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What Did Mama Forget to Teach You?


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Teaching Children about the joy of giving this Christmas season

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!

Several of you also told me about the Christmas Angel, which we decided to try as well. At first, I was just using a small angel figurine from my own childhood, but the Christmas Angel (who we’ve named Gloria) has been a fun addition.

Each day of Advent (we started a couple days late…) the Christmas Angel does a random act of kindness 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. (The doll actually comes with glitter to write the message in, which is a great idea, but I learned long ago that glitter and my children are a very messy combination!)

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.

25 days of messages for christmas

I found the picture above with ideas for each day, and it has been fun to think of our own too. This blog also has some great ideas each day for random acts of kindness with the angel!

I know several of you mentioned doing something similar, and I’d love to hear how it is going for you!

Have you ever done anything like this with your kids? Any other ideas to help encourage participation in the Holiday season? Please share below!

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