Happy Holidays everyone! I have been working feverishly on my laundry room for the last two weeks and now that the washer/dryer are FINALLY IN I plan to put on the finishing touches before the New Year and then will share all of that project….
BUT FIRST – I wanted to share a special “project” that put together for my oldest son that I’m hoping will turn into a new Christmas tradition at our house.
Last year the lead up to Christmas was honestly terrible at our house. My youngest son was still too little to really get into the holiday spirit beyond just decorating the tree, but my oldest son Blake was all too ready for the big day, just not in a good way. We have a traditional advent calendar that I would fill with
leftover Halloween candy, but then I saw the great idea on Pinterest to wrap up 25 books each day and leave them under the tree – perfect right! – well it totally blew up in my face. Blake would get up every day around 4:30 – 5am, open the present, find the candy, and then start asking about the next day….and complaining about what book he got, and that he had to share with his brother, and basically everything else you can think of. Then – when the big day finally got here – he would open his presents, throw them aside, and then topped the whole thing off with pouting that there were no more presents. The whole month honestly made me feel like a terrible parent who was raising a completely unappreciative and just plain spoiled kid – so much for the holiday spirit : (
This year I was determined to make something change! So I decided to do away with the candy, and the books (which BTW I still think is a great idea!) and instead give Blake little tasks to take the focus off of himself and put it on other people. So on the first day of December I wrote him a letter from Santa –
Every day, I’d put a rolled up piece of paper in the advent calendar with a different task for him to complete, and once done we collected them in a small mason jar that I tricked out (LOL). I kept the tasks pretty basic (draw so and so a picture, help with dinner, clean up the playroom, buy so and so a Christmas present) and didn’t put a time limit on any of them – as long as he completed all of them by Christmas Eve there was the promise of a “special” present from Santa as a reward for his help.
I highly anticipated some kind push back – crying, whining, I even thought the first week would result in a pile of un-finished tasks. But – HE WAS TOTALLY ON BOARD – from the very moment he thought that Santa had personally wrote him a note he was hooked. A few days before Christmas we were driving in the car and he said “Mommy, Christmas isn’t just about Candy or Presents…it’s about loving one another”…….I gotta tell you, that felt really good!!!! (He then followed it up with “Some people eat too much candy….my brother eats too much Candy” but hey, still a win). I couldn’t have been prouder of my little man and in his words again “This was the best Christmas Ever.”
In proud mom moment #2, he has even said that he wants Santa to do this again next year!! As they grow up I have plans of taking this idea beyond just our family and friends (things like “Visit a retirement home” or “volunteer at a food pantry”) and may sprinkle in some candy treats every few days (more to get rid of the Halloween candy than anything else) but baby steps. And if any of this idea appeals to you, PLEASE feel free to pass it forward!! The more children we can inspire to help others (even in the smallest way) the better we can make the world for everyone.
I wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year!