Christmas is the most magical time of the year — especially with children! The season has easily gotten away from me in the past. I get wrapped up in buying gifts and making travel plans, missing out on the importance of the true spirit of Christmas — giving. Now with children in our house, it has become even more apparent that we focus on the giving so much more than the receiving.
We spend the month doing small things for other people to help facilitate these actions in our children. A Kindness Advent is the best way to stay on track. Trust me. It looks daunting to plan a full month’s activities, but it’s not! Break it down by week. Just plan on Sunday what the next week will look like. Or, if you are like me and don’t plan well, just do it the night before for the next day!
If you don’t have a fancy calendar to list the days’ activities, just tape up a dated envelope on the wall for the kids to find in the morning. I’m sharing a few suggestions below to get you started:
• Bake cookies for neighbors
• Hand out flowers to strangers
• Drop a $1 bill in the grocery store
• Buy a gift for a sibling/family member
• Pick a child in need and shop for them
• Donate toys to a toy drive
• Drop off a surprise treat to a friend
• Buy a new book and donate it
• Give gifts to teachers
• Get a gift for the family pet
• Leave a treat in the mailbox for your mail carrier
• Help a stranger (example: offer to carry groceries or return their shopping cart for them)
• Tell someone you love them
• Give out as many hugs as you can in one day!
• Mail letters to family who live out of town
• Go through old toys for donations
• Drop off food or help at a food bank
• Pay for the car behind you in a drive-through line
• Make hot chocolate for Mom/Dad after dinner
• Take a friend to the movies
• Make ornaments/gifts for classmates
• Set out food for the birds/squirrels
• Leave a treat out for Santa
• Clean something up in the house as a surprise for your parents
• Hold the door for strangers
• Leave kindness cards at the park for someone else to find
• Buy/Make presents for your siblings or parents
• Surprise someone with lunch at work
Then just do what works for your family — and make it fun! If you need to break up activities because you ran out of time or ideas? Do it! The point here is to teach kindness and to make it fun. Bake cookies one day, and and the next day’s advent could be to give them out. Make kindness cards one day, and leave them at the park or school the following day. You will see the month really flies by, and the kids get excited to see what their mission is for that day!
I have also been known to change plans the night before due to tired kids or weather changes. Just try to go with the flow and do what is easy for you in that moment. We also throw in a fun day for the kids as a break. A surprise favorite treat and building a fort for a movie day are always favorites!