We’re thrilled that award-winning blogger Penny Alexander hosted an incredible Faux Ho Ho last week, inviting lots of fellow bloggers round to her home in Nottingham to share some delicious food, drink and Christmas spirit. Just try to get to the bottom of her blog post without craving a mince pie….
"There are things I don’t like about my kitchen, but I remind myself every single day how lucky I am to have a place to cook, plentiful food and a space to gather loved ones safely. Everywhere I look, I see people wondering how to make the world be a happier place, particularly for those people who don’t have homes, or are living in dangerous or temporary homes.
Today I’m sharing a simple way I found to do my bit this Christmas: Faux Ho Ho for ActionAid. Faux Ho Ho is all about having a ‘fake’ Christmas celebration, ahead of the big day itself, with friends/colleagues/people who don’t have family nearby and raising money in the process to help millions of children around the world who are homeless.
I decided to host my Faux Ho Ho for my fellow Nottingham bloggers. Being a lovely lot, they suggested they all bring a dish and we donate what we might have spent on a meal out, or what we could afford, to ActionAid.
Hosting a Faux Ho Ho is easy
You don’t need to go to lots of trouble or cook a Christmas dinner, just gather together some friends or family, some nibbles and drinks.
It was a great rehearsal for the big day - we had Christmas crackers, and ActionAid supply you with your very own party pack which includes recipe cards, cut out selfie props and games to make the celebrations go with a bang.
Everyone brought a dish and the feast was soon assembled...
Our meal was a chance to reminisce - many of us had come together before to raise money for charity, and it was great to be fundraising while sat down for once.
These ladies are always encouraging me. It is always a little nerve-wracking organising things for charity, even if I’ve done so many things now it really shouldn’t be – so it’s great to have someone who always believes in your mad ideas. Where would I be without them for tea and sympathy and vast amounts of cake?
I’m so lucky to have all these friends who care so much on my doorstep, and really must see more of them in real life, and not just via a computer screen.
My Christmas wish
It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. My only wish is that that feeling spreads as far as possible round the world. You can’t beat a Faux Ho Ho as a fundraiser, and what the world needs now is acts of kindness, so please, have a think about hosting a Faux Ho Ho.
Helping homeless children
Penny's Faux Ho Ho will help us support homeless children this Christmas. Children like Mitu, who was abandoned by her parents when she was three years old. Since the age of 10, she has been living in ActionAid's Happy Homes centre, which provides safe accommodation for girls who would otherwise be living on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Many girls who come to the centre have been victims of exploitation, suffering physical, mental and sexual abuse whilst living on the streets. We give them free healthcare and counselling, and provide education and vocational training so they can earn a living in the future.
Mitu now regularly gets top marks in her school exams and has won awards for her painting and drawing.
Please help make sure that girls like Mitu have warm food and safe accommodation this Christmas.