While we try to practice random acts of kindness all year long, incorporating these activities into our Advent Calendar helps us keep the true meaning of the season at the forefront!
“You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who’ll never be able to repay you.” __ John Wooden
For a number of years, we’ve been doing activity advents. Along with their candy, I slip a piece of paper into that slot and we do a special holiday activity together. This year, I wanted to do more. I was inspired by this Holiday Hands post at Momastery and have spent quite a bit of time dwelling on it for the past month. I thought maybe for my birthday, I’d do 35 random acts of kindness. I thought, well I already do many things and maybe that’s enough as it is. But, I was stuck on this line in her post,
“I’d rather my kids have three Christmas gifts and your kids have three Christmas gifts, than my kids have six gifts and your kids have no gifts.”
And I just kept thinking, EXACTLY.
That’s exactly right. Because of all the obvious reasons, but also because it teaches the kids an important lesson. Growing up, I remember vividly kissing my parents goodnight one evening, and my Dad gave me a kiss and said, “What did you do to make your Mom feel like a queen today?”.
I still think about that all these years later, because laying in bed that night, I remember thinking it wasn’t just about how much he loved my Mom, it wasn’t just about watching a true example of a loving relationship… it was about thinking about somebody else before you thought of yourself. What did I do that day, that was helpful to my mom and made her feel special, even if I had to go out of my way to do it?
I love the holiday season. I adore it. It doesn’t feel like a chore to me, and while there are definitely chaotic moments and rushing here and there… it’s not stressful. We’re lucky we have all these people who want to see us.
And don’t get me wrong, I love being indulgent too. I think the mall (and maybe even Wal-Mart), have a place in all of this! I look forward to spoiling those I love and finding that perfect gift. When my family gets together on Christmas Eve to kick off our running around, we always ask each other what gift we’re excited to give. Not what are you hoping to get… but there are always those gifts that are just perfect for someone and you are positively giddy with the anticipation of them opening it!
I love this part of the holidays too, but I wanted it to be more. I wanted to indulge those I love, but also those in our “village” who may not realize that I care about them having a great day too.
And I adore Advent too… the activities keep us centered and together. The kids rush for it every morning, not to see what the candy is, but to see what we get to do that day. What fun lies in store for us?? It helps us celebrate the entire season! And while our activity Advent has always focused on us being together as a family… this year, I wanted it to also be about who we are in relation to other people. What did we do that day, to make somebody else feel like a queen?
So I built an It Takes a Village Advent calendar this year, because we are part of something bigger than just what happens in our own little home.
I took food boxes (that I used for my Thanksgiving meal!), cut off the bottom and cut and taped till they looked like little houses.
Covered them in pretty scrapbook paper and added a number.
I found small boxes in my gift wrap stash, and I cut up old Christmas cards I had saved and glued the cards to the tops of the boxes. This part took me WAY too long, because I couldn’t help but read all the cards and smile remembering all those past Christmases and some of the people who are no longer with us.
I used more scrapbook paper to make trees, because what’s a village without a little greenery?
I typed up our activity for the day and then cut and glued it to cardstock.
I left everything open at the bottom, so I can just tuck 2 pieces of candy and an activity slip up inside it.
And I had a piece of scrapbook paper with a quote I loved, that I just stuck to a frame using double-sided tape.
Random Acts of Kindness for Advent Calendar:
1. Holiday Parade
2. Leave change in a vending machine
3. Write thank you notes for teachers
4. Watch Elf
5. Leave treat for mailman
6. Make a time capsule ornament
7. Decorate gingerbread houses with friends
8. Visit trains at library
9. Make and deliver cookies
10. Buy gift card and give to person behind us in line
11. Take towels/blankets to animal shelter
12. Watch A Christmas Story
13. S’mores and hot chocolate
14. Buy flowers and give to someone in parking lot
15. Call grandparents
16. Go to Poconos
17. Sleep-over at grandparents
18.Make meal for neighborhood family
19. Pay for order of car behind us in drive-thru
20. Living room picnic with Christmas movie
21. Put birdseed out for birds
22. Write letter and send to friend
23. Donate gifts to holiday family
24. Merry Christmas Eve! Go to Nana’s
Merry Christmas to you and your village!!