Growing up I remember celebrating Advent with a wreath, candles and bible readings from our church. We also had the typical countdown to Christmas calendar for which my brothers and I eagerly moved the mouse each morning. The first year that Brent and I were married I wanted to do something special, rather than focusing on gifts. I came across the idea from Kelly Travis Hamm to create your own Advent calendar, and I knew we had to try it out!
Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar
Instead of filling an Advent calendar up with treats, prizes, and items we fill the calendar up with acts that we can do for one another. In the past, Brent and I would divide the days up between the two of us, secretly write down things we can do for one another, shuffle them, and then stick them on the calendar. Now that we have Camila we are going to do it a little differently, but still the same idea! Here’s the plan:
- Get an empty Advent calendar. This year I purchased this Advent calendar with drawers, but one with useable pockets would work as well. We have also created our own Advent “calendar” simply using a corkboard and small cards with the countdown number written on the outside and the kind act written inside. If you are crafty I’m sure you could create something fun and wonderful! I am not, which is why I decided to purchase an actual calendar, which we can use for years to come.
- Divide the kind acts between family members AND others in need. This year, we will be dividing the 24 days on our calendar 4 ways – Brent, Me, Camila, and “others”. We will each have 6 kind acts gifted to us. So, I will be writing down 6 things I can do for Brent and vice versa, we will think of 6 fun things we can do for Millie, and then we will also have 6 things we can do for others on the calendar. These are a surprise, we won’t know what kind acts we will be gifted until we open them up!
- Write the kind acts on paper, shuffle, and stuff the drawers/pockets. No peeking…It’s a daily surprise who will receive a gift!
Here are some ideas of kind acts that might be included on our calendar:
- For Brent: Meg will bake you any dessert you want this week
- For Meg: Brent will have a “play date” with Millie this weekend for you to relax at the “spa” (aka: relax in bed and watch The Bachelorette or This is Us – no real spa thanks to COVID)
- For Millie: We will play on the playground for as long as you want today
- For “Others”: We will bake a treat and deliver it to a friend or family member that needs a pick-me-up
- For Brent: Meg will cook dinner tonight (typically he is in charge of this meal)
- For Meg: Brent will clean the bathrooms this weekend
- For Millie: We will have a family Christmas movie night tonight
- For “Others”: We will donate a toy to a local child in need
These are just a few ideas that come to mind and I hope they help! Creating our own Advent calendar is by far one of my favorite traditions – it’s simple, fun, and meaningful! Now that we have Camila I look forward to it more than ever! I hope that it teaches her that giving back to others and spending time together as a family is more valuable than any material gift.