'I know we’re already into the second week of December, but I wanted to share with you something that we’re doing at home. Every year advent calendars are getting more exotic – not to mention pricier! I can remember when all you found behind each number was a picture of a holly wreath, or if you were really lucky Santa would be smiling back at you!

My first chocolate advent calendar was a thing of wonder, but these are old school now – today’s options include everything from Lego, make up, cheese and gin (disappointed no-one got me one of these, despite my not-so-subtle hints!) My children have 2 calendars each, a chocolate one and a gift one, so I asked them to help me make a Reverse Advent Calendar.

Two examples of reverse advent calendars

It’s a really simple idea and is a great way to remind them that not everyone is as fortunate and that there are many families struggling to get the festive spirit going. There’s a box sitting in the corner of the kitchen and every day we add a treat to the box, then just before Christmas we’ll give it to a local food bank. So far we’ve got mince pies, crisps, Matchmakers, biscuits, stuffing and gravy. Nothing too extravagant, but we’re hoping it might help a little bit. If you’re a bit creative then you could make one that looks like the picture - ours is just a box, but the contents will taste just as good!'

by Fundraising Officer, Robina Ballard-Davis

Dedicating a Tree to a loved one is the perfect Christmas gift and doesn't cost the earth! From just £20, they receive a personalised certificate and the warm-glowing feeling of knowing that future generations in the Forest of Marston Vale will benefit from their gift forever.