Countdown to Christmas: kindness, giving & ‘reverse Advent calendars’
Acts of Kindness for Advent – 50 activities for kids in the countdown to Christmas.
Whilst looking for ideas for Christmas blog posts which focussed on giving rather than receiving, I was delighted to discover a wonderful post from ‘Mum in the Madhouse‘, Jen Walshaw. It offered the perfect antidote to the ever-increasing consumer-focused commercialism of Christmas.
These days there’s so much focus on Christmas shopping and Christmas excess. We over-indulge and splurge on gifts, food and television watching. For some of us, rather than being a joyful time of year it can be stressful because of the pressure it puts on the household budget. Plus, if you are finding it hard to make ends meet, it’s a time of year when you can feel surrounded by the ‘haves’ when you ‘have not’. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the ‘Christmas to do list’ and forget about the true meaning of Christmas, the ultimate gift, Jesus Christ.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no scrooge. I’m not sitting here grumbling and being all ‘Bah humbug’ at the prospect of the oncoming festivities, far from it! As a Christian, I love this time of year. However, sometimes the true meaning of Christmas, as well as the joy of giving can be lost amidst the present hunting and shopping mayhem.
Like Jen Walshaw, I want to refocus and remember it’s much better to give than to receive.
Mum in the Madhouse makes perfect sense!
I’d planned to write my own post in the lead up to advent, but I looked at Jen’s inspirational post from last November and thought ‘I couldn’t put it better myself’.
Jen explained that her family love advent, but they decided to use advent as a way to celebrate the build up to Christmas and to take the commercialism out of it.
Her post is all about turning the focus from receiving to giving and getting the kids to share in the joy of the season by starting Advent Acts of Kindness, an alternative advent for kids.
It’s better to give than receive.
In her post, ‘Acts of Kindness for Advent – An alternative Advent calendar‘, Jen describes two great ways to share the joy of advent and the joy of giving with children, including:
1. 50 advent acts of kindness for kids. Although there are only 24 days in Advent, having 50 acts of kindness gives kids a range of kindnesses to choose from. There are some lovely, inspirational ideas too, for example: donating a coat or jumper to charity (leaving a happy note in the pocket); making Christmas cards for your neighbours; sending a care package to someone in the military; giving a compliment.
For Jen’s full list of kindnesses: click here.
Jen has also created FREE ’50 acts of kindness’ downloadable printables in the shape of Christmas trees and gift tag labels. There’s also a downloadable advent calendar and suggestions for other ways to display the tags: Click here.
2. The reverse advent calendar. Even if you are still planning on buying advent calendars this year, why not give something back with Jen’s ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ idea?
Find a suitable box, basket or hamper and add something to the box (tinned food, soap, toothpaste etc) every day in advent and then take it to a food bank or a family or friend in need on Christmas eve (or date of your choice).
To find out more about Jen’s Alternative advent ideas: CLICK HERE.
Over to you.
It’s true that many of Jen’s ideas are important all the year round. Acts of kindness shouldn’t just be reserved for the Advent period. We need to be kinder to ourselves and each other 365 days of the year. Perhaps we can kickstart our focus on kindness this Advent with Jen’s inspirational ideas that needn’t cost us a penny.
Jen Walshaw is an Award-winning blogger, with a number of brilliant and informative blogs to her name. If you’re into crafts, frugal living or simply want a great read, then why not check them out:
The greatest gift.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:16.
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