Advent calendars, once an uncomplicated matter of cardboard and cheap chocolate, can be extremely elaborate and eccentric nowadays.
The latter is the idea at the basis of Advent of Change, a quirky philanthropic advent calendar which lets you donate to 24 different nonprofits. Every day of the Advent season, you can open a new box and see to which organization you made a 50p ($ 0.65) donation and how you can expect it to be used.
Advent of Change was set up in 2018 by Kristina Salceanu, a social entrepreneur based in the U.K. The first edition of the calendar raised £100,000 ($ 130,000) for organizations like The Hunger Project, a nonprofit committed to end world hunger, Crisis, the U.K.’s national charity for homeless people, and the Willow Foundation, an organization that provides emotional and psychological support for seriously ill 15-to-40-year-olds.
For this year’s edition, the team at Advent of Change ramped up their efforts producing not just one but four different versions of the calendar, including one specifically for children and one in braille.
Now, the calendars support a total of 72 charities working in fields as different as animal welfare, mental health and international aid. All organizations appear to be officially registered as charities in the U.K. even though there is no mention of particular criteria (like effectiveness, transparency or accountability) adopted to select them.
Advent of Change itself is a non-profit organization claiming to give over 70% of any product's sale price directly to charity.
As cheesy as it may sound, it might be that, when it comes to advent calendars, the “real treat” is donating something every day rather than receiving it. I also have no doubts that you will feel better after 24 donations to charity than after 24 mini-bottles of gin.