It is December 1, 2016. Children young and old have opened their advent calendars most with no knowledge of what "advent" really is about. For them it is simply a treat a day until Christmas arrives and gifts galore. Parents and plenty of the rest of us will rack up debt to take part in a festival which aims at celebrating the birth of Christ; most will not include Christ.
But it is a good time of year to remember others.
There are so many charities and events in December it is easy to feel swamped; they are all good and worthy causes.
Today as advent begins the World Aid's day campaign asks "This World AIDS Day, help us put HIV stigma firmly in the past where it belongs, by joining our Not Retro, Just Wrong campaign." You can donate or simply take part on social media:
CHALLENGE HIV STIGMA ON SOCIAL MEDIA
ASK YOUR MP TO SHOW LEADERSHIP ON HIV STIGMA
So what does advent mean? In the Christian calendar "Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas."
For 2016 this blog will run its own advent calendar; it will include an event or charity a day that is worth supporting. No matter how busy we are we should all be able to support at least one.
Hopefully in doing so we will highlight charities, events and causes and just maybe this year you will add one extra 'gift" into your Christmas gift shopping by making a donation.
If you fancy an alternative advent calendar buy something each day and pop it into a gift basket to give to an elderly neighbour or financially struggling young family or foodbank; but the choice is yours.
Day One in our Advent Calendar - #HIVNotRetro