate your old towels or blankets to an animal shelter. (With the darkest day of the year occurring tomorrow we’re truly in the height of winter now: the doggos at your local animal shelter will need those warm blankets more than ever.)
Make your flatmate/family breakfast in bed. (Who said this heavenly treat is only for birthdays?)
Put your phone away when you’re with family/friends. (Connecting, but in real life, is more important right now than ever before – so cherish the moments you get to share with your loved ones: Instagram won’t go anywhere.)
Share your favorite christmassy recipe on social medias. (Who knows, it might save someone’s otherwise disastrous Christmas dinner. If nothing else, you have spread indulgence into the world.)
Give yourself a pat on the shoulder and write down five things you have gained/learned/experienced from partaking in these little tasks.
Although these random acts of kindness are miniscule in the grand scale of things, so are we human beings – but that doesn’t stop us from tackling life head-first, so neither should it stop us from appreciating this new tradition. By joining in and spreading your energy to those around you, not only will advent bring you chocolate this year, but more importantly, it will bring you love.
Featured Image Credit: Aine Donnellan