Elf on the Shelf?
I heard of the “Elf on the Shelf” as a sort of Advent Calendar in 2014. The Elf would come down from the North Pole to observe the behavior of the children in the household. Then, he’d report back nightly to Santa Claus. If the children were behaving well, they would receive gifts. If they were behaving badly, they’d be put on the naughty list. Meanwhile, by the parents, the Elf presents in different positions every day from December 1 till December 25. If Elf on the Shelf is a tradition your family enjoys, more power to you. I knew instantly the concept was not for me.
A Different Spin on Advent
My goal for Advent became clear. I didn’t want my children to expect something for themselves for 25 days straight in December. Instead, I decided to encourage them to serve others. I found a variety of ideas for Random Acts of Kindness, and even a few lists specific to Christmastime. It was inspirational to me. So, I wrote a list of activities. Then, I made a calendar. Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar was born.
Since 2014, from December 1 until December 25, my children and I check the advent calendar each day. We discover what act of kindness we will bestow upon someone else. I love this tradition in our household. It gets us thinking outside of ourselves and instead focus on the gifts and services we can offer others. After all, Christmas in our family is in celebration of the birth of Christ. So in honor of him, for 25 days we spread kindness in small ways.
This year, I updated our list of Random Acts of Kindness. You can even print it out and put it on the refrigerator! I know 25 days is a huge commitment…even when times are normal. If sitting down as a family and choosing five ideas or so would be more approachable, take that route! None of us needs anything to make us feel stretched thinner and more stressed. The goal with this activity is simply to prioritize teaching service, thoughtfulness, and the spirit of giving. So go have fun being a light!