Every Christmas I try to make sure my kids know that Christmas is more about giving to others than it is receiving. Just like all of you, I try to make sure my kids (and myself!) are focusing the joy of Christmas and spreading the love of Jesus (the reason for the season!), but that can be tough with all the focus on presents. That’s why I made this Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar.
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Every year while trying to teach my kids about giving and not receiving, I’m still asking them what they want for Christmas, taking them to see Santa who asks them what they want for Christmas, having them write Christmas wish lists, and giving them advent calendars that give them a little gift everyday before Christmas as a countdown to the big day.
I see cute ideas like wrapping all the Christmas books, and opening one every night before they go to bed so you can read a cute story every night on the countdown to Christmas.
None of these things are bad, in fact they’re all wonderful and cute, but it’s awfully hard to teach giving, when there’s so much traditional focus on receiving, isn’t it? So, this year, I’m switching it up, we’re doing an Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar.
Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar
The concept is very simple. The Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar works like any other advent calendar. Every day you open one of the boxes. On December 1st, you open box number one. Each day, whatever acts of kindness you pull out for the day, that’s what you do. I made a sheet of 24 things (you can print mine HERE, or you can just write and make your own) that are perfect for kids to do on their countdown to Christmas. My sheet includes things like, “Pick up three things that don’t belong to you.” or “Make your teacher a Christmas card.” and more.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HOW-TO:
What you need:
Foam Poster Board
Small Favor Boxes
FREE Printable Acts of Kindness Sheet
Hot Glue Gun
Small piece of yarn or twine (if you intend to hang – I used the twine that came with the favor boxes)
Star (I used this cute wooden one)
Put 24 of your favor boxes together. Then number them 1-24 with a marker. Make sure to number them the correct directions on the top.
Cut up your Acts of Kindness sheet and put one in each box. Line up your boxes on the poster board in the tree shape with the star on top, so you can see how much of the poster board you need to cut off. Draw a straight line where you want to cut your poster board and cut the excess off.
Pro tip: To make the right tree shape with 24 boxes, these will be the number of boxes in your rows: 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1. Yes, 3 was done twice on purpose.
Wrap your poster board in the wrapping paper of your choice. Use strong tape to tape the piece of twine onto the back of the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar for easy hanging.
Glue your boxes on in no particular order of the numbers. Part of the fun of an advent calendar is looking and finding the number for today, so the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar should be no exception. Glue your star on top to complete your tree. I used one of the stars from the package I bought for these DIY Grinch Trees I made – I love them!
Starting December 1st, kids will open box number one, and continue to follow the date each day to find their act of kindness for the day.
These are just simple tasks, but will give your kids a structured way to put others before themselves this holiday season. This is something they get to choose when and how to do it, so they get really excited to do it.
That’s all there is to the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. It’s not a difficult concept, but it is one that put the focus of Christmas in the right place this year. I know my kids are excited, and I am too!