Last year I briefly considered jumping aboard the Elf on the Shelf craze. At first it seemed like a fun tradition that the kids would love. But the more I read about it, the more I realized that I didn't particularly care for the basic premise: the Elf sits on a shelf watching the kids during the month of December and reports back to Santa if they are good or bad. In reviews that I read, parents said that it really helped improve their children's behavior.
That's great and I am not criticizing anyone who loves Elf on a Shelf, but I have been challenging myself lately to think long-term instead of short-term when it comes to my parenting style. Would I prefer the immediate gratification of being able to say "Stop that [unpleasant behavior] or the Elf will tell Santa and you won't get any presents!" or would I rather model and encourage thoughtful, caring behaviors in my children, keeping in mind that my ultimate goal is not kids who behave perfectly short-term when a reward is dangled in front of them, but instead future adults who are kind, self-motivated, and look for ways to help others.
Okay, off my soapbox now!
Once again, this year the desire for a fun Christmas countdown tradition was in the back of my mind. So when one of my Facebook friends posted a link to 75 Ideas for a Simpler, Greener, more Intentional Christmas, #9 caught my eye. And a couple of days later, when my friend Brandy posted a link to a beautiful advent calender on her Gems of the Soil etsy shop, an idea was born.
So now, I am excited to announce the Kirkpatricks' First Annual Christmas Countdown!
I purchased one of Brandy's hand-made advent calenders for my family. This picture is from Brandy's etsy listing. Our personal advent calender will have crimson stitching and our last name will be embroidered across the top. I will post pictures soon!
|photo courtesy of Brandy Lewis|
Each day, there will be a slip of paper in that day's pouch for my kids to pull out and have me read to them. On the paper will be a Christmas-themed activity for us to do together. Some days it will be something simple like drinking hot cocoa and reading Christmas books or driving around looking at Christmas lights, and other days it will be a little more ambitious like the Christmas party we are hosting for our preschool-aged friends and their moms in a couple of weeks. Several of the activities will be service-oriented, and many I hope will help me teach my kids the true meaning of Christmas.
I am very excited to do this with my kids, and I invite you to follow our little Christmas Countdown journey with us as I blog about our activities every day in the month of December. Ambitious? Yes. Worth it? I believe so!
If you would like to follow along, bookmark this post. As I blog about each day's activity, I will add the link below:
Day 1 - Christmas Tree Hunt
Day 2 - Christmas Veggie Tales, kettle corn, and Sandy clean-up
Day 3 - Christmastime in New York City
Day 4 - Our First Gingerbread House
Day 5 - Christmas Stroll
Day 6 - Decorating the Tree and Candid Mom Confessions
Day 7 - Giving to Others
Day 8 -Giving to Others Part 2
Day 9 - Making Snowflakes
What are your favorite holiday traditions?