As my kids get older, I’ve wanted to find some creative ways to help teach them Christmas joy, rather than just the idea of receiving gifts on Christmas Day.
In our family, we focus Christmas Day itself on the birth of Jesus and not the visit of St. Nick, but Advent offers such a wonderful time to make preparation for this joyful celebration, and this year I wanted to find ways to help my kids celebrate it on their own levels.
Many of our friends do the “Elf on the Shelf” and I think it is a fun idea for the kids to find the elf each day, but since we don’t really focus on Santa, it wasn’t a good fit for us. I mentioned on Facebook that I wanted to find a way to do an act of service or random act of kindness each day with the kids, and you guys gave me some wonderful ideas!
Our Advent Plan:
Each day of Advent we try to do a random act of kindness. We have used a Christmas angel with our kids (sadly, she’s no longer available, but any cute angel doll will do!) and she has helped quite a bit herself (picks up a toy that was left out overnight, gives the kids a piece of homemade chocolate, etc) and holds a note with a suggestion for our kind act for the day.
So far, some of our fun Advent kind acts have been:
- Making gifts for the UPS man, postman, etc
- Making “I love you” cards for grandparents
- Donating savings to different charities
- Bringing the man ringing the bell at the grocery store a cup of coffee
- Sending gifts to new moms and babies
- Making a gift basket for the midwives helping in this pregnancy
- Paid for the groceries of an older lady checking out in front of us who only had a couple of items
- Left coupons and dollar bills on the (healthy) isles of the grocery store
- Given gifts secretly to families in need in the community
- Given homemade lotion bars or teas to elderly or hospital bound
We are still hoping to do things like visit a nursing home, take small gifts to emergency workers, volunteer at local charities, etc.
I found the picture above with ideas for each day, and it has been fun to think of our own too.
I know several of you mentioned doing something similar, and I’d love to hear how it is going for you! Anything I can do to plan and reduce my holiday stress is a big win.
Have you ever done anything like this with your kids? Any other ideas to help encourage participation in the Holiday season? Please share below!
Discussion (21 Comments)
I don’t know how I missed this post years ago! But just for solidarity’s sake, we also don’t celebrate Santa. Our whole advent is about preparation. We need to recognize our sinfulness before we can realize we need to be saved from it. We cannot welcome the Savior before we’ve taken the time to repent and face the truth that we need him. So advent for us is a reflective time, more penitential, and we slowly prepare the house as we get closer to Christmas Day. We celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas (the actual REAL person who lived a virtuous life and is now in Heaven) on Dec 6th by putting out slippers the night before. Our 5 children wake to find chocolate coins, oranges, and candy canes inside. If a child needed new slippers, the old ones are replaced and filled. We eat something tasty like homemade cranberry bread and our oranges for breakfast. We might watch the Saints & Heroes Saint Nicholas Story. I also read aloud a book every day of advent and usually on this day we read The Baker’s Dozen: A St. Nicholas Tale. The Miracle of Saint Nicholas is also a beautiful story. I often read that the following day. It isn’t about Nicholas’ life but rather his intercession in helping a small Russian town bring back their worship after a period of religious persecution. On St. Nicholas day, we emphasize the giving heart of this saint out of his commitment and love for Jesus and God’s people. We love God by loving others. Then Christmas is all about the birth of the Savior. It’s great! We even bake a cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus with a nativity Jesus piece on the cake. People definitely think we are weird for not doing what everyone else does. But we are comfortable being counter-cultural. I don’t appreciate the pressure to focus on Santa so other families can use it as behavior management. ?. Merry CHRISTmas, everyone! ?
I love love love this calendar! I will be copying some of these next year. This year I made an Advent Activity Calendar for my 3 yr old. Our favorite activity by FAR was the Petting Zoo. She got to see donkeys and camels that Mary, Joseph and the wise men would have ridden on; sheep that the Shepherds were tending, cows, pigs and other animals that would’ve been present at Jesus’ birth AND a feeding trough (manger) that Baby Jesus would’ve lay in. Seeing these animals for herself really helped make the Christmas Story real in her little mind. I HIGHLY recommend this to EVERY mama!!!
I love to celebrate Christmas. Every year, I plan to do something different for kids. I like to hear the voice of Christmas song.
I am just now expecting my first but this book along with the included sparkle box would make a great tradition. I also love the angel idea instead of the elf on the shelf.
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We just got our Christmas angel today 🙂
We are a bit late but I am going to blend her in with the Truth in the Tinsel we are already doing.