In anticipation of Christmas, many families are setting up their advent calendars tonight. As a child, I loved opening the daily boxes to reveal a piece of chocolate, ornament, book, or other small trinket. Although, with more and more of today’s children feeling entitled, a month of receiving presents may not be sending the right message.
Since 2005, a growing number of families have turned to their elf on the shelf to make sure their child is behaving. It’s a wonderful idea, and I really love seeing the daily photos my friends share of their naughty and nice elves on Facebook. While it reinforces positive behavior, we should be teaching our children to be more like St. Nick himself. By undertaking a month of character development, children may just become a little more jolly while demonstrating their kind behavior. My advent calendar focuses on community service and giving back to those in need.
Please do not tell your children they “have to” complete one of these tasks, instead they “get to” complete an act of kindness.
ADVENT CALENDAR OF KINDNESS
24) Go through all of your toys and make a pile of toys that another child would love. Mom or Dad will take them to the local homeless shelter or orphanage.
23) Do something nice for someone else in the house. This could be doing a sibling’s chore without them knowing or doing an extra chore for Mom or Dad.
22) Make and deliver holidays cards for the neighbor.
21) Compliment 5 people today, make sure your words are genuine.
20) Bake your favorite type of cookies and deliver them to the local police department.
19) Do a chore to help an elderly neighbor.
18) Help serve dinner at the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
17) Go door-to-door singing Christmas carols for your neighbors.
16) Tell your favorite teacher that you learn a lot at school and thank them for being an excellent teacher.
15) Make cards and deliver them to children in the local children’s hospital.
14) Make something special and send it to a family member or friend who lives far away.
13) Compliment 10 people today, make sure your words are genuine.
12) Bake your favorite type of cookies and deliver them to the local fire department.
11) Go to a local animal shelter and play with the dogs and/or cats.
10) Write a list of 10 things you love about each family member and share them at dinner.
9) Take a special treat (snack, pencil, or ornament) in to school to share with your classmates.
8) Make cards and deliver them to the elderly in the local nursing home.
7) Leave a special treat for your garbage men.
6) Donate old children’s books and magazines to a local dentist or doctor office.
5) Make a meal and deliver it to a family in need (recent birth, illness, loss, or unemployment).
4) Play fetch with or walk the neighbor’s dog.
3) Leave a special treat for your mail carrier.
2) Call someone far away and tell them 5 things you love about them.
1) Make a pot of hot cocoa and deliver it to a neighbor.
These are my 24 favorite acts. There are many other acts you could include in your advent calendar, depending on your local weather and age of your children.
What other acts of kindness would you include in your advent calendar?