The question at the heart of the Refill Chippenham Christmas Giveaway contest was inspired by an email I received a few months ago from a reader of the Off the Ground blog. She responded to my request for ways of reducing waste at Christmas by sharing how she was making a reusable Advent calendar for her young niece. Rather than the traditional pieces of chocolate, however, she was using positive activities and random acts of kindness, such as:
- Put 50p in a charity collection tin
- Watch a Christmas movie with your family or friends
- Donate three old toys to a local charity shop
- When you next go shopping, ask if you can donate an item to your local food bank
- Have a Christmas sculpture competition with mummy and daddy using only Lego
When I mentioned this to Jon, he loved the idea, so our Christmas gifts this year to his family will be reusable* Advent calendars personalised for each relative. As you can tell from the photo, it’s still a work in progress!
However, this type of project is supported by science. Research has shown that people are happier when they spend money on others compared to spending it on themselves, and that people tend to value experiences over things. So we’re seeking to combine both of these happiness-boosting activities into a gift that will stretch over most of December and, all going well, cut back on waste at the same time.
Have you tried an Advent calendar like this before? If so, drop me a line and let me know how it went!
The plan is that we’ll collect the calendars on Christmas and store them until next year when we’ll refill them again.