For the past couple of years, Leni and I have been doing our own makeshift activity advent. I wrote about some of our more crafty experiments last year: potato stamp wrapping paper, salt-dough ornaments, and wreath making. Every holiday season we adapt to her shifting interests and developing abilities. Add Finn to the mix and…well let’s just say, it’s more of a visual experience for him at the moment.
This year I haven’t planned it out (the old advent is still in storage, to be honest) and I’m totally okay with that. We’ve still managed to do some holiday something-or-other every day (starting sometime in mid-November! I kid you not.). It’s pretty much non-stop between singing carols (daily), watching holiday specials, visiting the christmas market, baking cookies, gingerbread house building (thanks Julie!), making red and green playdough, going to see twinkly lights, talking about Santa, writing a letter to Santa, taking pictures with Santa, going to Jose’s work family holiday party and visiting the Hudson Bay’s window display. Just to name a few. I love it because it’s all about experiencing the season together and takes some of the focus away from the presents under the tree.
I also like to incorporate some charitable aspects to our holiday season. Typically this involves donating food, clothes, toys and time. I’ve sometimes struggled to find more creative ways to give back so when I heard about My Kindness Calendar, it felt like the exact thing we were missing. It’s a beautiful (reusable) wall decal with activities that focus on acts of kindness and giving back. What I love most about it so far, is that the ideas are all simple and accessible (and can be applied all year round!).
We had a busy first weekend of December, but we easily incorporated our daily acts of kindness. On Friday, we brought lunch to a friend; on Saturday, we donated a toy to a child in need (that Leni chose); and on Sunday, Leni told her Gaga why she loves her (she loves her heart! Swoon!). The plan for day four was to have an electricity-free night. After an unexpectedly exhausting and emotional afternoon, we decided instead to learn to say hello in a few different languages (German, Portuguese and Polish). We’ll save the former for a night when we can really make the most of it as a family. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is remain flexible!
It’s so lovely to see how excited Leni gets choosing which kind act she’d like to complete each day and she also loves placing the decal sticker on the tree. There are even a few extra stickers to inspire us to create our own!
It’s been a good reminder of how small actions throughout the day can have such a big impact. It doesn’t have to be complicated. And it’s a bit contagious. I have changed directions and embraced a kinder alternative several times the past few days. With others and with myself.
I definitely recommend giving it a go. Not just for the holidays, but all year round.