Blue Peter celebrates many British events including: Christmas, Easter, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Shrove Tuesday and sometimes non British events. The celebrations differ each year but go along with the same theme.
Shrove Tuesday usually shows the presenters making (and flipping) pancakes. It's usually the newest presenter if they all don't do it.
This usually shows viewers how to make something Mothering Sunday theme (a card, a gift, or some traditional food for breakfast-in-bed).
Usually tells the history of the Gunpowder Plot whilst the presenters tell viewers about the firework code and tips for a safe bonfire and fireworks night. In recent times, this has been toned down, so there is often just bonfire themed and firework themed things going on.
Christmas, being a huge British event, is also a big thing on Blue Peter. A traditional Blue Peter Christmas opens with the theme tune Barnacle Bill being replaced with a brass band playing "Good King Wenceslas" with pictures of Christmas things viewers have sent in. In past years, a manger and figures have been set out, though this has stopped. Despite that, there is still a Christmas make and a song from the Salvation Army of Salford and groups of school children. In the past, they have been marching up the hill and into the studio from the cold. Often the carol they sing is "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or "O! Come All Ye Faithful" around the Christmas tree. Much of the script has been repeated year after year for this special programme. However, for the 2007 Christmas programme, none of these traditions were featured, ending a format repeated annually since the 1960s. For the 2008 series, some of the items from the traditional format returned with a make, presents for the presenters and pets and a brief look at the programmes nativity crib. Some years there will be a Christmas play, either spoofing hit movies like Grease, popular songs or a Pantomime. In 2010 the Chalk Farm Salvation Army Band and BBC Symphony Chorus returned for the grand finale with "O! Come All Ye Faithful". Since 2011, the Salford band of the Salvation Army has been used instead of the Chalk Farm band, as the programme had moved to MediaCity by then.
Blue Peter III an RNLI D class lifeboat, one of 25 lifeboats funded by the programme, now part of the Royal National Lifeboat Collection on display at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham. An enduring feature of the programme is the annual charity appeal, which asks viewers to collect items that can be recycled or sold to raise money for the chosen cause. This is always a charity project in the UK in odd-numbered years, and abroad in even-numbered. The appeal is usually launched in late November and runs through to February or March of the following year. Until 1979, only waste products were ever collected, such as stamps, linens, coins, scrap metal etc. In 1979, one of the most popular forms of raising appeal money was introduced; encouraging viewers to hold "Blue Peter Bring And Buy Sales" at which buyers are also encouraged to bring their own bric-a-brac or produce to sell. The Great Bring And Buy Sale was used every few years or so as a means of adding variety to the collecting theme during other years.
Between 2001 and 2003 a series of "Bring And Buy Appeals" led many viewers and the media to voice their concern that the traditional method of collecting scrap items to recycle was being abandoned in favour of the "easier revenue" generated by the sales. This led to an on-air explanation by presenter Konnie Huq during the 2003 Get Together Appeal that this particular appeal required the sort of funding that only Bring And Buy Sales could raise. The 2004 and 2005 appeals saw a return to the collecting theme: the first being to collect old clothes that Oxfam could sell in its stores to raise funds for a family-searching service in third world countries ravaged by war, and the second being the collection of old mobile telephones and coins that could be recycled to raise money for ChildLine. Continuing the return to collecting unwanted items, Blue Peter launched its Shoe Biz Appeal campaign in 2006. In partnership with UNICEF, its aim was to collect unwanted pairs of shoes or other footwear in order to raise money for children orphaned by AIDS and HIV in Malawi. The 2007 appeal was the "Disc Drive" – working with Barnardo's to sell unwanted CDs and DVDs.
During appeals, the sum of money or objects collected is presented on the totaliser – a display that lights to show the amount collected. With some appeals, a second totaliser has often been introduced immediately after the original target has been met, with the aim of providing an incentive to keep on donating.
The 2007 Disc Drive Appeal was, controversially, handled in a different editorial style, and it was not featured in each programme since its launch as in previous years. Also the totaliser, before part of the studio set, was relegated to an on-screen animation/graphic.
The 2008 appeal was called Mission Nutrition, an attempt to provide children in the UK, Bangladesh and South Africa with better food. As part of this appeal, the Blue Peter presenters held the world's biggest bring and buy sale on 18 February 2009, which was attended by several celebrities as well as regular people. Since the 2008 appeal there has been a return to regular features on the Appeal's progress in each edition, and the reistatement of a physical studio set Totaliser.
The 2009 Appeal was "Send a Smile Appeal" which was symbolic as being the first Appeal in the history of the programme to blend a collecting theme with the Blue Peter "make" methodology. Children were encouraged to collect unwanted T-shirts to be donated to Operation Smile, a charity providing free reconstructive surgery to children in the developing world, where they were be used as surgical gowns for their operations. Appeal contributors were encouraged to customise their gowns in a variety of creative ways, as well as following instructions given on the programme for how to include eyelets and ties to the backs of the gowns. In 2011 and 2012, the Appeal supported BBC Children in Need.
As part of the 50th year a BBC estimate was that since the first appeal started Blue Peter has raised over £100 million (inflation adjusted figure to 2008 value) by appeals.
Blue Peter promotes the Blue Peter Book Awards, a series of literary prizes for children's literature awarded annually, and inaugurated in 2000.